Continuing our series of season recap and grades for the Red Wings, today we look at the goalies. Heading into the 2010-2011 season, Jimmy Howard was to be the top-dog and well, that pretty much stayed true as he followed up his rookie campaign with another impressive year. The Red Wings got some unexpected help from Joey MacDonald as Chris Osgood went down with injury. The Red Wings also tried to make a move for the KHL-fleeing Evgeni Nabokov, but those crafty goaltending stockpilers on Long Island took him off waivers before he made it to Detroit. Did that serve as a motivational factor for Jimmy Howard? Who really knows.
Preseason Expectations: In the season preview, I called for Howard to win at least 35 games again and for his GAA to stay around 2.3. Only one of these came true but hey, I'm an optimist. I also called for Chris Osgood to get more games played and about 12-15 wins. Again, I'm an optimist.
Follow the jump for the rest of the recap and grades.
#35 / Goalie / Detroit Red Wings
Mar 26, 1984
|2010 - Jimmy Howard||63||3615||37||17||168||2.79||1830||1662||.908||2|
Jimmy Howard came into this season as the clear-cut #1 guy in net and it's safe to say he didn't disappoint the Red Wings' faithful. If he did disappoint you, remember this: he's not Dominik Hasek. Anyway, Howard's numbers are pretty similar to his rookie campaign. In both seasons, he had 63 games played with 37 wins. He had two more regulation losses this season than his rookie year. His GAA went up by .53 and his SV% down .016, but keep in mind he put up some pretty damn good numbers last year.
What he did well: Jimmy had a good regular season and even better playoffs. Yeah, he gave up close to 3 goals a game in the playoffs, but considering some of the egregious defensive mistakes it could have been worse. Jimmy seemed to be one of the few players that showed fire from game 1 of the season to game 7 against San Jose. Howard's maturing quickly at the NHL level and showed this past season that his ability to lead a team by his work ethic in the net was no fluke during his rookie year.
What he didn't do well: Keep the goals against down. Howard had the highest GAA of any of the three Red Wings' goalies that played 10+ games. However, the Wings could afford for him to give up more goals this season as they scored more than they did last season. So, you can chalk up the high GAA and some weak goals as his big minuses on the season.
Overall grade: Jimmy had a solid regular season and although he didn't meet our statistical expectations based off of his rookie season, he won games and that's all that matters sometimes. Howard's regular season performance was going to earn him a B+, but the determination and passion with which he played in the postseason earned him an A-.
#31 / Goalie / Detroit Red Wings
Feb 07, 1980
|2010 - Joey MacDonald||15||721||5||5||31||2.58||372||341||.917||1|
Not many of us expected to see Joey MacDonald in a Red Wings' uniform outside of the preseason games, but I think most of us will admit that we were pleased with how he played filling in for Chris Osgood. MacDonald might have earned himself a temporary contract in the upcoming season as Howard's back-up but for the time being, let's take a look back at his 2010-2011 season.
What he did well: MacDonald performed admirably in his given opportunities to fill in for Chris Osgood to be Jimmy Howard's back-up. MacDonald had some very solid performances, allowing 1 goal or less in 7 appearances (6 of 7 being a period's worth of ice-time). MacDonald wasn't always spectacular with his saves, but was good at managing the game. He did a good job of holding pucks to allow the 3rd best team in the league to get a crack at winning the puck instead of making a poor decision with the puck. Mac's level of play and the amount of effort he put forth each night was great.
What he didn't do well: MacDonald had some trouble at times and had two games giving up 5+ goals, including the 7 goals allowed debacle against St. Louis. Mac really had a small sample size to choose from and came in in relief on several occasions so it's kind of hard to really rip apart what he did wrong.
Overall grade: MacDonald performed better than many of us expected and earned 5 wins during the season. He did exactly what was asked of him in relief and on short notice, constantly going to Grand Rapids and back while Chris Osgood's injury status fluctuated. I think a B- is a fair grade for him.
#30 / Goalie / Detroit Red Wings
Nov 26, 1972
|2010 - Chris Osgood||11||629||5||3||29||2.77||298||269||.903||0|
Chris Osgood came into the 2010-2011 season hoping to get some more games under his belt than he did in the previous season. Well, he played in 12 fewer this season. Osgood was expected to play a decent amount of games in order to keep Jimmy Howard well rested, but the best laid plans of Mike and Ken oft go awry.
What he did well: Got his 400th win. Osgood had a rough season to say the least as he spent so much time off the ice but he can look back with pride at the fact that he got his 400th career win, putting him at 10th all-time and two short of Grant Fuhr. Osgood won 5 of his 10 starts so I guess that's good right? Eh...
What he didn't do well: Stay healthy. Ozzie's back-and-forth health really put the team in a tough spot all year as they had to clear space for him to come off IR only for him to have a flare up again and be sidelined for another 3-4 weeks. It's hard to rip on a guy for something that he can't really control but it did cost the team some flexibility with the roster. Also, Ozzie didn't exactly have great numbers in the games he did play and he had some pretty atrocious goals against (Phoenix shorthanded slapshot ring a bell?).
Overall grade: I think a lot of us will agree that this wasn't the way we wanted to see Ozzie play in what could be his last season in Detroit. As I mentioned earlier, it's hard to grade poorly for missing time with injury but the back-and-forth health made things difficult on the rest of the team.I think he earned a C, too little to really bump his grade up and too much to bring it down.
#38 / Goalie / Detroit Red Wings
Dec 07, 1989
|2010 - Thomas McCollum||1||15||0||0||3||12.00||8||5||.625||0|
Thomas McCollum saw 14:37 of ice-time this season as a back-up to Joey MacDonald. McCollum and MacDonald were supposed to be the duo in Grand Rapids, not Detroit. But injuries are a big problem sometimes and MacDonald had to start a few times with McCollum on the bench behind him. In the game that we all have chosen to forget against St. Louis, McCollum saw his first NHL action and quickly gave up 3 goals for a 12.31 GAA. McCollum gets a big break here on every bit of analysis because he shouldn't have even been in the line-up.
What he did well: chart face-offs.
What he didn't do well: poke-check.
Overall Grade: Incomplete assignment.
#20 / Goalie / 6-0 200 Jul 25, 1975