The Detroit Red Wings have been reliant on netminder Ville Husso to be the team’s primary option in goal during the 2022-23 season. The team went out and acquired the 27-year-old this offseason in a trade with the St. Louis Blues.
Detroit Red Wings General Manager (GM) Steve Yzerman was working the phones before the draft and ended up flipping a third-round selection in the 2022 NHL Entry Draft in exchange for Husso. Since then, he has emerged as the team’s number one in the tandem and has settled in nicely.
The summer before, the Red Wings brought in Alex Nedeljkovic with the hope that he could be an answer for the goaltending tandem. Things ultimately did not work out as expected. Alex Nedeljkovic still has a place with the Red Wings as the backup in the tandem.
Detroit Red Wings netminder Ville Husso is exactly what Detroit needed.
When Yzerman acquired Nedeljkovic, there was some expectation that he was going to be a big piece of the puzzle. In 2021-22, Nedeljkovic played in 59 games and played to a 20-24-9 record. He ended up with a .901 save percentage (SV%) and a 3.31 goals-against average (GAA) for the Red Wings.
It has not worked out as the Red Wings were hoping for, and in 2022-23, he’s been struggling in the backup role. In eight games played, Nedeljkovic is 2-3-2 with an abysmal .880 SV% and a 3.97 GAA serving as Husso’s backup.
But the point of this piece is Husso. The expectations Nedeljkovic failed to live up to, Husso has. He has emerged as the team’s top option and gets the job done when called upon. Husso has posted an 11-4-3 record through 18 games played. The Finnish netminder has managed a .916 SV% and 2.54 GAA with three shutouts.
Yzerman has to be happy with how this has worked out for Husso in his new home. He has been an answer for a goaltending tandem in Detroit that has needed work for years. Husso has grabbed the reins and been steady.
He’s had a couple of rough games, but overall, he has lived up to expectations and been the goaltender the Red Wings have needed during the 2022-23 season. Husso gives the Red Wings a chance to compete night in and night out.
As 2022-23 continues, Husso will need some time off as he’s been relied on a lot early; it means Nedeljkovic has to try and get things figured out with his game. For the Red Wings, a steady tandem out of Husso/Nedeljkovic is only going to help them continue to be competitive.
Husso has proven he can be a primary option, and it’s precisely what the Red Wings have needed.