Goalie market shrinks again: Red Wings land Ville Husso

Goalie market shrinks again: Red Wings land Ville Husso
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Once again, the Detroit Red Wings made a splash by surprisingly getting a goalie around NHL Draft week. Last year, Detroit traded for (and eventually signed) Alex Nedeljkovic. Before Round 2 of the 2022 NHL Draft began, the Red Wings traded for Ville Husso, then signed him to a three-year contract.

The Blues at least received a third-round pick (73rd overall) rather than seeing Husso leave for nothing at all as an unrestricted free agent.

Perhaps day two of the 2022 NHL Draft will really get the goalie shuffle going, as the Devils also traded for the rights to Capitals goalie Vitek Vanecek. This post addresses that move, as well.

Red Wings trade for Ville Husso, add Boughner to coaching staff

The 2022-23 Red Wings are starting to come into greater focus.

The Red Wings confirmed the term of the Ville Husso contract as three years. Elliotte Friedman reports that Ville Husso’s salary cap hit could be $4.75 million per year.

If true, that means the Red Wings would invest $7.75M in the fairly young goalie duo of Husso (27) and Nedeljkovic (26). Of course, the Red Wings could also find a goalie-hungry team that would give up something interesting for Nedeljkovic.

Much like Nedeljkovic after getting an extended chance with the Hurricanes, Husso carries some early promise, but a pretty sparse NHL resume.

In briefly stealing the Blues’ No. 1 goalie job from Jordan Binnington, Husso went 25-7-6 with a .919 save percentage last season. This Hockey Viz captures one look at how Husso prevented more goals than expected in 2021-22:

Binnington overtook Husso during the playoffs, at least until the collision with Kadri. It was a rough postseason for Husso, as he sported a .890 save percentage in seven games.

Overall, Husso has just those seven playoff games and 57 regular-season NHL contests (40 last season, 17 in 2020-21) under his belt.

Clearly, the Red Wings are banking on his potential, and maybe they’re happy with his numbers at other levels (including the AHL).

If that $4.75M cap hit is correct, it’s not an astronomical gamble. But goalies are unpredictable, and this is a bet based on considerable faith.

In other Red Wings news, the team added to Derek Lalonde’s coaching staff. Bob Boughner serves as associate coach, while Alex Westlund will work with Husso as their new goalie coach.

This has already been a busy time for the Red Wings, as they selected Marco Kasper eighth overall during Round 1 on Thursday.

If the Blues don’t have Jordan Binnington to start the season, it could be a tough beginning of the campaign. Either way, they’ve completed quite the investment/re-investment in Binnington. Time will tell if that was the right call, or if maybe they should’ve sold high on Binnington’s playoff finish instead?

Devils trade for Vanecek

It’s been quite the year-and-change for Vitek Vanecek.

Initially, the Kraken picked Vanecek in the expansion draft. The Capitals sent Seattle a second-round pick to get Vanecek back.

Now, the Capitals once again parted ways with Vanecek. They moved up from 46 to 37, while also adding the 70th pick while the Devils gain his rights.

Vanecek, 26, has 79 NHL games under his belt. In both 2020-21 and 2021-22, Vanecek generated a .908 save percentage.

It will be interesting to see if the Devils go with a goalie duo of Vanecek and Mackenzie Blackwood. Blackwood, 25, is in the final year of a deal that carries a $2.8M cap hit. From there, he’d be set to become an RFA.

Maybe a goalie-needy team would want to take a chance on Blackwood, hoping a contract year spurs a big season?

Either way, the free agent goalie ranks keep shrinking. The Wild took Marc-Andre Fleury off the market, and now the Red Wings nabbed one of the would-be biggest names in Ville Husso.

Could more dominoes fall? Stay tuned.

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    Canucks’ Ilya Mikheyev to have season-ending knee surgery

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    VANCOUVER, British Columbia — Vancouver Canucks right wing Ilya Mikheyev is set to have season-ending surgery on his left knee.

    Canucks general manager Patrik Allvin said Friday night the 28-year-old Russian forward tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee in the team’s first preseason game Sept. 25. Mikheyev will undergo surgery next week and is expected to be ready for training camp in the fall.

    Mikheyev was originally listed as week-to-week with the injury and played 45 regular-season games, finishing with 13 goals and 15 assists. He scored in his final appearance Friday night, a 5-2 home victory over Columbus.

    Mikheyev signed a four-year, $19 million contract as a free agent last summer.

    Maple Leafs’ Matthews out at least 3 weeks with knee injury

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    Toronto Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews will miss at least three weeks with a sprained knee.

    The team announced the reigning MVP’s anticipated absence Friday, two days after Matthews was injured in Toronto’s victory against the New York Rangers.

    Matthews is expected to miss at least six games and could be out for a few more. The timing of the injury coinciding with the NHL All-Star break and the Maple Leafs bye week prevents this from costing Matthews more time out of the lineup.

    After being voted an All-Star by fans, Matthews is now out of the event scheduled for Feb. 3-4 in Sunrise, Florida. The league announced Aleskander Barkov from the host Florida Panthers will take Matthews’ place on the Atlantic Division All-Star roster.

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    Caufield opted for surgery with Habs out of playoff race

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    MONTREAL — Montreal Canadiens winger Cole Caufield said Friday he wouldn’t be having season-ending surgery on his right shoulder if the team were in playoff contention.

    But with the Canadiens near the bottom of the Eastern Conference standings, the 22-year-old Caufield said he decided to have the surgery to protect his long-term health. The procedure is scheduled to be performed by Dr. Peter Millett on Wednesday.

    “I didn’t want to stop playing,” Caufield said. “I had a couple tests done to look at it more clearly but, in the end, like it could’ve been one more fall and it could have been even worse.”

    Caufield, who leads the Canadiens with 26 goals in 46 games, had three different medical opinions on his shoulder before concluding that his season was over.

    “I think they’ve seen a lot more than I have and they know the differences and what they like or don’t like about it,” he said about the medical opinions. “Long term, I think this is what’s best but for sure it was tough to sit out that game against Toronto on Saturday night.”

    Caufield initially felt the injury in an awkward fall during Montreal’s 4-2 loss at Dallas on Dec. 23. He said his right shoulder popped, and he replaced it himself.

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    All-Star Matty Beniers to miss next 2 games for Kraken

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    SEATTLE — Seattle Kraken rookie All-Star Matty Beniers will miss the team’s final two games before the All-Star break after taking a big hit from Vancouver’s Tyler Myers earlier this week.

    Seattle coach Dave Hakstol said after morning skate Friday that Beniers would not play Friday night against Calgary or Saturday against Columbus. Hakstol did not speculate on Beniers’ availability for next weekend’s All-Star Game in Florida.

    The team has not specified what kind of injury Beniers sustained from the hit. He was barreled over by Myers away from the play early in the second period in Wednesday’s 6-1 victory over Vancouver. Myers was penalized for interference on the play. Beniers returned briefly for one shift later in the period but did not play in the third period.

    Beniers is Seattle’s lone All-Star selection this season. He leads all rookies in goals (17) and points (36), and is fifth in total ice time for rookies.

    Seattle also placed defenseman Justin Schultz on injured reserve and recalled forward Max McCormick from Coachella Valley of the AHL. Hakstol said Schultz is improving but there’s no timeline on his return.