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The Malik Report

Do You Want Jonas Gustavsson Back?

from Bob Duff of the Windsor Star,

Were it merely a question of ability, then there would be no question that the Detroit Red Wings would want Jonas Gustavsson back in their net next season.

“Gus got half our wins this year,” Detroit coach Mike Babcock said of Gustavsson, the team’s back-up goaltender, about to become an unrestricted free agent when his contract expires on July 1.

The concern with Gustavsson is whether he can stay healthy enough to be a reliable option behind No. 1 goalie Jimmy Howard. He was out of the lineup on five separate occasions this season for a total of 23 games.

“It’s been a lot of injuries,” Gustavsson acknowledged. “You don’t want to have those for yourself and for your team.

continued

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Comments

awould's avatar

Gus won half the games because Howard was also injured. If Howard is the starter, which he is, it makes sense to exercise a lot of caution on who is backing him up, injury-wise.

Posted by awould on 04/30/14 at 05:41 PM ET

Red Winger's avatar

at this point I don’t see a lot of difference between Jimmy and Gus.

Posted by Red Winger from Sault Ste Marie on 04/30/14 at 05:49 PM ET

harken23's avatar

Bring up Mrazek and let him push Howard for the #1 job.

Posted by harken23 on 04/30/14 at 06:11 PM ET

Chet's avatar

exactly.

they need to promote mrazek to the 1B role. if he can handle near-tandem duty with howard in terms of work load and health, it’ll be interesting to see how howard handles that competition.

if he handles it poorly, they need to make mrazek the starter, moving howard at the 2015 deadline while they can still get something decent for him. there is no reason to keep two no. 1 goalies around (see: vancouver), and howard, ultimately, should be the 1B here.

Posted by Chet from twitter: thegansen on 04/30/14 at 06:12 PM ET

bigdee89's avatar

at this point I don’t see a lot of difference between Jimmy and Gus.

Ouch.  Jimmy had a rough year but based on the year before you have to think he’s a better option than Gus.  Gus had a lot of good games and some amazing saves (see the one that was nominated as play of the year?) but his style is very floppy, desperate and slides out of position often.  I think his size and a lot of luck save his mistakes.

If he’s affordable ($1M) than he’s worth it.  Anything more and you’re overpaying.  Based on his stats he will probably be asking for $2M plus.

I say roll Mrazek as backup.  He will push Jimmy and eventually challenge for more starts.  It’s been a few years since we had 2 solid goalie options (2008?).

Posted by bigdee89 from The Great White North Eh? on 04/30/14 at 06:16 PM ET

Hootinani's avatar

Bring up Mrazek and let him push Howard for the #1 job.

Posted by harken23 on 04/30/14 at 06:11 PM ET

Agreed.  Promote Paterson to the Griffs, who has nothing left to prove in the OHL, give McCollum another shot, bring Mrazek up to the Wings and give him 30 starts, and maybe draft another goalie this year to pair with Coreau

Posted by Hootinani on 04/30/14 at 06:28 PM ET

Avatar

Bring up Mrazek and let him push Howard for the #1 job.

Posted by harken23 on 04/30/14 at 06:11 PM ET
I agree.  My concern is that after he gets his contract he reverts back to the Toronto monster.

Posted by guy on 04/30/14 at 06:36 PM ET

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Howard has too many fundamental flaws in his game. Going down too early, poor rebound control and he cannot handle the puck outside the crease.  He is always good for 1 soft goal per game in the playoffs and they are usually game breakers. He also has a habit of blaming his defense and not himself. So when KH says, we have a 60 games goalie here in Howard, that makes me cringe really.
I would like Mrazek to come in and fight Howard for a job and maybe play 30-35 games.
In the best case scenario, both of them will be good next year and we can trade one of them for a good return.

Posted by VPalmer on 04/30/14 at 06:36 PM ET

Hank Scorpio's avatar

If Mrazek lives up to expectations, that Howard contract will be an albatross around our neck before it’s all said and done.  I know why Holland signed him to that deal, but the term of years was excessive.

