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2010 NHL Free Agency: Minnesota brings back backup goalie Josh Harding for one year


Apparently, the Minnesota Wild saw my post* about the players who might be worth an offer sheet this summer. The team announced that they signed Josh Harding to a one-year contract, although financial terms have not been disclosed by the team.

Update: Michael Russo reports that the Wild signed Harding to a one-year, $1.2 million deal. That’s a decent amount of coin for a backup, but I think it’s still a solid move for Minnesota.

* - I’m kidding.

Harding is generally considered one of the best backups in the NHL, although his contract year 09-10 campaign wasn’t too spectacular (9-12-0 record, 90.5 save percentage and 3.05 GAA). That’s probably because his career numbers are pretty stout for a backup; he has a 28-39-4 record but managed an above average 91.5 career save percentage and 2.66 GAA.

Now, I imagine that - aside from being a restricted free agent - the reason that he didn’t get much attention is because he’s never had a big workload. His career high for games played was 29 in 07-08 (his 25 starts in 09-10 were his second highest), not even half of a regular season. There may also be the perception that playing for the Wild might inflate his numbers.

Without seeing the salary details, I think this is a great move for Minnesota and a tough one for Harding. Then again, if the goalie market is better next year, it could be a nice deal for both parties. Still, this is the summer where goalie contracts shriveled up and it (appears) that Harding holds to that pattern.