Conkblock is pretty much gone and the seat behind Howard is empty (though that Joey guy keeps trying to sit in it.) So, let's look at the goalies available on the open market to back up Howie next year.
Now the one thing that Joey gives us is a solid backup to the backup position. The Wings have certainly hinted that he's going to start the year in GR, so that gives the Wings a bit of an advantage to take a goalie that's a little riskier, with a higher upside.
Hit the jump for those available.
I'm only looking at those options that are on the open market next year; I haven't even considered trades as I don't think Detroit would give up anything to get a backup. Let’s start with my personal choice:
Jonas Gustavsson: I’ve been a big fan of this guy for a while and I stick with it. He was thrown in a no win situation in Toronto and was hot and cold, but it’s certainly hard to play in that city, especially with that defense. I think his upside is higher than almost any goalie in the league and just needs a little calming influence (Lidstrom anyone?) and coaching to bring him up to near Howard’s level. Hell, when Howard got into the league, he had all the same problems the Monster has and look where he is now. Plus he’s Swedish. We like those guys.
Tomas Vokoun: Well that little experiment in Washington didn’t work did it Tomas? Until this year, he was the definition of solid. He still had an ok year stats-wise and I think would be a perfect backup who would push Jimmy. His flexibility is poor, but his positioning and smarts is usually bar-none. This is almost a no-brainer if he’d be interested in a backup position.
Scott Clemmensen: Once considered an average backup at best, he’s out-performed expectations wherever he’s gone since returning to the Devils in 09-10. This is a safe, Ty Conklin style circa 2008 pickup of a goalie who won’t win you the cup, but would give them a good chance to win any game he plays. Plus, I think we could get him on the cheap.
Josh Harding: This, I think unfortunately, is a pipe-dream. He’s a hell of a goalie (though he catches with the wrong hand, damnit) who has a bit of a consistency problem. I would think that Minnesota will try to resign him or he’ll get a starting job somewhere. Hopefully far away from the Central division as possible, as he’s a Wing killer.
Marty Biron: He’s the definition of a replaceable goalie. He put up average numbers on a good NYR team and while he doesn’t disappoint, he doesn’t impress either. I wouldn’t hate this signing for around 1.2 million, but I wouldn’t love it either.
Al Montoya: I thought he was average or even bad at Michigan, so the fact that he’s made it to the NHL is impressive in my eyes. And he’s actually done decently with a terrible Isles team ahead of him as well. He’d be cheap, has Michigan roots, and a decent upside.
Curtis Sanford: Coming in for Steve Mason after the first month of the season, he looked like Columbus’ golden savior for a while. Then again, if you put goal pads on a puppy, he’d do better than Mason. And probably adorable. Anyways, Sanford actually played pretty damn well with that terrible team in front of him and I’d have no problem with him behind Howard this year.
A few more:
Chris Mason: See what I wrote about Marty Biron, except I think he looks like a douchebag.
Dan Ellis: See what I wrote about Chris Mason, except he IS a douchebag.
Brent Johnson: He has a hell of a left hook. I think he’s goaltending skills are waning, but man, that left hook is awesome.
Other possibilities include Alex Auld, J. Hedberg, Marty Turco. No thanks on those (Hedberg is 39.)
I think my preference, realistically is 1.) Gustavsson 2.) Clemmensen 3.) Sanford, assuming that Vokoun and Harding wouldn't want to be a backup.
So who do you want the Wings to get? One of these guys or someone else? Sound off in the comments.Don't Forget To Follow NOHS on Facebook and Chris on Twitter, which he consistently forgets he has.
The only way we consider signing/trading for someone else is if MacDonald's back issues continue to be issues going into training camp. He has a one-way contract (which kind of makes all of this discussion/arguing ridiculously unnecessary), so he will either have to start the season in Detroit, or be exposed to waivers anytime he goes to/from GR.