Posted by Hank Scorpio on 04/30/14 at 07:03 PM ET

RWBill's avatar

Oh yuk,  girl singing O Canada at the Griffins game forgot the words halfway through.  Paused for 10 seconds.

The US National Anthem is being botched horribly too.

Posted by RWBill from the open bar on The Hasek. on 04/30/14 at 07:10 PM ET

NIVO's avatar

i’d rather here ralph wiggum sing O’ Canada

Posted by NIVO from underpants gnome village on 04/30/14 at 07:19 PM ET

SYF's avatar

Pass-itis afflicting the Griffs PP.

Posted by SYF from the team that re-signed KFQ and DFC by KFH on 04/30/14 at 07:27 PM ET

Avatar

I know why Holland signed him to that deal, but the term of years was excessive.

And of course with NTC (or limited NTC?).
Let’s be honest here, KH is having some bad luck with all his recent signings/trades and really needs to turn it around fast.
Tootoo - even cleared waivers (nobody wanted him)
Eaves - same thing
Sammy - could not even buy him out when he wanted to
Q for 1st rounder - not good
Legwand for Jarn and second, not good
Bert - 1 year OK, but 2 years?
Cleary - in a vacuum maybe, but knowing that will put Nyquist in GR, not good
Howard - long term deal followed by a down year
E - long term deal followed by tons of injuries
Weiss - long term deal followed by basically missing the season
Alfy and Gustafsson worked out fine.

Everybody says KH is the best GM in the league, it’s time to start proving it (last good trade was Stuart, last good signing was Drake? I do not count Hossa as he basically asked to play here and DeKeyser chose to play here because he is from here).

 

Posted by VPalmer on 04/30/14 at 07:42 PM ET

SYF's avatar

Heading out, 19.  Go Griffs.

Posted by SYF from the team that re-signed KFQ and DFC by KFH on 04/30/14 at 07:49 PM ET

Chet's avatar

i’m over the idea of holland being the best GM in the league. it used to be that they could just buy free agents—no more of that under the cap. detroit was never a destination based solely on “loyalty to vets,” although that was obv. part of it and probably nowadays to a fault. it was based on the idea that we’d spend like the yankees to win cups, it’s a good place to play and win, and we’ll pay you until you can’t play anymore. in the cap world that’s a model for losing.

while he is a good goalie, i still don’t believe we can win a cup with howard, who within the next year should be gone if mrazek shows he can handle being the starter. will KH pull that trigger? who knows but i doubt it.

Posted by Chet from twitter: thegansen on 04/30/14 at 07:55 PM ET

Avatar

Nope.

I think Gustavsson, very reasonably, wants to be paid for this year’s performance and wants a gig where he can expect to share the crease and potentially take the starting job.  And he probably wants a multi-year deal.

It’s likely that he’ll have some suitors:

—Calgary
—Carolina, if they trade Ward
—Nashville (Rinne’s issues mean there’s more opportunity there)
—St. Louis, if they let Miller go and promote Allen
—maybe even Vancouver

Meanwhile Detroit is really in the market for either a guy on a one-year deal or no one at all, and likely doesn’t want to spend much on him. 

Posted by captaineclectic on 04/30/14 at 08:19 PM ET

Avatar

howard, who within the next year should be gone if mrazek shows he can handle being the starter. will KH pull that trigger? who knows but i doubt it.

As long as KH does not trade Nyquist and Tatar and a prospect and a pick for somebody like Erhoff or Edler this summer, I will be satisfied.

Posted by VPalmer on 04/30/14 at 08:22 PM ET

Avatar

I firmly believe Mrazek is capable of being a solid back-up to Howie and will get to play his fair share of games…. if given the opportunity. If so, he will start to shine and that might, in fact, be an issue for Holland and Babcock. They want Howie to be the de facto #1 and, given the size and length of his contract, I can understand that.

