The Detroit Red Wings’ acquisition of free-agent goalie Jonas Gustavsson pretty clearly signaled the team’s desire to upgrade from Joey MacDonald as a backup. And now, with Gustavsson set to play the No. 2 role behind Jimmy Howard, MacDonald reportedly wants out of Detroit:
Goalie Joey MacDonald would like the #redwings to trade him to team where he has chance to stick on NHL roster. Makes one-way money next yr
— Andy Strickland (@andystrickland) July 2, 2012
This shouldn’t come as a huge shock to the Wings, if it’s true — MacDonald wanted a backup job in the NHL after he performed well in that role for Detroit in 2010-11, then agreed to a two-year contract with the Wings anyway prior to last season. Year One of that deal was a two-way agreement, meaning Detroit could shuttle MacDonald back and forth from Grand Rapids of the AHL as needed; Year Two upgraded MacDonald’s status to a one-way player with an NHL contract. Staying in Detroit now, with Gustavsson in tow, would mean another step back for the 32-year-old MacDonald.
Joey Mac went 8-5-1 with a sparkling 2.16 goals-against average last season, after Jimmy Howard fell to injury and Ty Conklin struggled. MacDonald was between the pipes as the Wings set the NHL record for most consecutive home victories.
A back injury, though — MacDonald’s second in two years — sidelined him late in the regular season and into the playoffs. That health issue no doubt contributed to Detroit’s desire to land Gustavsson, which the Wings did Sunday on the first day of free agency.
Given the lack of quality backup netminders league-wide, the Wings should be able to find a taker for MacDonald, if they so choose. It’s doubtful they’d get much of value back beyond a late-round pick or a player of comparable value.
But MacDonald’s reported request is just another story to keep an eye on in this summer of transition for the Wings.
(h/t: The Production Line)