Last week, there were some clear lines drawn in the sand when it came to the Detroit Red Wings and their goaltending situation heading into next season. The first, is that Jimmy Howard would likely not be returning for a 15th season with the franchise.
Add another team/player to the goalie market: DET and Jimmy Howard. Howard, 36, said he was “probably not” going to continue with the Red Wings, but squashed rumours he was retiring, saying, “Someone is going to have to tell me I can’t play anymore”...— Elliotte Friedman (@FriedgeHNIC) September 20, 2020
This was to be expected considering Howard was coming off his worst statistical campaign with the Red Wings (2-23-2, 4.20 GAA and .882 SV% in 27 starts) and at 36, Steve Yzerman likely won’t retain his services at the $4-million cap hit he received last season. Where Howard lands is anyone’s guess, but it will surely be in a backup role elsewhere if he wants to continue his career in the NHL.
The second piece of news was that Steve Yzerman is reportedly in hot pursuit of signing Jacob Markstrom. Well, that is certainly something. Markstrom was instrumental in leading the Vancouver Canucks to the playoff this year, appearing in 14 of those games (8-6-0, 2.85 GAA and .919 SV%) before ultimately losing grip on the starting role to the younger Thatcher Demko.
"I'm hearing, if he goes to market, the Red Wings are looking to make a big pitch for Markstrom. I wonder if they give Markstrom his ask of $6m how it would impact others after Lehner signed for $5m in Vegas." Woodley.— Jason Gregor (@JasonGregor) September 21, 2020
The Canucks were the playoff darlings in the Western Conference, dressing a team of young rising stars, and it’s likely that Markstrom has become expendable with Demko’s emergence in net. What does this mean for the Red Wings? Well, it looks like the front office wants to secure their future between the pipes, and the 30-year-old Swede is on their radar.
Do I think this is a wise play by Yzerman? Absolutely not. Now, some of you reading this might think this could be a great signing and would solidify their goaltending situation for next year — Jonathan Bernier has one year left at a $3-million cap hit.
However, the Wings have north of $34-million in cap space heading into the offseason and will lock up RFA’s Tyler Bertuzzi and Anthony Mantha. Plus, they have one more year of Darren Helm and Valtteri Filppula under contract ($6.85M combined) and are limping to the finish line on Frans Nielsen’s contract ($5.25M through 2022). This is great news for Wings fans because Yzerman will soon be free of the Ken Holland contractual gaffes, allowing him to be a player in free agency.
Markstrom, though, is not the signing he needs to make this year. At the reported cap number in the $6M AAV range, this is a big commitment to a goalie that is already 30. Bernier was the MVP of this team throughout the year and played admirably considering the poor defensive play that skated in front of him. Should the front office bring in a goalie? Yes. But, I believe it should be short term to compete for starts with Bernier. Laurent Brossoit (WPG), Louis Domingue (VAN), Cam Talbot (CGY) and Aaron Dell (SJ) are veteran netminders available at potentially much more cost effective price tags and all four would provide short term stability for the Wings.
The play for now should be to add a placeholder veteran in net while the prospect pool continues to develop for this team. Keith Petruzzelli is entering his senior year at Quinnipiac University, Filip Larsson split time between Grand Rapids and Toledo last season, while Victor Brattstrom and Jesper Eliasson remain overseas, but could make the jump to North America in 2022. There are goaltenders in the system, and Yzerman needs to see what plays out before making an egregious play for the services of someone like Markstrom.
Now, it’s time for you guys to have your say. Should the Wings continue to pursue Markstrom, or sit tight and look for a goaltender elsewhere?
Should the Red Wings sign Jacob Markstrom?
This poll is closed
It’s a no brainer
No thanks, lets shop elsewhere