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Report: Gustavsson, Red Wings on verge of one-year deal

Jun 19, 2014, 6:01 PM EDT

Jonas Gustavsson Getty Images

It looks like the Detroit Red Wings will get their wish, as GM Ken Holland told the Detroit Free Press that it “appears we’ve agreed to a one-year deal” with goalie Jonas Gustavsson.

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.)

  1. jmcurran28 - Jun 19, 2014 at 6:17 PM

    Monster was a solid backup and won a lot of important games for us last year. There were times I felt more confident having Jonas in net instead of Jimmy. Nothing against Jimmy but with Monster playing so well last year and Mrazek knocking on the door, Howard is going to have to step it up over the next year or two.

  2. Windmiller4 - Jun 19, 2014 at 7:24 PM

    With Mrazek being an rfa next summer, this move makes perfect sense. If he were to show over a full season that he can play and play well enough to steal games from Howard then the wings will need to shell out more money for him when his current contract is up. If he spends most of the year in the minors his stock won’t rise as much as it could in the nhl and it would save the wings money on his next contract. Also it makes more sense to have him starting every game in Grand Rapids as opposed to backing up Howard.

  3. LampyB - Jun 19, 2014 at 9:02 PM

    Everyone seems to forget that Howard was lights out in 2013 playoffs and was the reason we took the Hawks to game 7 OT. He was incredible in net. He had a bad season this year. Likely to rebound.

    • jmcurran28 - Jun 19, 2014 at 9:26 PM

      I’ve never been a “Howard hater” he’s just a very streaky goalie. He’s our number 1 until somebody challenges him for his spot.

  4. snipedanglecelly13 - Jun 19, 2014 at 10:22 PM

    Mrzak > Howard

    • adamal17 - Jun 21, 2014 at 2:09 PM

      Let’s not get ahead of ourselves here…The kid has played in 12 NHL games and looked lost in a couple of those. He needs to get a little bit bigger and needs to earn the right to be on the Wings full time. I do expect him to challenge Howie in 2014/2015 for the starting job though. He has the pedigree of a stellar goalie in the making though.

  5. snipedanglecelly13 - Jun 19, 2014 at 10:23 PM

    *Mrazek

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