I really feel that the Wings need to look into a long-term back-up solution as opposed to the continuous pattern of 1-2 year deals for "veteran"/past their prime back-ups. We need a dominant duo, and if we are long-term invested in Jimmy, we can't continue to start him 80-85% of the season and expect him to be fresh going into the playoffs.
So, basically, the Monster is our best option. Vokoun would be nice, but he's 35, as is Clemmensen. Neither Pearce or McCollum are progressing to the point where they will even crack the roster, except for an emergency/injury call-up. Mrazek will still need a couple of years in the AHL until we're convinced of his abilities.
@drewbehringer I agree, a dominant Tandem is how teams seed high and go far post season. Either that or they ride an all-star goalie which is a big risk. I'm all about duos.
I'd like to see the Monster. I saw a lot of leafs games and he was usually hung out to dry. On another note, Alex Semin was riding shotgun with Pav at the WC.. A harbinger of things to come?
Sorry to spam with something not goalie related, but this post has a lot of attention. The next round for the EA cover athlete has started and Datsyuk is up against Tavares. I already voted a million times (give or take) and will continue to do so. We need to continue to have a large fan presence voting for him.
@CollegeWolf With several idiot GMs around the league who sling ridiculous figures at players who don't deserve them, I don't see us getting one of these guys for a price that we should get them at. So, would I rather fight the idiot GMs for Parise and/or Suter, or for a backup goalie when I think we already have one that is good enough? Obviously, let's drop some money bombs on the top tier guys, and if there is money left for some reason, I'm fine with pursuing one of these potential upgrades to the backup goalie spot.
@CollegeWolf Harding is probably least likely, Gustavsson might be available due his mediocre play with a mediocre team.
Did somebody say MacDonalds? I think he's the best option, and frankly I think we "owe" him a bit for picking up the load when Jimmy went down in the middle of the win streak. That guy deserves a ton of credit for his performance during that time.
Plus, not spending extra money on a goalie means we get to spend more money on forwards and defense. He's only got a 550k cap hit. That's a steal of a deal, I think.
I will say this about Al Montoya: If the Red Wings were to sign him, I believe he could cause a lot of locker room issues by constantly approaching people, accusing them of killing his father, and instructing them to prepare to die.
@RedWings3RDP Not sure what the Wings owe MacDonald. They signed him when nobody else was going to and they paid him an NHL salary while he was playing in the NHL. He did his job, but I don't think he's the best option available.
@garth He did his job: his job was to be a backup goaltender. While he was originally slated for the third slot, when Conks had problems, he stepped up and became the #1 guy. When Howard came back, MacDonald was slated to be the #2 guy until he got hurt.
I don't think Conklin, the way he was playing, carries us to the home win streak. And if we're not going to use MacDonald, let's trade him.
@Twig @RedWings3RDP Harding won't be a backup anymore IMO (thus, higher salary), given how weak some teams are at that position. Schneider also won't be a backup next season. Monster might be available around $1.5m ($1.35m now, calculate inflation, etc.), and there are certainly some guys who will go for that or less on the original post. I just don't think that any of them are an improvement over Macdonald that are going to be Detroit's backup for that rate, calculating in the theoretical cap inflation rate.
@ThroatShot @Twig It's the inflated value that has me concerned about us being able to get the deals on guys like Semin, Parise and Suter that we would like to. I think without the cap bump and a bit deeper FA pool, we could maybe snag these guys closer to the 5 million mark. Hell, maybe less if we had a stronger year and the market wasn't so slim. I think despite a record 23 home win streak, a 20 year playoff streak and another 100 point season, the Red Wings have a tougher sell about "coming to Detroit to win a cup" this off-season. It's still valid, just a bit weaker of a bargaining position.
Those three guys know they're wanted, the Red Wings made it known, Columbus has made it known they want to rebuild, Florida's going to be looking for puzzle pieces, Calgary, San Jose and Anaheim are looking at maybe rebuilding or restructuring. And if New Jersey makes it to the Cup Finals, I have a hard time believing they're going to let their captain go, unless the Devils have doubts about his leadership qualities. And if they go that far (and win) I doubt he'd want to leave.
