Open main menu

Niklas Oskar Bäckström (Swedish: [ˈnɪkːlas ²bɛkːstrœm]; born 13 February 1978) is a Finnish former professional ice hockey goaltender and current goaltending coach for the Columbus Blue Jackets. He played ten seasons for the Minnesota Wild and Calgary Flames in the National Hockey League (NHL), during which he won both the William M. Jennings Trophy and Roger Crozier Saving Grace Award.[1] He also has won both Urpo Ylönen trophy and Jari Kurri trophy twice. Bäckström is a Swedish-speaking Finn, but also speaks Finnish.

Niklas Bäckström
Niklas Bäckström.jpg
Born (1978-02-13) 13 February 1978 (age 41)
Helsinki, Finland
Height 6 ft 2 in (188 cm)
Weight 197 lb (89 kg; 14 st 1 lb)
Position Goaltender
Caught Left
Liiga team
Former teams
Tappara
HIFK
SaiPa
AIK IF
Kärpät
Minnesota Wild
Calgary Flames
National team  Finland
NHL Draft Undrafted
Playing career 1996–2019

Playing careerEdit

FinlandEdit

Bäckström won the 1998 World Junior Ice Hockey Championships as a backup goaltender for the Finnish national team, along with players like Olli Jokinen, Niklas Hagman, Mika Noronen, Niko Kapanen, Toni Dahlman and Eero Somervuori. Bäckström was the third goaltender for Finland in the 2006 Winter Olympics in Turin, but did not play any games. In the Finnish SM-liiga, he played for HIFK, SaiPa and Kärpät. Bäckström led Kärpät to two consecutive league titles in 2004 and 2005. Subsequently, Bäckström signed a one-year contract with the Minnesota Wild of the NHL on 1 June 2006.[2]

Minnesota WildEdit

At the beginning of the 2006–07 season, Bäckström was the backup for the Wild's starting goaltender, Manny Fernandez. He made his NHL debut on 7 October 2006, notching his first career win in a 6–5 victory over the Nashville Predators.[3] In his seventh career game, Bäckström continued to impress in recording his first career shutout in a 4–0 victory over the Phoenix Coyotes on 24 November 2006.[4] After Fernandez suffered a knee injury mid-season, Bäckström was forced into the starter's position. He played exceptionally well over the second half of the season, finishing first in the NHL in both goals against average (GAA) and save percentage, while tying Dwayne Roloson's team record with 5 shutouts in just 36 starts.

 
Bäckström in 2011 while a member of the Wild

Upon the trade of Fernandez to the Boston Bruins in 2007, Bäckström became Minnesota's starting goaltender. He recorded 33 wins in the 2007–08 season and was the starter for Minnesota's first round Stanley Cup playoff series against the Colorado Avalanche, which Colorado won in six games.

Though he was due to become an unrestricted free agent on 1 July 2009, Bäckström signed a four-year, $24 million contract on 3 March 2009, to remain with the Wild.[5] Despite Bäckström's 37 wins and strong goaltending, the Wild ultimately did not qualify for the playoffs in 2009. In that season, Bäckström finished as the runner-up for the Vezina Trophy, awarded to the NHL's top goaltender. In 2012, Bäckström played very well in the first half the season and the Wild had a chance to make the playoffs. However, in the second half of the season, Bäckström slumped and suffered injuries as the Wild failed to make the playoffs.

 
Bäckström in 2007

In the following seasons, Bäckström played on-and-off with the additions of goaltenders Ilya Bryzgalov, Darcy Kuemper and Devan Dubnyk to the Wild. In the 2015–16 season, he was often a healthy scratch as Kuemper dressed as Dubnyk's backup.

Calgary FlamesEdit

Having yet to appear in a competitive game with the Wild in the 2015–16 season, on 29 February 2016, Bäckström was traded to the Calgary Flames (along with a draft pick in the 2016 NHL Entry Draft) in exchange for forward David Jones.[6] He appeared in four games for the Flames, recording two wins.

Return to FinlandEdit

On 10 June 2016, Bäckström effectively ended his NHL career after signing, as an impending free agent, a one-year contract with former club HIFK in Finland.[7]

In May 2018, Bäckström signed a one-year contract with Tappara.[8]

Personal lifeEdit

Bäckström is married to wife Heidi.[9] The couple have two children: Benjamin and Isabella.[10]

RecordsEdit

Minnesota WildEdit

  • Most wins: 194
  • Most shutouts in a season: 8 (2008–09)

