Kukla's Korner

Abel to Yzerman

Available UFA Goalies

from Ted Kulfan of the Detroit News,

Here are some potential unrestricted free-agent goaltenders who could interest the Wings:

Braden Holtby, Washington
2019-20 stats:
25-14-6 record, 3.11 goals-against average, .897 save percentage

Cap hit: $6.1 million

Analysis: Holtby, 30, is a Stanley Cup-winning goaltender, but his play hasn’t been at that same caliber over the last two seasons (including this one). The Capitals appear comfortable letting Holtby walk, and it’ll be interesting where he lands. It may not be in Detroit, though, because Holtby might want a team closer to championship-caliber.

Anton Khudobin has posted a 2.42 goals-against average and .926 save percentage during his two seasons with the Dallas Stars.
Anton Khudobin has posted a 2.42 goals-against average and .926 save percentage during his two seasons with the Dallas Stars. (Photo: Frank Franklin II, Associated Press)

Anton Khudobin, Dallas
2019-20 stats:
16-8-4, 2.22 GAA, .930 SVS

Cap hit: $2.5 million

Analysis: Khudobin has had an outstanding season in Dallas, but the Stars are committed to Ben Bishop. Does Khudobin want to be a starter or is he content to be part of a tandem? Khudobin, 34, will be sought after and the Wings will be one of the teams interested.

more goalies...

Filed in: | Abel to Yzerman | Permalink



Well I would hold off.  Don’t spend money here, Steve’s got a good starter and I would use the backup position to give the 3 grand rapids guys some work.  Weaker goaltending will make the defense work harder and one can get a better evaluation of the defense and the forwards abilities to backcheck.  That would be my goal but for those who need to see the team make the playoffs next year you got to have a top rated goalie.  I would not make that decision this year, swallow another year then evaluate because Berier will go free after another year.

Posted by jhpcarrier97 on 05/20/20 at 03:30 PM ET


I’d give Khudobin a 2 year deal if he’s willing. He’s put up very good numbers for a long while (much better btw than Bernier who is absolutely not a #1 NHL goalie). I was hoping we’d sign him 2(?) years ago when he came up for free agency. Regardless, Detroit has to sign SOMEBODY before the 20-21 start. They have no one in GR who is presently positioned to play at this level, even in a backup role.

Posted by godblender on 05/20/20 at 03:44 PM ET


That also buys you some more time to see what may or may not have in your system as far as goaltending. Tell Khudobin it’s his job to lose and relegate Bernier to where he’s best suited, as a backup. Talbot has been mentioned and I can see the fit on a short term deal but he’s basically Bernier. Lehner most likely will be looking for more length and dollars than Detroit should be throwing at a FA goalie at this point. We’re going to suck for a while but you can still upgrade at a reasonable cost and give your d-corps some better support.

Posted by godblender on 05/20/20 at 03:52 PM ET

MurrayChadwick's avatar

I would use the backup position to give the 3 grand rapids guys some work. 
Posted by jhpcarrier97 on 05/20/20 at 03:30 PM ET

Bernier who is absolutely not a #1 NHL goalie

Regardless, Detroit has to sign SOMEBODY before the 20-21 start. They have no one in GR who is presently positioned to play at this level, even in a backup role.

Posted by godblender on 05/20/20 at 03:44 PM ET

Bernier was pretty damn good down the stretch in front of a weak D-Core and no scoring support.  He has proven to be streaky though, but I would not kick and scream if we went into a shortened season with him as a starter, or backup.

Either way, I do agree that we have nobody ready to be a back up, and in a shortened season, no way we can take that risk, might be playing 4-5 games a week, you can’t toss some rookie in there and marshmallow roast his confidence, or loose the team.

Posted by MurrayChadwick from YzerGod's pixie dust fueled bandwagon on 05/20/20 at 04:54 PM ET


Granted they will see a lot of rubber, but these young guys want the work and there is always the option to pull a young guy out of the game if Bernier is sitting on the bench.  You may also want to calculate the equation that whoever is in net will see a lot of rubber, Bernier or you high price UFA, both with secure contracts and easily sidelined (injured)  to escape or rest.  Do you want to see 6M sitting in the stands with a sore groin like Mr. Howard?

Posted by jhpcarrier97 on 05/20/20 at 05:19 PM ET

Hootinani's avatar

Bernier has earned his place as the starter, especially going into a season where the Wings are again not expected to be competitive.  If Khudobin is willing to work for average salary and in a tandom, snag him up.  If not, any stop gap will do.

Bernier may not steal many (any?) games for the team, but hes rarely going to outright lose one either.  And steady works for now.

Posted by Hootinani from the parade following Babs out of town on 05/20/20 at 05:50 PM ET


Well I would hold off.

And carry just one goalie?

An interesting strategy, Cotton. Let’s see if it pays off.

Posted by BaromirBragr on 05/20/20 at 06:21 PM ET

Alan's avatar

I wouldn’t say no to Khudobin, even at a slight increase of salary ($3m) for a few years. Else, I’d pass on them all and just play someone from the minors in backup this coming season.

Posted by Alan from Atlanta on 05/20/20 at 08:04 PM ET


We badly need a legit 1B/2A type to platoon with Bernier.
As others have mentioned, a condensed schedule makes it even
more important to have two effective goalies. And the league has been
moving to needing and using two for awhile.

Maybe the front office guys have some sense of what
Bernier and his representation might be looking for following the coming season
(assuming a similar quality of play from him). Does he want to stay in Detroit and
embrace the challenge of being first up among two experienced goalies, for a team likely to be out of the playoffs and well out of contention for some time?

