Wednesday, March 5, 2014

A Busy Tuesday: Backstrom Shut Down, Mitchell Wants Out

Will Chuck Fletcher move Torrey Mitchell today?
Shortly after the team acquired Ilya Bryzgalov yesterday, GM Chuck Fletcher stated that due to the injury Niklas Backstrom has sustained, he will be shut down and will more than likely be done for the season. The announcement that Backstrom will be shut down was not surprising in the least given he has not played since January 30th and the Olympic break did very little to help heal his abdominal injury.

This marks the fourth consecutive season that Backstrom has had a season derailed by injury. When healthy, he is a good number one goalie for the squad. But at the age of 36, it appears that the Wild will need to deeply evaluate their goaltending situation beyond this season given the situation with both Backstrom and Josh Harding.

Backstrom is still under contract for two more seasons with a cap hit of $3.14M in each of those seasons. He holds numerous franchise records in the goaltending department, nothing like he was when he first arrived on the scene in 2006-07. How the Wild proceed with him over the next two years will be interesting to say the least.

Later on yesterday afternoon, it was Renaud Lavoie saying that Torrey Mitchell has requested a trade from team management. The tweet is again, non surprising and has been backed up by the "all knowing" Michael Russo in his blog.

Honestly, its surprising Mitchell took this long to ask for a trade. He was signed to a three year, $5.9M contract prior to the 2012-13 season to be a third liner here. In the year and a half in iron range red, Mitchell has really never been a third line and at times this year has been trying to just stay off the healthy scratch list.

If he wants out, the Wild should grant him that wish. They can stock up another draft pick (Mitchell probably grabs a fifth round draft pick), clear a roster spot for another potential move, free more cap space for next year, and put him on a team that could use a serviceable third line winger.

Stay tuned to the Team of 18,001 today for more trade deadline coverage.

Follow Giles on Twitter @gilesferrell

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