Wild Re-Sign Harding

Per Mark Wolleman of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune:

Goaltender Josh Harding and the Wild have agreed to terms on a one-year contract, eliminating the need for today’s arbitration hearing in Toronto.Harding, 25, appeared in 19 games with the Wild last season and was 3-9-1 with a 2.21 GAA and .929 saves percentage. Harding has appeared in 58 NHL games making 43 starts for Minnesota in parts of four seasons. Russo reports the contract will pay Harding $1.1 million next season.

The bottom line is that the Wild could to a lot worse than having Harding as their back up.  This is a great deal for Minnesota, as it buys them time to shop Harding who, honestly, should be a number one goaltender somewhere in the league.  It also affords the Wild the ability to ease Niklas Backstrom into the season after his off-season surgery — essentially, to make sure that he is good to go for certain.

What this deal also does is gives Harding’s deal flexibility enough to have him moved.  A long-term deal on a player assumed to be good enough for a starting role would be much more difficult to move than a one-year deal and my guess is that Fletcher is quite aware of that.  Flexibility is the buzzword of the year for all NHL teams and taking on a one-year contract is a lot more do-able for teams than, say, a three-year deal.

The bottom line is that this is a good deal for the Wild regardless of whether or not they opt to trade Harding this season.

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