However, if Howie continues with his inconsistent play, it will quickly become demoralizing to the team and could result in losses that make reaching the playoffs a difficult task once again.

I don’t think Howie is going to remain the best goalie in the Wings’ system and that Mrazek will quickly assume that mantle if given a chance to shine. So, I believe we should let Gus go and bring Mrazek up full-time next season.

Posted by NewfieWing on 04/30/14 at 08:25 PM ET

Tracy from T-Town Hockey 's avatar

Depends on the price. Due to his groin issues he might have trouble finding a multi year deal anywhere. Keeping him here one more year could work out well. That gives Mrazek one more year in Grand Rapids with the chance at some NHL games when Monster’s groin acts up. I like Mrazek but I think management wants to keep him in GR another year especially with the length of Howard’s contract.

Posted by Tracy from T-Town Hockey on 04/30/14 at 08:41 PM ET

Avatar

I agree with Mrasek starting next year with No 1 up for grabs.  Howard seems to have gotten the Gus injury bug this year.  Right on, gives up soft goals and can never handle the puck.  Not sure what he’s thinking when he handles the puck but shoots away from our guys to the other team.  That little playoff goof spotted Boston one goal and completely took the wind out of our sails, the game was as much lost.  Nobody will touch Gus with an entry level contract, he’ll be in the AHL,  middle name groin, this year and last, if Holland offers him, Holland should be fired.  Hollands track record is also terrible, I’m sure folks are watching and if Mike Illitch passes away there will be changes.  Next year maybe the end of the Holland/Babcock era.

Posted by jhpcarrier97 on 04/30/14 at 08:44 PM ET

bigfrog's avatar

Meanwhile Detroit is really in the market for either a guy on a one-year deal or no one at all, and likely doesn’t want to spend much on him.

Exactly, and that’s the reason Gus will more than likely sign somewhere else. The Red Wings want to give Mrazek another year in Grand Rapids as they apparently think he needs more seasoning. I think after next season he will no longer be waiver exempt.

Posted by bigfrog on 04/30/14 at 08:55 PM ET

Avatar

And of course with NTC (or limited NTC?).

NMC through next year, 10-team NTC the next 3, unrestricted his final year.

My concern with bringing Gustavsson back is that it’s tough to have two injury-plagued goalies being your 1 and 2.  Performance-wise I think he’s a great backup, but if the team constantly has to juggle one or two roster spots so they can yo-yo Mrazek up and down ten times a year to have a healthy backup, that’s problematic.

I’d preferred at the time that Detroit move Howard (if they couldn’t get him signed for 3ish) and go with Mrazek-Gustavsson as their tandem heading into this year.

i’m over the idea of holland being the best GM in the league.

He’s easily on the Mount Rushmore.  Beyond that, it’s pointless to speculate.  If you have one of the top 4 GMs, be happy.

while he is a good goalie, i still don’t believe we can win a cup with howard, who within the next year should be gone if mrazek shows he can handle being the starter.

No chance.  A) That NMC.  B) It’s foolish to cut bait on Howard that quickly.  I’m far from the biggest Howard foof on the planet (I gladly cede that title to Malik), but even I think it’s too soon to make a move that big on a contract that long. 

Mrazek’s going to be up next year.  I’d put the chances he takes Howard’s job cleanly by the break at around 40%.  If he does, Howard’s not going to want to sit around too long and understudy a kid 8 years younger than him.  2014-15 is Howard’s opportunity to determine if he’s going to be a Wing lifer… and the only way he’s going to do that if by cleanly beating Mrazek out.  The cash discrepancy is going to give Mrazek all ties.

I like Howard, but that contract of his does him exactly ZERO favors.  It forces him into a tier of expectations of play I don’t think he has the ability to carry, which isn’t terribly fair to him… but them’s the breaks when you try and cash in on a couple good years..

