Wings Re-sign Thomas McCollum And Andy Miele
The Red Wings have re-upped goaltender Thomas McCollum and center Andy Miele each to a 1 year extension. One of these players is a great re-signing because they're were a key to the Griffins' success last season and not only bring veteran leadership, but also a lot of goals and points; the other player is Tom McCollum.
Bringing Miele back is a fantastic move because he's an elite AHL player who brings experience, leadership, stability, and on ice production to the team. Miele led the Griffins last year with 70 points (26G, 44A) in 71 games and finished second overall in league scoring. He was 3rd on the team in goals with 26, 1st in assists with 44, 1st in power play points with 24, tied for 2nd in game-winning goals with 5, 1st in shootout goals with 3, and the 3rd best shooting percentage with 17.9%. He also finished second on the Griffins during the postseason with 14 points (3G,11A). Re-signing him was an A+ move and a great decision for the team.
Re-signing Thomas McCollum yet again is the opposite of a great decision. The Red Wings' 2008 1st round draft pick has spent all 6 years of his professional career in Grand Rapids or Toledo and is an adequate AHL goalie at best, and an infuriating waste of crease space at his worst. McCollum is sometimes a pretty good goalie, but he lets in a butt load of soft goals, is inconsistent, unpredictable, risky, and you need a really good defensive group to keep the shit from hitting the fan when he's playing. McCollum is never going to be an NHL goalie yet the Wings keep signing him to extensions to play in Grand Rapids and constantly lose the starter position to whichever goalie prospect comes through Grand Rapids.
Why is McCollum such a bad choice?
Old Tommy Boy just had the best season of his career, benefiting mightily by playing behind a stupidly good Griffins team whose defense and offense made him look better than he really was. I don't want to pull out the "he played behind a good team so his stats aren't as impressive as they appear" card, but he played behind a really good team and his stats are a lot of reflection on the team as a whole and make him appear to be better than he really was. Hey now you might say, McCollum backstopped the Griffins to the Western Conference Finals. Did you even watch the games?!?! I'd reply. McCollum routinely let in a couple terribly soft WTF goals in the playoffs, a couple times spotting the opposing team a 2 or 3 goal lead early on and then forcing the rest of the Griffins to try and overcome the deficit while trying to make sure it didn't become greater.
Over and over again I heard him praised for not letting those early soft goals take him out of the game, and for bouncing back and "shutting the door" for the rest of the game. Well guess what. If he didn't crap himself early on, he wouldn't need to bounce back or give his team a chance to try and score 4 goals against the best defensive team in the league. A lot of people like Tom McCollum and that's cool, he's a nice kid who has a good heart and does a lot of work in the community. There's a reason he hadn't started a playoff game in his AHL career before this year, and frankyl I would have started Jared Coreau.
What does this mean for prospect goalies?
Right now McCollum's the de facto starter in Grand Rapids, despite not having much more "developing" to do, at this point he is what he is and that's that. Jared Coreau is a developing goalie who still has the potential to be an NHL goalie and based on his play last season he should be the starter next season, but I doubt that happens with McCollum still there.
I'm just tired of dealing with McCollum's inconsistency, back breaking soft goals, terrible puck handling decisions, and disappointment. It's time for the Wings to move on from a player they know is never going to be NHL caliber. Coreau should be the starter in Grand Rapids, and either bring in an AHL backup (they're readily available) or let Jake Paterson be the backup but give him enough starts (provided he can handle it) to give him the experience and practice he needs to continue his development. Is there value in having a career AHL'er in on the Griffins who knows the team, organization, and love it? Sure, but there are better paths to go down and I wish the Wings would have taken one of those other paths. For now, the best we can hope for is that Todd Nelson plays the best goalie and doesn't default to McCollum as the starter just because he's been in GR for a million years.
At this point, McCollum could become a roadblock to other goalies who have more potential and I don't know if the Wings will cut ties with him before it becomes a significant problem. Re-signing McCollum yet again is frustrating.