InGoal Magazine’s Cat Silverman filed an impressive article discussing each and every one of the NHL’s free agency signings at the goaltending position, and Silverman has this to say about the Red Wings’ signing of Calvin Pickard:
The 2018-19 season was a disappointing one for Calvin Pickard, who Toronto had hoped to sneak through waivers and instead got scooped up to join the goaltending carousel in Philadelphia. Things didn’t work out there, and he was picked up by the Arizona Coyotes to help them with their own onslaught of goaltending injuries – and ultimately, he ended up going months at a time without sniffing NHL ice.
Pickard’s promising numbers with the Avalanche and AHL Marlies in the past, though, combine with one of the most highly-lauded locker room presences in the league. So the 27-year old Manitoban was picked up on a two-year deal by the Detroit Red Wings, who gave him a combined $1.5 million to both provide some guaranteed money for the player and a reasonable $750,000 cap hit for themselves. He’ll join the Red Wings to compete with backup Jonathan Bernier for the number two spot behind Jimmy Howard and provide some insurance in case the 35-year old Jimmy Howard suffers any kind of setbacks.
At best, Pickard has proven to be a phenomenal teammate and a positive practice goaltender, but the assumption is that the Red Wings will need to use him in some capacity during the year – so don’t expect to see him go through the kind of lengthy starting dry spells this time around.