Option two for the Detroit Red Wings: Look Within The System
The Grand Rapids Griffins struggled nearly all year, and the goaltending was no different. When Nedelkovic was not sent down to play with the Griffins and tried to work out of his funk of poor play that he seemed to be stuck in, Brattstrom and Bednard were also less than inspiring. Conventional thought in the NHL is to call up a goalie from the AHL to make the next logical step in the competition.
In Detroit’s case, this would be a mistake. Nedelkovic was clearly the most talented netminder that had played in Grand Rapids, and that experiment has run its course. Would taking a look toward Toledo in the ECHL be too outlandish? Probably. But Sebastian Cossa is unlikely to see full-time NHL action next season, even with his recent success in the Kelly Cup playoffs. He is expected to be conditioned and over-ripened before being brought up to the show.
Steve Yzerman put a lot of draft capital into acquiring his future goalie to potentially make the Detroit Red Wings a cup contender again. He will not be rushed into that role until he has accomplished everything else on the table for him. Cossa will demand the net in the AHL for 2024.
However, John Lethemon has had equally as impressive of a season as Cossa in dominating their opposition. Only losing one game in regulation all season with the Walleye and winning the Nick Vitucci Goaltender of the Year Award, Lethemon offers a bit of unknown, which at the very least, is more enticing than the known commodities of Hellberg and Nedelkovic.
If Lethemon can keep his play at a high level, it would be possible to give him 10-15 games in relief of Husso.