Our look at the Wings' upcoming free agents continues. After having some time to digest whether Chris Osgood deserves another shot in a Wing uniform, we're throwing you a curveball today.
As with before, we'll break down the player, his prior contract, the pros and cons, and then give you a chance to vote. This being #4 in our series, I'm sure you've all seen and memorized this before, but if not, here's where the Wings stood before the retirement of Rafalski:
With 11 forwards (including, but excluding ), the Wings have committed just under $31.5M on the front end. With Jimmy Howard and four defenders, there’s just under $16M committed to the rear. That’s a total of $47.5M of the projected $62M salary cap.
The Red Wings will have about $14M to play with — and that’s to fill the holes on the forward units, sign (or promote) another three defenseman, and find a backup goaltender. If returns, he’ll command the lion’s share of that pool, so big name free agents like are absolutely out. However, the Wings have proven time and time again that they can work magic without much cap space, and we should all have faith that GM Ken Holland and braintrust will deliver another stellar roster by the time camp rolls around.
Follow the jump for the latest (and not the greatest) of Wing free agents for you to vote on.
, Goaltender, #31
31 Years Old (February 7, 1980)
6'0", 197 lbs
6 Full NHL Seasons (87 career regular season games played) - Detroit, Boston, NY Islanders, Toronto, Detroit again.
From Pictou, NS, Canada
Regular Season - 15 games played, Record 5-5-3, 1 SO, 2.58 GAA, .917 SV%.
Playoffs - Did not play.
Joey MacDonald was an undrafted player who signed a free agent contract with the Wings in December of 2001. He did not play his first NHL game for another 5 years, when he debuted against the Sharks in October of 2006 (and lost). He was claimed off waivers by the Bruins in February of 2007, but only played 7 games in a Boston uniform. He signed a 2 year contract with the Islanders, appearing in 49 games in 2008-09 after Rick DiPietro went on IR. The following offseason, he signed a 1 year deal with the Toronto Maple Leafs, but was traded to the Ducks midway through the season. Last year, he signed a 1-year, 2-way deal with the Red Wings. His cap hit while up with the Wings was $550,000.
He will be an unrestricted free agent on July 1st.
MacDonald was an emergency call-up after Chris Osgood sustained a groin injury, and remains (in most fans' eyes) simply a fill in for more capable backups. Despite his reputation as a minor-league goaltender, he played quite well after Jimmy Howard was injured in a game against the Columbus Blue Jackets in January. In his 8 starts this season, he only gave up more than 3 goals twice. He was also perfect in allowing 0 goals in 5 of his appearances.
CASE FOR MACDONALD
1) He played well in limited action this past year, giving the Wings a legitimate shot to win almost every game he appeared in.
2) This is his second go-around with the organization, so he understands the system and the different personalities on the team.
3) His lack of experience and proven track record will make him cheap to re-sign if the Wings choose to bring him back.
CASE AGAINST MACDONALD
1) Outside of one year with the Islanders, he has never played more than 780 minutes (or 13 regulation games) in a single NHL season. Can he handle 20-25 games to take the load off Jimmy Howard?
2) His career numbers prior to last season with Detroit? 18-38,9, 3.29 GAA, .899 SV%. He's been on some bad teams, but those are not good stats, even for a backup.
3) He's essentially a career minor-league goaltender whose only real playing time has been due to an injury to a starter or backup.
WHAT HE'S SAYING
MacDonald recently spoke with the Free Press and told them he enjoyed spending the entire year in Detroit and wants to stay. Given his history of moving from team to team and spending the majority of his career in the minors, I've got to believe he will take just about any offer from the Red Wings.
League minimum, with maybe a very slight raise based on his performance last year during an emergency situation. Should the Wings make MacDonald an offer, it would likely be a two-way deal.
Internal :: Chris Osgood is the biggest threat to MacDonald's chances at an offer. Ozzie wants to come back, and for as much as we dog him, he's an upgrade over Joey if we're talking about an entire season as the backup. Daniel Larsson is a long-shot, as he left for Sweden before this past season, but like with Jiri Hudler the year before, the Wings still own his rights.
External ::There's a glut of goalies available on the open market this year. If the Wings do look outside the organization for a backup, it will be for a guy like Brian Boucher or Ty Conklin, someone with starting experience and a history of success. However, a move in that direction will be more expensive.
WHAT DO YOU THINK
Please use the form below to give us your take on whether the Wings should try to get Joey MacDonald back at a reasonable rate. Then, sound off in the comments with your thoughts. Is Ericsson still on the upswing of his career or has he peaked? Should they go younger now or look for a more experienced guy? Voting will stay open for 48 hours. Thanks!
Voting is now closed. Thanks to everybody who made their voices heard. Stay tuned for more free agents and for the eventual big payoff as we tally all the final votes.