Career statisticsEdit

Regular season and playoffsEdit

Regular season Playoffs
Season Team League GP W L T/OT MIN GA SO GAA SV% GP W L MIN GA SO GAA SV%
1996–97 HIFK SM-l 2 0 0 0 30 3 0 .600 .824
1997–98 HIFK SM-l 3
1998–99 HIFK SM-l 16 9 5 1 923 26 1 1.69 .932
1999–00 HIFK SM-l 4 0 4 0 155 17 0 6.58 .785
2000–01 SaiPa SM-l 49 22 24 2 2826 120 2 2.55 .924
2001–02 AIK SEL 40 2186 111 1 3,05 .897
2002–03 Kärpät SM-l 36 16 8 9 2136 77 4 2.16 .929 15 7 8 990 33 1 2.00 .939
2003–04 Kärpät SM-l 43 24 8 8 2572 87 7 2.03 .936 15 9 6 926 36 1 2.33 .925
2004–05 Kärpät SM-l 47 27 10 10 2819 102 7 2.17 .927 12 10 2 720 15 3 1.25 .950
2005–06 Kärpät SM-l 51 32 9 10 3078 86 10 1.68 .940 4 3 1 195 6 0 1.85 .897
2006–07 Minnesota Wild NHL 41 23 8 6 2227 73 5 1.97 .929 5 1 4 297 11 0 2.22 .924
2007–08 Minnesota Wild NHL 58 33 13 8 3409 131 4 2.31 .920 6 2 4 361 17 0 2.83 .900
2008–09 Minnesota Wild NHL 71 37 24 8 4088 159 8 2.33 .923
2009–10 Minnesota Wild NHL 60 26 23 8 3489 158 2 2.72 .903
2010–11 Minnesota Wild NHL 51 22 23 5 2978 158 3 2.66 .916
2011–12 Minnesota Wild NHL 46 19 18 7 2590 105 4 2.43 .919
2012–13 Minnesota Wild NHL 41 24 15 3 2368 98 2 2.48 .909
2013–14 Minnesota Wild NHL 21 5 11 2 1094 55 0 3.02 .899
2014–15 Minnesota Wild NHL 19 5 7 3 1005 51 0 3.04 .887
2015–16 Calgary Flames NHL 4 2 2 0 232 13 0 3.35 .881
2016–17 HIFK Liiga 17 8 5 4 382 32 1 1.87 .923 2 1 1 105 6 0 3.43 .864
2017–18 HIFK Liiga 7 2 2 2 110 13 1 2.48 .881
2018–19 Tappara Liiga 15 11 1 2 303 26 2 1.73 .923 0 0 0 9 0 0 0 0
NHL totals 413 196 144 50 23481 975 28 2.49 .914 11 3 8 658 28 0 2.55 .911

InternationalEdit

Year Team Event GP W L T MIN GA SO GAA SV%
2005 Finland EHT 3 2 0 1 180 7 1 2.23 .928
2005 Finland WC 5 1 1 3 310 12 1 2.32 .902
2006 Finland EHT 2 0 2 0 124 3 0 1.45 .956
Senior totals 10 3 3 4 614. 22 2 2.14

AwardsEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "Roger Crozier saving grace award". hockeyworldblog.org. 3 April 2015. Retrieved 3 April 2015.
  2. ^ "Minnesota Wild – Team: Niklas Backstrom Official Player Page". National Hockey League. 2008. Archived from the original on 22 October 2008. Retrieved 23 December 2008. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help); Italic or bold markup not allowed in: |publisher= (help)
  3. ^ "Wild 6, Predators 5". hockeyreference.com. 7 October 2006. Retrieved 7 October 2006.
  4. ^ "Wild blank Coyotes". hockeyreference.com. 24 November 2006. Retrieved 3 February 2007.
  5. ^ Wild Signs Goalie Backstrom ESPN, 3 March 2009
  6. ^ "Wild Acquires David Jones, Trades Niklas Backstrom To Calgary". wild.nhl.com. Retrieved 29 February 2016.
  7. ^ "Niklas Backstrom, Juha Aaltonen sign with HIFK" (in Finnish). HIFK. 10 June 2016. Archived from the original on 13 June 2016. Retrieved 10 June 2016. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help); Italic or bold markup not allowed in: |publisher= (help)
  8. ^ "Niklas Bäckström transferring from HIFK to Tappara" (in Finnish). Liiga.fi. 22 May 2018. Retrieved 27 May 2018.
  9. ^ Russo, Mike (1 March 2016). "Niklas Backstrom: 'Being part of the State of Hockey ... is a privilege.'". Star Tribune. Retrieved 14 December 2017.
  10. ^ Odland, Kristen (24 March 2016). "Calgary Flames goalie Niklas Backstrom looking forward to 'special game' against Minnesota". Calgary Herald. Retrieved 14 December 2017.

External linksEdit

Awards and achievements
Preceded by
Jussi Markkanen
Winner of the Urpo Ylönen trophy
2003–04, 2004–05
Succeeded by
Juuso Riksman
Preceded by
Esa Pirnes
Winner of the Jari Kurri trophy
2003–04, 2004–05
Succeeded by
Miika Wiikman
Preceded by
Miikka Kiprusoff
Winner of the Jennings Trophy
2007 (with Manny Fernandez)
Succeeded by
Chris Osgood and Dominik Hasek
Preceded by
Cristobal Huet
Winner of the Crozier Award
2007
Succeeded by
Final winner