In February, the Minnesota Wild parted ways with its all-time winningest goaltender Niklas Backstrom. It was an unceremonious end to the Finnish puck stopper's decade-long run with the team. After losing his starting job to Devan Dubnyk and falling beneath Darcy Kuemper on the depth chart, the Wild dealt its franchise saves leader to the Calgary Flames for rental player David Jones.
When suddenly out of work in a foreign town what's a celebrated sports guy to do? Flip his massive house in a prestigious 'burb and play a season in Finland, apparently. This month Backstrom inked a deal with HIFK, the squad with whom the goalie won two Finnish Elite League championships before coming to Minnesota. The signing came shortly after his five-bedroom Edina mini-palace sold for nearly $1.8 million.
With Backstrom's last deal worth $10.25 million over three years, he probably didn't need the cash. But property records show the sale price was $120,000 more than what the hockey stud paid for it three years ago. Still, we gotta believe the Helsinki native will miss the house's lower-level Finnish sauna.
The sprawling 5,100-square-foot casa is in the heart of the Edina Country Club District, because apparently not all of Edina is a country club district. Despite his 1 percenter's salary, Backstrom was presumably just like the rest of us – shoving unwanted leftovers down the garbage disposal in his “top of the line” kitchen and relieving himself in one of seven bathrooms (six of which are halfies). Clearly a man with impeccable taste, the 38-year-old kept a sweet dome hockey table in the basement by the wet bar.
The listing boasted of a “high end” home audio system and “gorgeous” cottage-esque wood accents that would make Frodo feel at home. Built in 2012, wood floors and old-money chandeliers give the house a classic charm for all its modern amenities, including a workout room and expensive-looking walk-in closets. It seems a fine place to unwind after an evening of taking pucks to the face.
The longtime Wild player may be gone, but thanks to the world of online real estate, we can catch a glimpse at what the life of professional sports puck can provide. So this is what angry hockey dads are fighting for.