It was pretty clear if you were to poll Detroit Red Wings fans in August and September about who the number one goalie was. Ville Husso was the Red Wings' primary option. James Reimer was the capable backup, and Alex Lyon was the intriguing third name in the mix.
Now, the Detroit Red Wings' primary goalie is Alex Lyon, and it's Lyon's net to lose. Meanwhile, Ville Husso has been battling injuries for the Red Wings, forcing him to miss a good chunk of the first half. Sure, when the Red Wings opened up the season red-hot, Husso was between the pipes for them, but he was not always amazing.
The Red Wings had to outscore some opponents in high-scoring games, which is a problem with Husso between the crease. I'm not here to blow the whistle on Husso or suggest his time is done, but it sure seems like Lyon has been better.
That's Lyon's net, and when the second half opens up, Husso needs to start as second-fiddle to Lyon. Husso can still play a role with this team, but as he returns from injury, there's no reason to throw him in there and strip Lyon of his starting job.
Detroit Red Wings Ville Husso needs to be better.
Injuries happen, and I can understand that. A lower-body injury that looked like he pulled his groin, hyper-extended his leg, or just hurt himself while extending to make a save is no fun. The injury happened in mid-December, and he has not played an NHL game since.
He finally got his chance in a Grand Rapids Griffins game for an AHL conditioning start, but Husso still has not returned to the NHL roster for a game, seemingly injuring himself once again during a Red Wings practice before the All-Star Break. That is not exactly good news for Detroit.
Husso has played just 18 games for the Red Wings in 2023-24, with a 9-5-2 record. He has posted a 3.53 goals-against average (GAA) and a .893 save percentage (SV%). While he has a winning record and wins put points on the board for the playoff races, the 3.53 GAA is really concerning.
The offense has been able to bail out Husso, but it's got to be a cause for concern with Husso's level of play. The durability has been a question in the past and has come into question again. In 2022-23, his season was ended early due to injury.
Detroit's trust in Husso as a future goalie with this team has to have dwindled, at least slightly. There are other goalies in the system who are exciting, like Sebastian Cossa. Then Lyon has been great this year, but Husso's looking more and more questionable.
Husso has been in net for nine wins and two overtime losses, helping Detroit put 20 points on the board for their season total. He deserves some credit for that, but overall, there's just a lot of room to improve and be better. The injuries have set him back, and he has plenty to prove down the stretch.
The Red Wings should be expecting more from Husso. Spotting the other team three-plus goals a game on average does not bode well for long-term success. Husso has to iron things out with the Red Wings, and right now, Lyon owns that net, and rightfully so.