Maybe I'm wrong, and if they win, he'd go "Well, got my cup, time to make a fortune!" and wade into the FA market.
@garth Sorry, I couldn't hear you over the mad. When you calm yourself down, I will listen to what you have to say. Until then, just ignore my posts.
@RedWings3RDP You told me to shut up because I made you angry. Why lie about it? Telling someone to shut up is not sarcasm, it's an emotional response.
Seriously though, how thick are you? Yes, MacDonald did his job. Are you aware of what his job was? His job was to be the #3 depth goaltender who could step in should the one of the goalies get injured or underperform. That's what he was and that's what he did. If we need him to step in for a few games next season then that would be fantastic, but he is NEEDED in Grand Rapids to be a veteran presence and help either Jordan Pearce, Tom McCollum or Petr Mrazek move along, that's what his job description was and is.
My "language" mistake was a typo, a problem with my shitty typing, yours was a misunderstanding of the language.
Jesus, how dumb are you? When I mentioned that you said we don't need a backup, how could you POSSIBLY NOT UNDERSTAND that I mean you said we don't need another one? Jesus, obviously your entire argument is that we should have MacDonald as the back up. How thick are you? I'm being serious. How can you not get it?
And Jesus Christ, OBVIOUSLY there are bigger issues than the backup. I god damn well know that we need a top six forward and a top four (at least) defenseman, but that in NO WAY precludes the signing of an actual NHL goaltender as a backup and it in no way erases the need for a backup who can play 25-30 games so that Jimmy Howard can be fresh for the playoffs.
It is like talking to a brick wall.
@Twig @RedWings3RDP @garth Remember that as our cap goes up, so does everyone else's in the league. Including the idiots who are GMs. I wish the cap wouldn't go up, because it is only going to more inflate the value of FAs in the already thin class. If a player was worth $8m before a cap increase and hen the cap goes up 10%, his value will inflate to almost $9m. I can already tell I am going to be sickened by this off-season and what idiots like Burke will do. I'm not confident in us having money leftover to pursue another goalie.
That aside, I would love to have that kind of depth at goalie too. I would love for us to have 8 legit NHL defensemen and 22 legit NHL forwards. I don't see the money being available for any of those though.
@Twig Oh I completely agree it's financially possible, I just don't think it's a certainty. If Lidstrom comes back, he's probably going to get a ballpark of 6 million he got before. Helm and Abdelkader will probably both get contracts of 1mil or more, resigning Hudler and Quincey (which aren't certainty either) could hit us for 3mil each.
I'm guessing Suter is going to want Lidstrom money (or close) and both Parise and Semin are going to want 5mil or more.
We could end up with roughly the cap space we had this season, give or take a million or two, which could translate into a backup goalie. Unless Holland wants to keep that space open in order to have wiggle room at the deadline, which is something he likes to do and isn't a bad idea - unless you do nothing with it like he did this year.
With the confidence they vocalized for MacDonald, they may choose to go that route and I think it's a good route to go. At the very least you have to get the names I mentioned figured out and signed. And then you have to hope some of the goalies mentioned are willing to settle for 1mil or so to be a backup.
If we MacDonald didn't have the showing he had this season, I would be 100% on board with a higher priority for a backup goalie. But I think MacDonald can be the #2 guy.
i will say that i agree with garth in that the Wings will have the money to make quite a few dreams come true this offseason and have money to spare on a backup. i do think Joey is good enough to be the backup, but i really like having him as the #3 because of the depth that brings us.
Before your criticize people's English understanding, might want to capitalize a proper noun. You should also use hyperbole correctly.
My point is why they didn't try to trade for anyone? Their goalie situation between last year and this year hasn't changed, except for the assumption that Conklin is not going to be resigned. Jimmy Howard is the guy, and someone is going to be the back up. If you believe that MacDonald doesn't have the quality to be a back up now, he didn't have what it last season either.
