Caputo discusses the Wings’ goaltending pipeline

The Red Wings have a solid number of goaltending prospects, but with the crop is in flux right now as Patrik Rybar and Kaden Fulcher may or may not be ready for prime time, Joren van Pottelberghe is still finding his way in Switzerland, and Keith Petruzzelli and Filip Larsson are a little further away as they take the college route.

Given the departure of Matej Machovsky and the likely departures of Jared Coreau and Tom McCollum, the Oakland Press’s Pat Caputo suggests that the Wings aren’t deep enough at the goaltending position to find a successor for Jimmy Howard (never mind a back-up). As such…

At minimum, Red Wings’ general manager Ken Holland has to address goalie during the off season for a backup to Howard. And it’s a position the Red Wings should consider in the draft. Goalies, oddly, have become the most-undervalued position in the NHL Draft – despite ultimately being the most important aspect of any team.

For the record, the most highly-rated goalies in this draft are Jakub Skarek (Czech Republic), Justus Annunen (Finland), Olaf Lindbom (Sweden) and Alexis Gravel (Halifax in Quebec Major Junior League).

I know, it doesn’t mean a lot. Just names. Annunen seems to have the most promise, I would think. He is the biggest (6-4) and was the most consistent at various tournaments in the last calendar year, including the Five Nations in Plymouth.

But don’t be surprised if the Red Wings take flyer on a goalie.

They need to develop one.

Caputo continues, and I’m not too concerned with the Wings’ goaltending crop given the long developmental path that goaltenders tend to take, but I do agree with Caputo’s gist–that it would be a little easier to sleep at night if an obvious successor for Howard emerged.

For the next year or two, it appears that the Wings will stick with Howard as their #1 goaltender and import a mid-range back-up, perhaps also importing a veteran or two to stock the Griffins and Walleye.

The truth of the matter, as Caputo suggests, is that the Wings need to work very hard to develop a goaltender out of the prospects already in the organization (and whoever they draft this June), and that’s where goaltending coaches Jeff Salajko and Brian Mahoney-Wilson come into play.

Update: Speaking of goaltending, via Kukla’s Korner, the New York Post’s Larry Brooks offers this:

It wouldn’t surprise me if the Islanders go after Detroit goaltender Jimmy Howard, who has one year at just under $5.92 million remaining on his contract, rather than yield a No. 1 to get Washington backup Philipp Grubauer.

I doubt it. The Wings need to find someone who can step in for Howard before they move Howard.

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George Malik

My name is George Malik, and I'm the Malik Report's editor/blogger/poster. I have been blogging about the Red Wings since 2006, when MLive hired me to work their SlapShots blog, and I joined Kukla's Korner in 2011 as The Malik Report. I'm starting The Malik Report as a stand-alone site, hoping that having my readers fund the website is indeed the way to go to build a better community and create better content.

2 thoughts on “Caputo discusses the Wings’ goaltending pipeline”

  1. Actually, they are rebuilding and can easily sign a UFA goaltender (for less money) so getting assets for Howard, if this is true, is the smart route to take.


  2. I agree with Chris. There are options to have a stop gap until one of our guys is ready. Could easily employ a neuvirth/Elliott type situation that eases the cap, creates competition, and hopefully higher level of play pending the defense. Wings just have to make themselves vulnerable at first.

    Go into free agency with a clean goalie slate. Don’t over pay for a starter. Find a bargain deal, and that may mean waiting a week for a guy who was expecting a better deal. Less money, but a chance to start.

    Besides, we could save some money with all of our pending RFAs.

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