Twig’s done a great preview of the skaters, now NOHS’ gaze turns to the (stupid) goalies. And what better person to bring you a preview of the goalies than a stupid goalie himself?
Here we go.
First and foremost, Jimmy Howard had an excellent season last year. I’d say it was his first real breakout season to becoming a legit elite goaltender. He put up a 92% save percentage and a GAA of 2.12. Both are simply outstanding. It was the first year that I felt he was not only solid, but unbeatable at times.
In the past few years, Jimmy has transformed from a quick, but sloppy goaltender who overcommitted and frequently found himself out of place, to a technically sound, movable wall who still has the ability to make desperation saves when needed. He’s an athlete in net who doesn’t need to be athletic on every shot anymore. This is the best type of goaltender to have in net. I can only think of a handful of goaltenders in the world who I’d rather see wearing the Winged Wheel.
Hit the jump for more on Howie and the other Wings netminders:
This year will be interesting as I believe he’ll be seeing a few more shots than normal with the fact that our D line will be missing the #1 defenseman of all time. That being said, I think these types of situations are ones that Jimmy handles the best-the more shots, the better.
Another big question will be the playoffs. Jimmy was very good last year. Better than he was the previous two season. But he wasn’t as good as the guy across from him (who is one of the handful I mentioned above) and the Wings went down in five. Detroit needs him not to be just great in the playoffs, but better than the guy who’s staring down at him across the ice. I think he can do it, but we’ll see.
Thank God we aren’t talking about Ty Conklin again. Remember that janitor who was masquerading as a NHL goaltender last season?
This year we have the Monster in net. The 6’3” netminder from Sweden is probably the second most athletic goaltender in the league and I am ecstatic that he is with Detroit. This is from his first (or one of his first) preseason games in the league:
That being said, he’s very rough around the edges. This showed this past season with Toronto, where he played to a 2.92 GAA and 90.2 save percentage. Of course, Toronto is the home of goaltender killers and a defense softer than Brian Rafalski relaxing on a memory foam mattress. It is hard to play for a team that
Furthermore, his previous goalie coach, Francois Allaire, is the creator of J.S. Giguere, the opposite type of goaltender of Gustavsson. Allaire is the type of coach that teaches one style for all goaltenders, a blocking style. I’m betting dollars to donuts that working with Allaire only confused Jonas’ style and his game suffered from it. Jim Bedard will be a Godsend to Gustavsson.
I expect to see flashes of brilliance from Gustavsson this season, but also complete flops at times as well. There will be times where some call for him to the starter, but I don’t expect him to overtake Howard this year. That being said, I think Jonas’ upside is as great, if not greater than Jimmy’s. If Bedard was able to make an All-Star netminder out of Jimmy, there’s no reason he can’t do the same with Jonas. I’m excited to see what he can do in the Wings net.
(This all being said, I do feel bad for Joey MacDonald, who really has shown that he’s a solid #2 guy in the league. Then again, not too bad though, as I wish I could be in his shoes. So, nevermind, I don’t feel bad at all.)
Overall, I’m excited about our goaltending this year. I think it has the potential to be the best 1-2 punch in the league.
Let’s do this. LGRW.
According to Jimmy, The Monster much prefers to just be called Gus. I think we should call him Gus Fring ala breaking bad. He's breaking bad habits taught by the Leafs. :)
what's the word on joey macdonald? he's under contract for another year, right? doesn't seem like he's needed in grand rapids, either. last i heard he had asked to be traded but that was back in july.
@Twig He's still battling back issues and I heard last week that he wasn't able to play right now anyway. I suspect that he'll just be hanging around until he gets better, then maybe traded (since we don't need him and he did request to be traded somewhere he could actually see ice time).