Joey MacDonald Re-Signing May Pave Way for Chris Osgood Return

Pittsburgh Penguins Chris Conner (18) scores on a penalty shot against goalie (31) in the first period of their NHL hockey game in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania January 18, 2011. REUTERS/Jason Cohn (UNITED STATES – Tags: SPORT ICE HOCKEY)

Joey MacDonald re-signed with the Detroit Red Wings on Monday, helping to solidify the team’s goaltending situation behind starter Jimmy Howard. The Detroit Free Press‘ Helene St. James reported that MacDonald’s deal is a two-year, two-way contract worth $550,000 for this next season, with a cap hit of just $105,000 if he stays in Grand Rapids.

MacDonald reportedly wanted to find a one-way deal — meaning a team’s on the hook for a player’s full salary regardless of where he plays — and considered going overseas for the 2011-12 season. Instead, he’ll again provide insurance in Detroit’s net.

The 31-year-old MacDonald started last season with the Griffins,
but came up to the parent club after suffered an injury.
He stayed with the Wings for the remainder of the year, playing in 15 games and starting nine, with a 5-5-3 record and a 2.58 goals-against average.

“He’s going to be our third guy,” general manager Ken Holland said, according to St. James. “He had some options in Europe but he wanted to stay in North America. He did a nice job for us when called up.”

MacDonald’s re-signing also increases the possibility that Detroit will bring back Chris Osgood. Holland has put off a decision on the Red Wings’ backup goalie job pending a discussion with Osgood, and the veteran netminder has made it clear that he’d like to play one more season.

Osgood’s health was a major concern for Holland — he had surgeries for a sports hernia and a groin injury last year — but MacDonald may be a strong enough safety net for the Wings GM to be comfortable. There are still some veteran free-agent goalies on the market, most notably former Red Wing Ty Conklin, who’s repeatedly been linked to Detroit’s No. 2 job.

However, Holland’s hesitancy at hitting the market for a backup seemed to indicate that the Red Wings would give Osgood every chance to prove he’s healthy. Ideally, Detroit would like to keep MacDonald as its No. 3 guy and an emergency option, but his return and small cap hit make him a more-than-viable candidate to jump up if need be.

And that very well could mean another year of a Howard-Osgood-MacDonald goaltending trifecta.

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