It was announced yesterday that the Detroit Red Wings have signed veteran goaltender Joey MacDonald to a new two year contract. The first year of the deal is two-way, will pay $105,000, and MacDonald will not have to go through re-entry waivers. The second year is one-way, paying $550,000, and he would have to clear re-entry waivers (reported by Ansar Khan at Mlive.com)
MacDonald emerged as a potential permanent backup for Detroit, after making 15 appearances with the team this past season. He posted a 5-5-3 record with a 2.58 GAA, .917 sv%, and one shutout. MacDonald actually had the best statistics of any of the Wings’ three goalies this season, granted he has a much smaller sample size as well.
MacDonald proved to be a bit of a saving grace in Detroit this season, after both Jimmy Howard and Chris Osgood succumbed to injuries at the same time. The Wings needed MacDonald, and he responded in a big way. Had he not been as solid as he was, the Wings would have been in some serious trouble for the handful of games that Howard was out. In today’s NHL, a handful of games can mean the difference between making the playoffs, or watching them.
MacDonald had said he likely would try to get a guaranteed backup spot, or even a starting role from another NHL or KHL team, and he did in fact receive offers from some Russian teams. However, Ansar Khan at Mlive.com reported that this new contract guarantees MacDonald an NHL salary in the second year of the deal, and that may be what convinced him to come back.
Ken Holland has said that MacDonald knows he will be the third string goalie for next season, and that he will be the starter for Grand Rapids in the AHL. This of course means Detroit is still searching for a backup for Jimmy Howard, and Holland confirmed that the team is still in talks with former Wing, Ty Conklin, to fill that role.
Holland also continues to say that he wants to speak face-to-face with veteran Chris Osgood before he makes any final decisions on the situation. Quoted from the Mlive.com piece, Holland said: “There’s a couple of guys we have an interest in in the open market and there’s Chris Osgood,” Holland said. “I want to talk to him before I make a decision.”
Conklin remains the most logical choice for the Wings, and barring some kind of unexpected trade, he looks to be the most likely to sign. If one had to speculate, this deal will probably be done by the end of this week.