The Detroit Red Wings goaltending situation remains unsettled

Per Haljestam-USA TODAY Sports
Per Haljestam-USA TODAY Sports /

The Detroit Red Wings will roll with Alex Lyon in goal on Wednesday night at home, following a very disappointing trip to Sweden, which saw the Red Wings return to North America with just one point out of a possible four. Their goaltending situation remained unsettling, to say the least.

James Reimer has been Detroit’s most efficient option between the pipes this season, but it would be foolish to believe his above-average play will continue if his workload is increased. The 35-year-old netminder is best suited as a backup. Despite his robust start to the season, the last time out, he allowed three first-period goals to Ottawa and four consecutive, which forced the Red Wings to claw back from the large deficit only to fall short in overtime. That overtime goal has been mocked continuously as well. Reimer ducked as Tim Stuzle batted the puck out of the air.  Overall, Reimer is 2-2-2 with a shutout over six starts. He’s maintained a .917 save percentage along with a 2.30 goals-against average.

Ville Husso, the Detroit Red Wings projected workhorse in goal, hasn’t met expectations yet this season. Husso, 28, has given up three or more goals in nine of ten starts this season, and it’s been worse of late. He’s allowed four or more in each of his past three starts. Yikes. Is there cause for concern regarding Detroit’s top netminder? I do believe so. Husso is 6-3-1 on the year with an unimpressive .885 save percentage and an elevated 3.61 goals against average. Husso didn’t make the trip to Sweden last week as he and his family welcomed the birth of their daughter Emmi.

Alex Lyon finally gets his opportunity with the Detroit Red Wings.

With Husso unable to make the trip to Sweden, it allowed the team’s third netminder, Alex Lyon, to finally get a chance to play. When the opportunity arises in professional sports as a player, you need to grab it and run with it. There are plenty of circumstances where this has occurred, but one that sticks out in recent memory is San Francisco 49ers quarterback Brock Purdy. Purdy was the last player picked in his draft class and saw his opportunity arise when Jimmy Garoppolo and Trey Lance suffered lengthy injuries; the rest is history.

On Tuesday, Detroit Red Wings head coach Derek Lalonde mentioned that even after a few days off, the organization will look to Lyon on Wednesday night in hopes of getting things back on track.

"“All along we were confident to play him at any time,” Lalonde said of Lyon. “He proved very well for us. He looked confident.“When a goalie looks confident, when he’s stopping the puck, when he’s handling the puck, I think he brought confident into our group, hence the 2-0 lead after 40 minutes against a very good offensive team. He’ll certainly be in the conversation.”"

Lyon, 30, has only made 32 career starts at the NHL level but performed at a high level late last season for the Florida Panthers, helping them strike a playoff berth on the final day of the regular season. Lyon performed very well in Sweden against the high-powered Toronto Maple Leafs, but despite taking a 2-0 lead into the third period, the Detroit Red Wings lost 3-2. The issue wasn’t the goaltending. Lyon stood tall; it was a combination of poor special teams play and taking avoidable penalties late in the period.

Reading the tea leaves here, it doesn’t seem that Lalonde has much of a plan moving forward with his three netminders, nor should he. The Detroit Red Wings should simply be rotating all three regularly in hopes one separates themself from the group. Right now, Lyon has a great chance to do that if he can come up with another big game against the Devils.

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Goaltending across the league is at a premium, hence why the Detroit Red Wings have carried three on their active roster all season. There is no immediate help within the organization as top prospect Sebastian Cossa continues to develop in Grand Rapids with the Griffins and will not be ready to make an impact at the NHL level this season.