In case you hadn't heard, the Red Wings lost their starting goaltender for an undetermined time during Saturday night's loss in Washington. Jimmy Howard stretched out to cover a back post left uncovered by him leaving a puck for a forechecker and he came up needing a stretcher to get off the ice. He's since had an MRI and has an ultrasound today to discover the nature of what Ken Holland is saying is a "slight tear."
[As a quick aside: we all know to play the game where you take GM comments with a grain of salt. "Slight tear" is going to create a requisite amount of panic among the fanbase anyway, could you imagine how awful things would get if he hadn't used the word slight or if had used some sort of graduated scale? Mass hysteria.]
Since the Wings are now without a goaltender and the Blues have been with three goaltenders for a little while, people are going to start talking about Detroit potentially trading for Martin Brodeur. This is a fun mental exercise, though in the same vein that figuring out how many times you have to slam your face into a brick fireplace before you pass out is a fun mental exercise, but as an exercise it makes as much sense as Stephen Hawking doing kegels.
For starters, let's look at the stakes:
Detroit sits third in the Atlantic right now. They're in a good spot to make the playoffs, but they're also just three points up on the 2nd Wild Card team and four points up on the top loser. They're pacing fine right now and their fancystats are solid enough to say that the way they're playing isn't really a fluke, but they're also where they are thanks to having the 9th-best on-ice save percentage at even strength and the 12-best overall combined sv%. A drop in their ability to stop shots has the potential to knock them out.
Howard has already been ruled out of games until after the All-Star break. Assuming his groin is magical and he comes back that fast, that's five games. Assuming we're somewhere in the 6-8 week recovery mode, we'd get Howard back right around March. Detroit has 19 games before March 1st with two back-to-back sets in there.
And What have we Got on this thing, a Cuisinart?
Without Howard, Detroit's starting goaltender right now is Petr Mrazek. They've called up Tom McCollum in the short run, but expect to have Jonas Gustavsson back from his early season shoulder injury soon.
Petr Mrazek's Stats
So he hasn't been as ball-shatteringly amazing as the people who wanted him starting all season to be, but those are good numbers as far as things the goaltender can actually control.
Tom McCollum has 15 minutes to NHL experience at age 25 and those were during a game I'm not going to talk about. He gave up three goals on eight shots. The idea of him having to start a game for the Wings is absolutely terrifying.
Jonas Gustavsson is a career "meh" goaltender. He's essentially replacement-level (AKA backup material) at this point. The good news about backup material replacement-level goaltending is that for the time it's needed, it can be good enough.
What about Brodeur?
Let me start this off by saying that the only person I've seen actually talking about this outside of Twitter jokes so far has been Jared Clinton of The Hockey News, and he shot it down as stupid too. I just want to get out in front of this because the concept of arguing for this trade makes me angry and writing about how stupid it is makes me less angry.
The people clamoring for Brodeur to be the savior of the Wings haven't paid attention to Marty Brodeur since we were in years that people called "the aughts." In 190 games for Brodeur since the 2010-11 season started, he's put up a save percentage of .904. In simpler terms, that is bad. In simpler and more-vulgar terms, that is wormshit.
It's possible that Marty Brodeur regains the form he had back when he was simply considered out of shape instead of both out of shape and washed up, but the thought of trading for that gamble makes me want to toss a handful of bullet ants down the front of my pants and dance Gangnam style until I can no longer move.
The only way a trade for Brodeur is anything other than a fury-generating shitstorm is if it's a stupid trade that involves Kindl and Gustavsson going for Brodeur and Pietrangelo (if you're a Blues fan choking on either your inferior beer or pizza after reading those terms, good. I wanted you to feel how the idea of this trade makes me feel)
If Howard remains the only goaltender injury for the Wings going forward for the next 1.5-2 months, then Detroit should be well-positioned in net. Making a trade for a goaltender because of a short-term injury like this is not what they need. Not while the blueline remains as it is.