Right now, it would probably be premature, but give it some time.
Gustavsson has played very well in the Red Wings’ past two games. They defeated the Boston Bruins and Columbus Blue Jackets back-to-back nights this week with Gustavsson, allowing a combined total of three goals while facing 67 shots. He’s proven himself on the road and also at home.
No. 1 goalie Jimmy Howard has been nursing a bruised left hand that he catches with, which necessitated putting Gustavsson in front of the net. He’s been incredibly impressive.
That should make the Red Wings feel good, knowing that if Howard falters, Gustavsson is right there.
But should Gustavsson get a shot at No. 1 just in case Howard has a mediocre season? Of course, they should. This is not suggesting Howard will be mediocre this year, although he is off to somewhat of a slow start. But it’s only mid-October. Howard still deserves the right to lead the way for the Wings. However, he should feel the pressure of doing well. Gustavsson, meanwhile, has had some injury problems of his own and needs to stay healthy.
Many still question if Howard can take the Wings to a Stanley Cup title. He didn’t last year, although he was still impressive in the playoffs.
But Gustavsson is playing well enough to deserve as much playing time as possible. He’s proven the Red Wings need not fear if Howard goes down for a few games. He could be a No. 1 if necessary. Eventually, that might be the case.