Posted by HockeyinHD on 04/30/14 at 08:58 PM ET

Avatar

Of course all the fans who jumped on the “play all the young guys” bandwagon will not want Monster back. they want Mrazek. But, if the series against the Bruins showed us anything., it showed us that players having playoff success with the Griffins does not produce players having playoff success with the Wings. Just look at Tatar. Great for the Griffins last year at this time, great and fun to watch during this past regular season for the Wings, but he was nonexistent in the playoffs. He looked like a CHILD playing against men and contributed nothing. I like Tatar, but if the fans/management think these little speedy guys are what wins Stanley Cups, I think they need to check the record books. Remember, the Wings have been the most successful when the “fans” and media repeatedly claimed they were “too old” to win. 
Gustavsson is the BEST…I repeat the BEST backup the Wings have had since Osgood backed up Vernon, and then again when he backed up, and eventually took over the #1 job from Hasek during the 2008 playoffs. If the Wings let him walk because of his injuries, then I guess it is time to jump on the get rid of Holland bandwagon. There is no reason to bring a possible future starting goaltender into the lineup (Mrazek) right now just to have him sit on the bench most nights when our BEST backup goalie in recent times is available. 
And as for his injuries…HA! If the Wings are going to sign/keep players based on how much they have been injured the past two seasons and NOT based on performance, then I guess it’s also time to get rid of Howard, Helm, Zetterberg, and Datsyuk, among others. 
BRING GUSTAVSSON BACK! (And also FIRE BABS and bring in Trotz!)

Posted by Howdy Gordie on 04/30/14 at 09:11 PM ET

Avatar

HockeyinHD

Agree completely,  the contract is too comfortable, even this year Mrasek was hoping to dethrown Jimmy.  You are right that Jimmy will not sit still as a backup.  The Wings traditionally do not have goalies that are lifers

http://www.goaliesarchive.com/wings/

Closest I see is Ozzie, but he left in the middle because of greed, otherwise he’d be up in the rafters.

Posted by jhpcarrier97 on 04/30/14 at 09:18 PM ET

Primis's avatar

Mrazek is ready for NHL time.  Bye bye Gustavsson.  I don’t dislike him, but business decisions are tough ones.

Posted by Primis on 04/30/14 at 09:20 PM ET

d ca's avatar

No.

No point to keeping Mrazek in the minors another 2 years (even though he has 2 years of waiver eligibility).

Posted by d ca on 04/30/14 at 11:05 PM ET

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If he took a one year deal for somewhere around what he made this year then I would definitely take Gus back.  I’m not convinced that sitting on the bench for 40-50 games is beneficial for Mrazek.

And if Gus signs then he’ll injure his groin six or seven times so Mrazek will get a handful of starts in Detroit anyway.

Posted by Garth on 04/30/14 at 11:07 PM ET

Avatar

Better yet, give Gus a 2-3 year deal and, sometime in the next year or so you can trade Howard and have a Mrazek/Monster tandem.

Posted by Garth on 04/30/14 at 11:10 PM ET

Figaro's avatar

I’m cool with Gus coming back if he wants to.  Otherwise I’m sure we can find a cheap, decent option.  Sounds like Kenny wants Mrazek in GR for another year and I think we should probably stop hoping for him to make the move up.

I also think Jimmy will be better this next year with no Olympic distraction for the first half of the season, a locker-room of injuries that compounded the pressure on him, and a full summer of recover for his ailments.  He’s also got a full summer to watch tape of his frak-ups and to make the appropriate adjustments. I don’t think we’ll need our back-up as much next season.

Posted by Figaro from Los Alamos, NM on 05/01/14 at 12:57 AM ET

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Garth you are off your rocker, who are we going to call up to back up Mrazek ?????

Posted by jhpcarrier97 on 05/01/14 at 12:59 AM ET

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Gustavsson is the BEST…I repeat the BEST backup the Wings have had since Osgood backed up Vernon, and then again when he backed up, and eventually took over the #1 job from Hasek during the 2008 playoffs.

