More is coming to light about the injury that hampered Minnesota goalie Niklas Backstrom through most of last season.
Per the Star-Tribune — working off an interview Backstrom did with Finnish TV station MTV 3 — Backstrom apparently aggravated an early-season elbow injury this past spring, to the point where he couldn’t perform standard activities with his right hand.
More, from the Trib:
“It was a bit scary situation,” Backstrom told MTV 3’s Timo Kunnari during an interview that was translated for the Star Tribune by Usanomat hockey writer Juha Hiitela. “It happened pretty fast. All of a sudden two fingers are not working. Even in rest, two fingers were motionless. I couldn’t use my right hand to drive a car or to hold a phone.
“There’s a lot of stuff that’s happened during my career, but this really made me stop and think. You need your hand for the rest of your career. I’m righthanded.”
Backstrom, 37, underwent surgery to repair the injury in May and didn’t dress in the playoffs. It’s believed the Wild wanted to buy him out of the last year of his contract (he’s carrying a $3.417M cap hit), but was unable to given the Finnish netminder was injured during the buyout window.
As a result, Minnesota could head into next season with nearly $9 million tied up in three goalies — Backstrom, Devan Dubnyk and Darcy Kuemper.
Further compounding the issue? Player agent Jay Grossman claims Backstrom should be cleared to play for the start of the regular season, which could rule out putting Backstrom on long-term injured reserve, and getting the cap relief that comes with it.
Per the Tribune, Wild GM Chuck Fletcher declined to comment on the Backstrom situation.