Holland notes that it might be a few days before an official announcement will be made as the 29-year-old makes his way back to Sweden.
Multiple sources indicate that he’ll generate close to the $1.5 million salary cap hit he received the past two seasons in Detroit. The Detroit Free Press indicates that Gustavsson was seeking a two-year deal much like his previous contract, yet he settled for what the term the Red Wings felt comfortable with.
“The Monster” enjoyed the most successful season of his five-year NHL career in 2013-14. While his .907 save percentage lagged behind that of Petr Mrazek (.927) and Jimmy Howard (.910), Gustavsson managed a 16-5-4 record in 27 games played. For all the talk about luck, it’s not as if he looks bad in every individual light; Gustavsson’s even-strength save percentage (.915) was nearly identical to Mrazek’s (.914) and Howard’s (.919).
Mrazek, 22, seems like he has a strong chance to be in Detroit’s long-term plans as either a backup or an eventual threat to their 30-year-old franchise guy Howard. Gustavsson likely serves as a stopgap/insurance policy, which prompted some criticism from Red Wings blog Winging it in Motown:
Personally, I don’t see this move as being most-beneficial. I think the Wings would be better served to have Petr Mrazek backing up/challenging Jimmy Howard next season full time. I’m glad that it’s only one year for Gustavsson, but it’s one year where he’s going to be chewing up more cap space than Mrazek by $1M or more. It’s also important to note that Petr Mrazek is set to be a restricted free agent next summer.
Then again, considering the fact that Howard was limited to 51 regular season appearances in 2013-14, there’s always the chance that both Mrazek and Gustavsson will get some reps next season … even if that’s not really the ideal scenario for Detroit.
(H/T to Rotoworld.)