3 areas the Detroit Red Wings need to focus on improving this summer

Following what feels like a heartbreaking ending to a roller coaster-like season, the Detroit Red Wings have work to do to improve in three specific areas this summer.
Minas Panagiotakis/GettyImages
4 of 4

The Detroit Red Wings need to address their goaltending situation this summer.

If the Detroit Red Wings genuinely hope to take the next step next season, they must find a true No. 1 netminder. Alex Lyon began the year as the Red Wings' third option but was elevated to the starter role when Ville Husso went down with the first of many lower-body injuries this year. Lyon proved to be a workhorse and was a big reason why the Red Wings were the second-best team through January and February.

Although he's quickly become beloved among Red Wings fans, as the year went on and the pressure built, Lyon proved to be what he is: an NHL backup goalie. When he was on, he was playing at an elite level, but when he was off, as he was most of March and April, he was allowing what seemed like five goals a night. Lyon has one year remaining at a very team-friendly $900,000 for next season and will have a role on the Red Wings. He finished the year with a 21-18-5 record, sporting a 3.05 goals-against average paired with a .904 save percentage. Through March and April, Lyon went 3-9-3 with a .889 save percentage. That type of play with the season on the line won't work.

On the biggest night of the year, the Detroit Red Wings turned to another backup goaltender in James Reimer. Reimer, 36, won't likely be back in Detroit next season, but he played ok in his 25 games this past season, at least well enough to earn a backup spot somewhere, but he shouldn't be counted on to shoulder the load. Reimer posted a 3.11 goals against average and a .904 save percentage this past season.

The biggest question remains: What will the Detroit Red Wings get from Husso moving forward?

Husso was sidelined with a lower-body injury in December and then provided the Red Wings with about eight minutes of play this past February before reinjuring his lower body. Still, it was reported to be a different injury from the one sustained in December. Then, just last week, on a conditioning stint with the Grand Rapids Griffins, he suffered a setback in his rehab and could not make an appearance. Don't forget, he was shut down last season with a lower-body injury but also suffered from mental fatigue, as it was the first time he served as a No.1 goaltender.

This season, Husso provided the Red Wings with a 9-5-2 record, backed by a subpar 3.55 goals against average and .892 save percentage.

If the Red Wings looked to make a blockbuster move at the position, adding Jacob Markstrom would be a great addition. The Calgary Flames are entering a rebuild, and Markstrom has two years remaining at $6 million per season. The problem is that Detroit would need to entice the Flames to take Husso and his $4.75 million the other way. That could be done by adding additional compensation to the deal in the way of a prospect or better draft pick package. Markstrom went 23-23-2 this past year in Calgary with a 2.78 goals-against average and a .905 save percentage. Markstrom paired with Lyon next season would be a significant upgrade over this past year, plus it buys top prospect Sebastian Cossa another season in Grand Rapids.

The following year, Lyon will become a free agent and could be replaced in Detroit by Cossa. The battery of Cossa and Markstrom for a season would be a great way to break in a rookie netminder.