Harding ignores trade talk
Josh Harding isn’t oblivious to the fact his name is churning through the NHL rumor mill.
It has been almost 10 years since he was drafted, so he knows how it works. The Wild goalie is a potential free agent and it’s five weeks to the Feb. 27 trade deadline.
So since the Wild has yet to talk contract with him, could Harding help the Wild land that much-coveted top-six forward?
“You tell me,” Harding said with a laugh. “I should be asking you the questions because you probably know more than me. I don’t know what they’re thinking of doing. If I did know, I’d probably tell you.”
Harding, 27, has had an impressive comeback year after tearing the anterior cruciate and medial collateral ligaments in his right knee during last season’s exhibition opener. He is 8-6-3 with a 2.44 goals-against average and .925 save percentage.
With Matt Hackett, 21, considered the Wild’s “Goalie of the Future” and the Wild deep in goal with Darcy Kuemper and Johan Gustafsson developing, Harding might be bait, especially since Niklas Backstrom might not be as coveted.
Backstrom is turning 34 and has another year left on his deal at $6 million. He also has a no-trade clause.
“Being a No. 1 in this league is obviously the ultimate goal, but there’s not much I can control,” Harding said. “Whatever happens on the business side, that’s what happens. I don’t want to get it in my mind at all. There’s a lot more important stuff to be worrying about than that.
“I’ve got to play good, have fun. I’ve always been a Minnesota Wild, so I want to battle with these guys every night. It’s definitely better than rehabbing all year.”