If they need to bring someone in now, they needed someone then. They didn't do it, because MacDonald fulfilled the need of a back up goaltender stepping up when the starter was unable to play, either because he needed rest or he was injured. He went a bit above .500, better than the Red Wings road record. You don't expect your back up to be lights out: you don't expect them to dominate the way Rask or Schneider, Elliot have. You don't expect them to pressure the top guy for his job, you expect them to be solid for you when you need them to be.
Trades happen because the teams agree to a deal. They negotiate deals that they're interested in that will benefit them. To fill needs. Holland said he wanted Quincey for more depth on the blue line going into the post season. To my knowledge, he didn't say he needed a new backup goaltender going into the post season. He was happy with Howard and at least satisfied with the guys behind him. Everyone I've heard said by Babcock, Holland and the team support that claim. I never said they should have signed a goalie, or should have tried to sign a goalie. I'm saying if they felt they needed it, they would have tried. If you're aware of a trade rumor about a goalie this year, please share it with the class.
But you're right. I said we don't need a backup at all. Except for that whole middle part where I said Joey MacDonald can be our back up. I don't think we need to go and sign one, because we potentially have our guy. And I'd rather the Red Wings focus on what I think are much more pressing needs - signing a top 6 forward (or two) and a top line blue liner. If the money pans out (which isn't the certainty you believe to be) and we can get a backup as a steal, it's definitely an option. I think there are bigger issues, and I'd also like to see us not totally capped come trade deadline either.
But like I said. Stop being mad. I told you to shut up because it's a sarcastic response to someone making ridiculous suggestions. And because you're mad, and it's obvious you're more mad.
@RedWings3RDP It's cute that you don't understand hyperbole. See, sometimes people with a good command of the english language will exaggerate in order to accentuate the point they are making. It's rather obvious that you're not saying he genuinely deserved the Vezina, dummy, I was making a point.
And it's cute that you pretend you don't think that some magic trade was going to happen to solve a temporary problem. Your response was "duhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh, why didn't they trade for Roberto Luongo", as if Ken Holland could just snap his fingers and solve his problems. This is the real world we're talking about. Trades don't just happen because it's a convenient argument for you. Remember Kyle Quincey? It wasn't that long ago, it should be fresh in your mind. Ken Holland wanted him back but Greg Sherman wouldn't trade him to Detroit so Ken Holland had to deal with a completely unrelated GM in order to get Quincey. Remember? But yeah, trading should be SO easy, shouldn't it?
You're not talking about solving greater needs first, you're talking about ignoring needs in favour of other needs. I'm not saying that the first priority of the summer has to be signing a backup, but you're saying that we don't need a backup AT ALL.
Oh my goodness, aren't I just SO audacious?!?! I hope my scathing audacity didn't make you drop your monacle in your champagne flute.
It's also cute that just because I think you're stupid, you think I'm angry. And also that I'm the angry one while you're the one telling someone to "shut up".
You're absolutely adorable, I just want to pinch your cheeks.
PS Note to dense guy: I don't really think you're cute and I don't really want to pinch your cheeks.
@garth Oh god, it takes TWO teams for trades to happen? I thought this was just NHL 11 where I can pluck players from other teams and drop them onto the roster of my favorite team.
I think it's funny the raging assumptions you have to make in order to disagree with me: "Vezina-worthy"? Please. I never claimed that MacDonald could be anything but a viable backup goalie.
I don't care about what's best for the team? I'm talking about solving greater needs first, major free agency signings for major position fillings and resigning important players for the team, and you have the audacity to say I'm not thinking about what's best for the team? Just shut up.
Stop being mad because someone disagrees with you. It's embarrassing and makes it hard to have a reasonable conversation with someone who's just mad.
@RedWings3RDP You're aware that it takes two teams to make a trade, right? How many goalies do you think were readily available and how do you think the Red Wings were going to get one at a fair price, dealing from a place of weakness as they were?
