This morning, the Detroit Red Wings agreed to terms with 31 year old Joey MacDonald on a deal that will keep him in the Red Wings organization for the next two years. The 6′, 197 pound goaltender from Nova Scotia served his second tour of duty with the Red Wings last year. He originally signed as an undrafted free agent in 2002, and split time as the Grand Rapids Griffins goaltender with Jimmy Howard and Drew MacIntyre.
He posted a career best .917 save percentage and 2.58 GAA this season in 15 appearances for the Wings.
Since being claimed off of waivers by the Boston Bruins in February, 2007, MacDonald has also played in the Islanders and Leafs organizations. He has played in 83 NHL games in his career, as well as more than 200 AHL games. MacDonald is the Griffins all time leader in shutouts, wins and save percentage.
There are no details currently known about the contract, other than it being a two year deal. That is significant, because if it is a two-way deal, the Wings may be intending on still adding another goalie and sending MacDonald to Grand Rapids to continue to mentor Pearce and McCollum.
If it’s a one way deal, then we can basically assume he will be the full-time backup.
If it is in fact a two-way deal, the options that still remain are: Ty Conklin, Chris Osgood and Daniel Larsson.
The Wings may be scared off by Conklin’s sub-par numbers from a year ago, but he could very well still be in the mix. If they signed him, one would think that he and MacDonald would have to battle it out for the backup job out of training camp, with the other on waivers headed to Grand Rapids.
If Osgood, upon returning from Scotland and speaking with Ken Holland, is certain he can play this year, and is offered a contract, then he would become the primary backup. MacDonald would then be on his way to the Griffins.
Finally, if the Wings can convince Larsson to come over from his starting job in Sweden with HV71 to try to win the job as Howard’s backup, he could wind up with the job. That’s the most intriguing scenario to me, because if Larsson wins the job, then MacDonald provides some depth in Grand Rapids. If MacDonald beats him for the backup spot, then Larsson just goes back to his team in Jonkoping.
Either way, there is still plenty to be decided about the Red Wings goaltending situation.
***UPDATED AT 12:18 PM EST***
Joey MacDonald’s deal is two-way, and Jim Nill has called it an insurance policy. That virtually guarantees that another goaltender (be it Osgood, Conklin, Larsson or other will be brought in).