Will the Red Wings Need a New Backup Goalie in 2022-23?

BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS - NOVEMBER 04: Curtis Lazar #20 of the Boston Bruins takes a shot against Thomas Greiss #29 of the Detroit Red Wings during the third period at TD Garden on November 04, 2021 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS - NOVEMBER 04: Curtis Lazar #20 of the Boston Bruins takes a shot against Thomas Greiss #29 of the Detroit Red Wings during the third period at TD Garden on November 04, 2021 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images) /
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A surprising amount of the Detroit Red Wings offseason was dedicated to bolstering the organization’s goalie pool. Steve Yzerman acquired Sebastian Cossa, the goalie of the future, in the first round of the draft, and he shipped away Jonathan Bernier and a draft pick to secure an above average netminder for this season.

What didn’t change was Thomas Greiss‘ role as the backup.

Last year, Greiss took a backseat to Detroit’s starter, Jonathan Bernier. While he was the backup, Greiss was not just mediocre, he was bad. Through the first two months of the season, he had just one win to 11 losses, holding a .883 save percentage.

However, an injury to Bernier gave Greiss the chance to become Detroit’s #1 netminder. He took the role and ran with it , doing a complete 180 on the season. Greiss finished strong, pushing his save percentage above .900 and occasionally standing on his head to power the Wings to undeserved wins. His save percentage in April was an incredible .947.

Greiss can occasionally step up and protect the crease valiantly. He proved that time and time again near the end of the 2020-21 season. The problem is, he’s just too streaky. You can get a fantastic performance or a stinker, just depending on what he’s feeling that night. That’s often the case for goaltenders, but it’s especially evident with Greiss. When he’s not consistently the starter, he can’t find consistency in his game. That is not a good quality to have in a backup goaltender.

Detroit doesn’t need to go out and spend big money on a top tier goalie. With Nedeljkovic as the starter and Cossa down the pipeline, goaltender is no longer a major organizational need. However, It wouldn’t hurt to go out and sign a quality backup that’ll give the team confidence in the net when Nedeljkovic needs a break.