Meh, he’s pretty much comparable to Conklin as Ozzie’s backup from 08-09.
And he’s not better than Howard was when he took the job away from Ozzie in 09-10.

So yeah, he’s the BEST backup they’ve had since, you know, 2010.

I agree that I would like him back, but man you need to calm down.  He’s not the second coming of anything, he’s just a solid backup.

Posted by Garth on 05/01/14 at 01:05 AM ET

Hippy Dave's avatar

Sorry, I’ve always been more enamored with Mrazek than Gus.  Where Mrazek has looked quick and sharp Gus has looked slow and out of position.  Plus, Mrazek is more fun to watch.  He plays the puck like goalies from the 90’s.  So long as that doesn’t give Howard any ideas I say give him a shot.

Posted by Hippy Dave from Portland by way of Detroit on 05/01/14 at 01:12 AM ET

Avatar

Sorry, I’ve always been more enamored with Mrazek than Gus.

I doubt you’ll find anyone who isn’t, buy being enamoured with Mrazek is exactly the reason to have him keep honing his game starting 60 times in Grand Rapids rather than riding the pine for 60 games in Detroit.

Posted by Garth on 05/01/14 at 01:33 AM ET

Gary A$$ SUCK !!'s avatar

YES!!!  I want Gus and Mrazek to play for the Red Wings next season.

Posted by Gary A$$ SUCK !! from Fort Myers, Florida on 05/01/14 at 01:49 AM ET

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Posted by jhpcarrier97 on 04/30/14 at 09:18 PM ET

I think the only goalie you are comparing him to is broudeur. It’s not often that a goalie in recent history plays an entire career on one team. Kippursoff is the other I can think of. Are there more goalies that play ten years on one team. Belfour? Sawcuck play like 100 seasons for the wings in like the 1800s. Does that count?

Posted by howeandhowe on 05/01/14 at 02:39 AM ET

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Posted by HockeyinHD on 04/30/14 at 08:58 PM ET

Careful. Dont disagree with someone who doesn’t see hockey decisions the way you do.

Posted by howeandhowe on 05/01/14 at 02:40 AM ET

moocat's avatar

Closest I see is Ozzie, but he left in the middle because of greed, otherwise he’d be up in the rafters.

Posted by jhpcarrier97 on 04/30/14 at 09:18 PM ET

Wut?

“In the summer of 2001, the Red Wings acquired goaltender Dominik Hašek, a six-time Vezina Trophy winner, from the Buffalo Sabres. After numerous attempts to trade Osgood, the Red Wings left him unprotected in the waiver draft, and he was acquired by the Islanders on September 28, 2001.” Source: Wikipedia

Holland cut a bitch. He didn’t leave for money.

 

Posted by moocat on 05/01/14 at 08:50 AM ET

Figaro's avatar

Kippursoff is the other I can think of. Are there more goalies that play ten years on one team. Belfour?

Kipper started life as a Shark.  The Eagle had 5 jerseys during his career. 

Speaking of Brodeur, he’ll probably be free for next season…

Posted by Figaro from Los Alamos, NM on 05/01/14 at 09:39 AM ET

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Posted by Figaro from Los Alamos, NM on 05/01/14 at 09:39 AM ET

Dang! I knew I was wrong about all that. My memory for other team’s players is terrible.

I guess no goalie spends as much time with one team as Osgood did with the Wings.

Posted by howeandhowe on 05/01/14 at 04:02 PM ET

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The Malik Report is a destination for all things Red Wings-related. I offer biased, perhaps unprofessional-at-times and verbose coverage of my favorite team, their prospects and developmental affiliates. I've joined the Kukla's Korner family with five years of blogging under my belt, and I hope you'll find almost everything you need to follow your Red Wings at a place where all opinions are created equal and we're all friends, talking about hockey and the team we love to follow.