The Detroit Red Wings will re-sign Jonas Gustavsson to back up starting goaltender Jimmy Howard for at least one more season, reports Helene St. James of the Detroit Free Press. Free agency starts July 1, and St. James says the Red Wings’ management considered its options before settling on the status quo.
During front-office meetings earlier this month, management and team scouts debated options for the no. 2 goaltending position. One was to retain Gustavsson. Another was to add someone else via the UFA market. A third option was to consider giving the job to Petr Mrazek, the hot young prospect who has been turning heads in Grand Rapids for two years.
Gustavsson, 29, appeared in 27 games for the Red Wings in 2013-14 while backing up Howard. He played well, too, recording a 16-5-4 record, 2.63 GAA and .907 save percentage.
In fact, Gustavsson’s numbers were nearly identical to Howard, who was 21-19-11 with a 2.66 GAA and .910 save percentage over 51 games. Both goaltenders are 29 years old.
The Red Wings do appear to have their goalie-of-the-future on hand in Mrazek, a 21-year-old who made nine appearances with the team in 2013-14. He was especially good, posting a 1.74 GAA and .927 save percentage, though it’s not surprising Detroit wants to see more before handing over the job and will likely send Mrazek back to Grand Rapids this year.
As for Gustavsson’s next contract, St. James says the Red Wings want a one-year deal, while the goalie’s camp is pushing for multiple years. We’ll see which side eventually budges, but in all likelihood, the Red Wings’ goaltender situation won’t be seeing a shakeup this offseason.