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.
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.