I like Schaefer a lot, but he won't challenge Harding for #2. The Wild have been very lucky in goaltending these past few seasons - think that a couple years ago they were considered blessed to have the Roloson-Fernandez tandem. They've dropped both of those guys and now have a very good, young duo as well as a promising 3rd.
The main reason it will be Harding - he has a one way contract.
I think the main reason is not the contract difference at all.
More likely it has to do with the plan of bringing Harding up. His AHL days are over. Backstrom has a two-year deal, by the end of which Harding should be 100% ready.
Schafer's role with the organization isn't as clear, at least to me.
Schaefer has 7 games played with more than impressive stats, but Harding has the one way. Schaefer got screwed by the Sharks last year pretty much. His new website www.unmasklyme.com briefly mentions how the season went.
Right now, I'm confident in the Wild's goaltending tandem of Niklas Backstrom and Josh Harding. I thought the whole point of trading Manny Fernandez was to free up the logjam in net. Harding just cannot continue to remain in the minors. Nolan Schaefer is in Minnesota primarily as insurance going into this season and yes, I agree his proven he's capable of an NHL job. But right now, I just don't see it being anything other than the Backstrom/Harding tandem. It would take a monumental collapse on Harding's part to lose the backup role.