Red Wings sign Thomas Greiss as NHL Free Agent goalie rush winds down

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For all the big, medium, and small names still available in 2020 NHL Free Agency, just about all of the noteworthy goalies have been snatched up. That point reverberates after the Detroit Red Wings signed Thomas Greiss to a two-year contract.

Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman reports that the contract is worth $7.2 million ($3.6M AAV), and that the Red Wings signed Griess to a back-loaded deal ($2.8M in 2020-21, $4.4M in 2021-22).

Red Wings sign Thomas Greiss off of suddenly shallow NHL free agent goalie market

Greiss, 34, just concluded his fifth season with the Islanders. He started his career as a lightly-used backup with the Sharks, then bounced to the Coyotes (2013-14) and Penguins (2014-15).

From 2015-16 and on, Greiss became a platoon asset for the Islanders. He played in 193 games, going 101-60-17 with a .915 save percentage. Greiss left a heartfelt message to Islanders fans and the organization after signing with the Red Wings:

For the Red Wings, they replace outgoing veteran goalie Jimmy Howard with Greiss. Generally speaking, Greiss has been more dependable than Howard lately, especially considering a rough 2019-20 for Howard.

That said, Greiss shined brightest playing within Barry Trotz’s stingy system. The rebuilding Red Wings are unlikely to provide a similar safety net.

Overall, Greiss’ greatest value may come from helping the Red Wings improve incrementally, and maybe even in a future trade or expansion draft maneuver. Considering that shrinking market of NHL free agent goalies, it’s a touch surprising Greiss didn’t land with a contender, but he gains some financial security for his troubles.

James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.