Red Wings: How Should Yzerman Handle Goalie Situation?

Explaining how the Detroit Red Wings should handle the goalie position this offseason.

The Detroit Red Wings need a goaltender next season.

But that doesn’t mean I want them to overpay in years to get one – or even get one at all. It’s very likely we’ve seen the last of goaltender Jimmy Howard in a Red Wings uniform after a disappointing 2-23-2 record with 4.20 GAA, .882 save percentage and expiring contract.

To me, he fell short of the expectations placed on him as a franchise goaltender after failing to lead the team to a Stanley Cup as the lead goalie – despite winning one in 2008 when Dominik Hasek manned the pipes.

Regardless of failed expectations or not, Howard did an OK job in Detroit and stabilized the position for many years, and for that, I thank him.

Moving forward, with Jonathan Bernier standing on his head this season, despite average stats (you try playing behind that defense), he’ll be the starter next season. He’s signed next season at a reasonable $3 million (per CapFriendly.com), is familiar with the team and will be a good holdover until the future comes along.

That’s the question, though. Who’s next? Detroit Free Press writer Helene St. James aimed to make sense of it all in a recent Detroit Free Press article, and I’m here to analyze it further.

She throws out names like Braden Holtby and Robin Lehner as long-term options, and what I’d assume are backup options like Cam Talbot, Jaroslav Halak, Anton Khudobin and more.

My thoughts: The Red Wings aren’t in contention next season to justify a signing of Holtby or Lehner,  and if Talbot, Halak, Khudobin or other veterans are signed for more than one year, I won’t be happy about it. Yes, that means even a two-year deal because that signifies an extended process fans won’t like.

In 2021, Jordan Binnington, Frederik Andersen, Pekka Rinne, Tuukka Rask, Henrik Lundqvist and even old friend Petr Mrazek are free agents according to Spotrac.com.

Will Rask, Lundqvist or any of the above for that matter want to come to Detroit in 2021? Probably not. But what we’re seeing in 2020 is that anything is possible, including the postponement of an entire season.

Steve Yzerman gets this, and I’m hopeful he’ll sign a serviceable No. 2 for one season and reevaluate the position in 2021, when the team may or may not be better suited for a championship-winning netminder.