Ankle injury puts Niklas Backstrom’s KHL trip on hold

Niklas Backstrom’s Belorussian jaunt appears to be on hold, according to the Minnesota Star-Tribune.

The Minnesota Wild’s goalie injured his ankle during informal practices (or “professional beer league hockey”), putting his deal with the KHL’s Dinamo Minsk in jeopardy.

Russo reports that it’s just a minor injury and he could still sign with Minsk if the spot remains open in a few weeks. In the mean time, Backstrom will reportedly stay in Minnesota.

The Wild’s current No. 1 goalie has ample motivation to work on his game during the work stoppage.

He’s handsomely paid at $6 million per year, but he’s entering the last season of that deal.

On top of that, he has one of the league’s most seasoned (and well-paid) backups in Josh Harding breathing down his neck.

Even if injuries factored into the equation, it’s noteworthy that Harding played in 34 games to Backstrom’s 46 last season.

If the Finnish netminder wants to hold off Harding, he likely must hope to shake off that injury and play for Minsk – or someone else – sooner rather than later.

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