And how great was MacDonald? Well, he was so great that even though Howard missed more than 10 games to injury he STILL played nearly 60. As Vezina-worthy as you think MacDonald's 8-6 record was, it still didn't give the Wings enough confidence to let Howard rest at all. Missing 10 games he still played more games than they wanted him to play.
And what kind of raises do you think that Helm, Abdelkader and Quincey are going to command? And how about addressing the depth issue?
Stop playing a stupid small-numbers game, a half-million dollars more than what MacDonald is making won't break the bank. Stop pretending the Wings owe Joey MacDonald something. Let Jimmy Howard have a real NHL backup for once in his career. Let us see what Jimmy Howard can do in the playoffs when he hasn't been overworked during the regular season. Try to think about what's best for the team.
@garth I'm not ignoring they will have nearly 30 million. You're ignoring that they have to potentially resign Lidstorm, Helm, Hudler, Abdelkader, and Quincey and THEN go shopping for major free agent pick ups. Those are more important than the backup goalie situation.
And my mistake, I thought he had a groin injury last season. Turns out it was a knee injury. And a shoulder injury.
Like I said, if the Wings needed a new backup goaltender because MacDonald isn't worthy of the spot, they could have traded for one. They had 5 million in cap space to sign or trade for someone. But they didn't. Because MacDonald is good enough to fill the backup role.
@RedWings3RDP 1) Jimmy had a groin injury, that doesn't mean he has issues. MacDonald has already had one back surgery, his injury is recurring.
2) Yes, MacDonald did well for a guy thrust into that position. As for why Detroit didn't go after anyone else, who else would they go after? There aren't a lot of options in the middle of a season. Do they sign Marty Turco, who hadn't laced up since the end of his last disappointing season?
3) You keep insisting on ignoring the fact that Detroit will likely have nearly THIRTY MILLION to play with. Paying another backup $1M instead of relying on MacDonald for $550K isn't going to break the back. We're talking about a backup here, someone whose salary would top out at about $1.5M at the most, not trying to get Pekka Rinne or Ilya Bryzgalov.
@garth Jimmy has had groin injury issues, which are even more serious for goaltenders than they are for skaters.
My point about Babcock and the team's confidence is that when MacDonald had to step up, he did. And the team respected his solid play. And instead of going shopping for goalies when Conklin was sucking and Jimmy was hurt before the trade deadline (which they could have), they opted to back MacDonald and he got the job done.
They had plenty of cap space then; why not go after someone?
And if we're talking about going for Suter and/or Parise and/or Semin, etc. we're going to have to spend some money. On top of that, we have to look at our UFA/RFA signings and make sure we have the cap space for all of that, plus the shopping we want to do, plus have something left over for trade deadline moves if we need to.
@RedWings3RDP And I just think it would be better to get a seasoned NHL back up in Detroit while having MacDonald in the #3 spot, ready to come in if needed, than having MacDonald as the #2 and having to rely on Pearce or McCollum in the emergency call-up situation.
Depth is the key.
@RedWings3RDP Detroit could have $25-28 million to work with if the cap goes up as much as some say it will. They're not going to skimp on a backup if they feel they need a better option than MacDonald.
And yeah, obviously it all depends on what Holland, Babcock and the team want. This is a discussion about possibilities.
And yeah, they were behind MacDonald. He was also the only option when Howard was injured and Conklin was stinking up the joint. That doesn't mean they won't explore every avenue possible before settling on MacDonald.
In regards to the injuries, you can't compare them. Breaking a finger on a shot is different from a chronic back injury.I won't necessarily be unhappy if they decide on MacDonald, but I am concerned about Jimmy again not getting enough support and having to play 60+ games.
@Lauren H Is there anything that says that contract can't change?
@garth His back issues are a legitimate concern. Although I would point out the last couple of seasons, Jimmy Howard has had more injury problems than MacDonald had. But yeah, his back issues are a concern.
And it isn't so much what I think of his performance, it's about what Babcock and his team thinks. The team and Babcock were behind him.
