Wild bring back goalie Josh Harding on 1-year deal

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.