ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — The Minnesota Wild re-signed backup goaltender Josh Harding to a one-year, $750,000 contract Friday.

The team made the announcement on the first day of NHL free agency, putting a dependable goalie behind Niklas Backstrom. The 27-year-old Harding missed all of last season with torn ligaments in his right knee, leaving his future with the team in doubt.

Veteran netminder Jose Theodore was brought in and played well, but Theodore’s desire to compete for a full-time starting job made the decision easier to retain Harding. Theodore signed a two-year deal with the Florida Panthers on Friday.

Harding went 9-12 with a 3.05 goals-against average during the 2009-10 season. He has started 65 games for the Wild in five seasons. He was a second-round pick of the Wild in 2002 and has spent his entire NHL career with Minnesota, going 28-39-4 with a 2.66 goals-against average.

Another one of the Wild’s unrestricted free agents, left wing Andrew Brunette, signed a one-year contract with the Chicago Blackhawks. Forwards Chuck Kobasew, John Madden and Antti Miettinen are the other notable Wild veterans who became unrestricted free agents. None is expected to be re-signed by the Wild.

Also Friday, the Wild cut ties with defenseman Cam Barker after he cleared waivers, and he signed a two-year deal with the Edmonton Oilers. The Wild traded their 2009 first-round draft pick, defenseman Nick Leddy, and defenseman Kim Johnsson to the Blackhawks for Barker in February 2010.

Later Friday, the Wild signed Drew Bagnall and Jed Ortmeyer, to two-year, two-way contracts, and Kyle Medvec, to a two-year, entry-level contract.

Bagnall, a defenseman, and Ortmeyer, a right wing, helped lead the Wild’s affiliate, the Houston Aeros, to the American Hockey League finals.

Medvec, a Twin Cities area native of starred at Apple Valley High School, was a fourth-round draft pick by the Wild in 2006. The defenseman just completed a four-year college career at Vermont.

(© Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

Comments (6)
  1. Tom L says:

    Personally, I’m not impressed with the drafts which is to say its great if one is thinking 3-4 yrs down the road. Then to hire a no-name coach (again). But I was hoping that for all the talk of being disappointed with the way the season went last year, they’d do something for a serious run THIS coming season. Every year its the same excuse – dont want to trade the future, we’re “winning” with what we have now, We have to count on our draft picks, players are too expensive, blah blah blah. Well then dont buy a team if youre going to worry about costs. We’ve been “rebuilding” now for 11 yrs in my opinion. Once again we have to watch other teams grab up what good players there is out there in the FA market (Brad Richards would have been nice). Would have gladly seen Backstrom go for something. Yet we re–sign a backup with a bum knee.

    Yeah, we’re the state of hockey alright. General, garden variety type hockey – where washed up has-beens and never would have played anywhere else type players go to die.

  2. What??? says:

    I would love to call you a fair weather fan, but I feel almost the same. My friends and I were incredibly mad at the trade they made with Burns leaving the team with no players of any real size left. Not to mention we get another forward that has not proven that they are consistent and this leaves us with what? The coaching is just a joke as out with the old no name and in with the new no name. Sad all the way around but if you like hockey what can you do?

  3. Tom L says:


    Guess if I wanted to waste my money on season tickets to watch the Houston Aeros, I’d move to Houston. But with the prices they’re charging, I dont think its too much to ask management to put a consistent winner out on a sheet of NHL ice in front of me. Its pretty sad when Tampa Bay and Carolina win Stanley Cups in front of Minnesota, you know, the “State of Hockey” and all – and MN isnt even close still yet to being in contention. If you like mediocrity, good for you. But after 11 yrs of watching predominantly minor league hockey…I’m ready to move on…and so should the Wild.

  4. What??? says:

    I don’t know if you understood the meaning that I had. I was saying I agree with you just as I stated “I would love to call you a fair weather fan, but I feel almost the same”. I don’t know where you get that I like the mediocrity, did I say this?
    I guess I don’t know why you would have a problem with someone agreeing with you but I will chalk it up to having a bad day. I know I do every time I hear Fletcher speak as he is just about as much of an idiot that you can get to be a GM. I first was calling for Richard’s head thinking it was his fault for the direction the Wild were going. Now I am calling for Fletcher to get out the way of progress as it seems he might be the reason this team is always dragging its feet. All I have to say is that we only have about 4 or 5 players left at this point that are real NHL players and we will need to sign some talent fast or this is going to be a new season of the same old. Koivu is the franchise and if they get rid of him like they did Burns I will start to be a CO fan I guess.

  5. DARREN says:

    They trade the #1 Draft last year, a local player with alot of great poise and possibility, and guess what he played half the season for Chicago and got some great ice time, scored a few goals and had a pretty darn good season. We traded him for Cam Barker and guess what, the Wild just got rid of him.

    Were going to need two good goaltenders when you keep getting rid of all the good Defensemen like Leddy and Burns.

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

Watch & Listen LIVE