My point is: If we want to go after Suter AND Parise (or Semin or Kane or whoever) and if Holland wants to have money to play with come trade deadline, not to mention the free agents on our own team we may be looking to re-sign (Helm, Abdelkader) we may have to take a deal on a goaltender, and Joey MacDonald is a good option to do so.
@RedWings3RDP And the job he did was being a capable #3 who could play in case of emergency. That's all he did.
@RedWings3RDP You don't honestly believe he earned the starting spot, right? He was better than Ty Conklin. Two goalie pads stacked on top of eachother could've done as well as Ty Conklin.
And oh, he missed the last 11 games of the season and the playoffs with a back injury. What could possibly be the problem with relying on a guy with back issues as your backup GOALIE?
How about having a healthy, capable, NHL-proven backup for the first time in three years and just let MacDonald do what he was brought in to do, which is be a veteran presence in Grand Rapids?
And really? You're worried about spending more than $500K on a backup when Detroit could have between 25 and 28 MILLION to work with? This is not the time to skimp. If they spend a million and a half on a backup they'll STILL have a very inexpensive goaltending tandem.
@garth He was brought in to be a back up goaltender, earned the starting spot, fought to keep it and fought to produce in the NHL. His season and career numbers aren't all that bad.
I'm not saying the guy is the next Tim Thomas, but he had a great year this year and could maybe do it again. At 500k and with bigger problems to solve (scoring and defense) I'd rather invest the money there than trying to pay another goaltender a lot of money.Like I said, if we're not using the guy, let's trade him.
@RedWings3RDP He's been a pro for ten years and last year was the first time MacDonald had a winning record in the NHL. He was an emergency call up because Conklin sucked. He was signed to be the veteran backup in GRAND RAPIDS, not Detroit.
@garth Two of those teams were the Maple Leafs and the Islanders. Most of those seasons he hasn't gotten to play at the NHL level because bigger goaltenders have been filling the spots. The last season was the first time he'd gotten to play more than 10 game for Detroit.
He hasn't had that great of a chance.
@RedWings3RDP Well some of us aren't as easy to please. His record was 8-6, that's not exactly gangbusters.
In the past decade he's had the chance to establish himself as the backup on four teams and hasn't done it.The point is he's had TEN YEARS to prove himself and he hasn't even been able to prove himself as even a back up. And again, he's had ONE winning season.
@garth He proved himself to me just fine with his performance this year. And how easy is it to prove yourself on a team where you're never really getting an opportunity to do so? MacDonald has always had people ahead of him, either due to seniority or due to guys being brought in to fill the job. Prospective goalies have had to wait their turn in Grand Rapids while guys like Hasek, Cujo, Conklin, Legace and Osgood were brought in and out and in to the Red Wings lineup.
If you want MacDonald to prove himself as a goaltender in the NHL then why not give him the chance to do so by letting him play in the NHL?
@RedWings3RDP Playing a couple games a year doesn't make you an actual NHL goalie. He's been a pro for 10 years and he's played more than 16 games in a single season once, in 2008-09. If you think that's a bonafide NHL goalie then you're out of your mind. How much faith can you honestly put in a guy who's never even been able to prove himself as a back up in over a decade of pro hockey?
After the backup woes the Wings have had for the last couple years why would anyone advocate cheaping out on a back up? And why not give Jimmy Howard ONE year in his young career in which he doesn't have two worry about carrying a huge workload?
@Reddy Why not? You agreed with Garth, and as he pointed out, we paid MacDonald an NHL salary while he played in the NHL. That makes him an "actual NHL goalie" and he's cheap. He fits your criteria perfectly.
I always wanted Clemmensen. I thought we should have got him when we had that goalie fiasco a couple of years ago, when Osgood was really hurt, and Howard was shaky (If I remember correctly?) and Clemmensen was getting the job done for the Devils when Brodeur was out. He was so good night in and night out! I thought for sure the wings were going to get him to be a tandem or backup in the offseason. I'd feel comfortable with him. Hope it happens.