Michael Russo has covered the National Hockey League since 1995. He has covered the Minnesota Wild for the Star Tribune since 2005, after 10 years of covering the Florida Panthers for the Sun-Sentinel. He uses “Russo’s Rants” to feed a wide-ranging hockey-centric discussion with readers, and can be heard weekly on KFAN (100.3 FM) radio and seen weekly on Fox Sports North.
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In other news, Ryan Suter was named to the NHL's First All-Star Team. He led the NHL in average ice time (27:16), playing over 30 minutes 10 times. He was second amongst defensemen in assists (28) and third in points (32).
The news comes a few days after his partner, Jonas Brodin, was named to the NHL's All-Rookie Team.
As you can see below, Alex Ovechkin made First and Second Team at different positions. First time this has ever happened and one reason why there was such a delay in the announcement.
2012-2013 NHL First All-Star Team
GP W L OT GAA SV% SO
G Sergei Bobrovsky, Columbus Blue Jackets 38 21 11 6 2.00 .932 4
GP Mins. G A Pts
D P.K. Subban, Montreal Canadiens 42 23:14 11 27 38
D Ryan Suter, Minnesota Wild 48 27:16 4 28 32
C Sidney Crosby, Pittsburgh Penguins 36 21:06 15 41 56
RW Alex Ovechkin, Washington Capitals 48 20:53 32 24 56
LW Chris Kunitz, Pittsburgh Penguins 48 18:01 22 30 52
2012-2013 NHL Second All-Star Team
GP W L OT GAA SV% SO
G Henrik Lundqvist, New York Rangers 43 24 16 3 2.05 .926 2
GP Mins. G A Pts
D Francois Beauchemin, Anaheim Ducks 48 23:27 6 18 24
D Kris Letang, Pittsburgh Penguins 35 25:38 5 33 38
C Jonathan Toews, Chicago Blackhawks 47 19:20 23 25 48
RW Martin St. Louis, Tampa Bay Lightning 48 21:59 17 43 60
LW Alex Ovechkin, Washington Capitals 48 20:53 32 24 56
The Wild has agreed to terms with its winningest goalie in franchise history.
Niklas Backstrom has agreed to a three-year deal worth $10.25 million ($3.42 million).
Backstrom, the Wild's goalie of seven years, won 24 games last year before sustaining a sports hernia before the playoffs. He has won 184 games.
Backstrom, 35, wanted term -- at least 3 years -- and he got it. The Wild wanted to make certain it came in less than $4 million -- what he probably would have gotten on the open market -- and it got that.
Backstrom loves Minnesota and wanted badly to return. The Wild maintained its priority was to sign Backstrom. The only options for a No. 1 goaltender would have been the trade market.
With limited cap space, the only true potential No. 1 if he gets to free agency is Mike Smith, and he's looking for a big payday.
Veteran winger Stephane Veilleux was re-signed to a two-year, $1.175 million contract this afternoon. The move is designed to add depth, both in Minnesota and perhaps AHL Iowa.
Veilleux, 31, played 33 games for Houston last year and two playoff games for the Wild. The hard-hitting, checking, energy forward has played 382 of his 460 regular-season NHL games for Minnesota. That's eighth in franchise history.
"I am really excited to sign two years with the organization that drafted me," Veilleux said. "I am really proud of the hard work and commitment that I have put into my career. The biggest thing is I get to play where my heart is."
If in the NHL, Veilleux will earn $600,000 in Year 1 and $575,000 in Year 2 for a salary-cap hit of $587,500.
It's a two-way contract, meaning he would earn a lesser salary if he plays in the minors. He would have to clear waivers to get there. Even if he spends time in Iowa, he is still guaranteed a $175,000 salary each year.
For Veilleux's career stats, click here.
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