Agreed, that it doesn’t make sense to throw a bunch of money and term to try and lure a guy to play for a rebuilding team. A like Holtby strikes me as somewhat of a risk. Lehner is intriguing, but we aren’t at the stage of knowing whom to commit to.
What we need is two steady options. Not only could one guy get hurt, but in order for our young defenseman in particular to grow it doesn’t help to have a siege behind them. They are going to need the structure and confidence they can play their position and not worry any mistake will end up in their net. They need the confidence to play their position and make plays with the puck. Last thing we need is guys running around trying to play someone else’s position - or so afraid they play an ultra-cautious style.

We don’t want or need a goalie in the short term who is going to distort our record by standing on his head most nights. We want a solid tandem the skaters can grow in front of.

Posted by lefty.30 on 05/21/20 at 01:46 AM ET


Sieve not siege. A siege is what the goalie doesn’t want.

Posted by lefty.30 on 05/21/20 at 01:48 AM ET


I find these articles so uninspiring….
Alas, Khudodin or Talbot would both be ok for a 1a 1b type deal… but quite a bit of money tied up. 
What they SHOULD be doing, IMHO, is finding that guy, on a team, that has more than one guy…. making a trade.  We’ve talked about the Rangers before, getting one of their young guys, and Im sure there are others.  How Toronto got Anderson.  Unless they have a lot of faith that one of their prospects will be the guy in 2 or 3 years assuming we are ready to start competing.

There are very few stud goaltenders that are consistently amazing year after year.  You just need someone that won’t crap the bed and can go on streaks.  The scouts need to be identifying guys that we can trade for.  They can share the load with Bernier for now to not ruin them and then be the guy in a few years…

I’d love to see these writers write more creative, thoughtful pieces along those lines than just re-gurgitate a UFA list with brief superficial analysis.

Posted by DieByTheWing on 05/21/20 at 10:02 AM ET


I can’t imagine why Yzerman would trade assets for a young goalie when he’s trying to rebuild and as an alternative he can sign a goalie for nothing but money.

Posted by BaromirBragr on 05/21/20 at 11:13 AM ET


Not too many teams win a cup signing a goalie…. not saying it’s not doable, but those guys rarely come up in free agency.

The key to do that was when you had tradeable assets before starting your rebuild, but we missed that boat.

Look at teams now:

Toronto -> Traded for theirs
Tampa -> Drafted (and managed to trade away the other (or did he leave in free agency, I think he was traded)
Boston - Trade
Montreal - Draft
Colorado - trades
Penguins - Draft
Washington - Draft
St.Louis - Draft
Winnipeg - Draft
Nashville - Draft

Teams that have continually struggled with good teams but not good enough goaltending
San Jose - Signings (some drafting)
Edmonton - Signings
Buffalo - Signings

Even Pho, who arguably is not that good, but got GREAT goaltending the last 2 years… were both under the radar acquisitions. (I think)

If you can’t draft one (primary route), you have to trade for a potential starter earlier.  How many legit consistently good starters have come up in free agency?

Posted by DieByTheWing on 05/21/20 at 11:30 AM ET

ilovehomers's avatar

Not too many teams win a cup signing a goalie

I have parroted this for a while now, but the trend continues, as in the last few years its been: Pitt (Fleury/Murray), Capitals (Holtby), and Blues (Binnington).

Granted, that’s not the stage that the Wings are at now, but still a trend not going away.

Posted by ilovehomers on 05/21/20 at 12:52 PM ET


Well there are fans and there are managers.  If you write as a fan you don’t really care how its done as long as the team wins.  But as a manager, like Steve, your job is to rebuild.  Steve I think is a combination guy, Holland was a UFA guy who tried to drag out and maintain a playoff team, he knew he would be gone when the team tanked.  I’m not impressed with who Steve has added so far but the draft numbers are looking up.  I believe the players ass. has some requirements for goalies to start. Bernier + someone signed to backup, could be a rookie on min. salary but you can call up send down with waivers if needed.  Not completely sure of the stipulations regarding using prospects to get experience in the back up role.  Have to watch out for the agreement, was it Buffalo who got into goalie problems last year with injuries, or Carolina?  Or we could just use the Zamboni driver!!!

Posted by jhpcarrier97 on 05/21/20 at 01:07 PM ET


Exactly jhp.

I’m ok with a combo, which I’d agree with that Yzerman is, signing a goalie short term is fine, cause you are right we don’t need one now, but you need to start identifying them.  If they become available via trade, you have to do it.  You don’t want to end up like Carolina, a great young team screwed by your goaltending, or Philly was for so many years, or Colorado has had ups and downs with a great team…. etc.  Signing some cast off or older formerly good goalie when this team gets good isn’t going to cut it.  Hopefully one of our guys we’ve drafted keeps progressing, or we draft one this year or we trade.  Rebuild or not, trading one young asset or medium aged asset for a young asset, is still rebuilding, just changing what you have in the cupboard. 

Posted by DieByTheWing on 05/22/20 at 10:31 AM ET

Add a Comment

Please limit embedded image or media size to 575 pixels wide.

Add your own avatar by joining Kukla's Korner, or logging in and uploading one in your member control panel.

Captchas bug you? Join KK or log in and you won't have to bother.


Notify me of follow-up comments?


Most Recent Blog Posts

About Abel to Yzerman

Welcome to Abel to Yzerman, a Red Wing blog since 1977.  No other site on the internet has better-researched, fact-laden and better prepared discussions than A2Y.  Re-phrase: we do little research, find facts and stats highly overrated and claim little to no preparation.  There are 19 readers of A2Y. No more, no less. All of them, except maybe one, are juvenile in nature.  Reminding them of that in the comment section will only encourage them to prove that. Your suggestions and critiques are welcome: wphoulihan@gmail.com