A broken finger usually leads to one question: “How’d you break your finger?”
But when it happened Jimmy Howard, man. People went nuts. Questions started popping up everywhere. How’d it break? How long is he out? What’s the extent of the injury? Does he need some special equipment?
Then people started answering questions they already knew. Who’s going to replace him? Why isn’t Ty Conklin good? Who is going to bt the backup? Why don’t the Red Wings have Henrik Lundqvist as their backup? Is there any more reason to live?
Woah. That got deep.
Let’s take a second to calm down.
OK, we needed that. Let’s take look at the situation. No, Ty Conklin isn’t good. No, the Red Wings don’t have any confidence in him. No, Joey MacDonald wasn’t exactly tearing it up in Grand Rapids and at age 32, there’s not much potential he has left to live up to. HOWEVA, by most so-called professional accounts, there’s one man responsible for continuing that thing the Red Wings are doing when they play at home. Hint: It’s a 32-year-old career minor leaguer who has been asked what’s on his farm once or twice in his life.
In MacDonald’s short time in Detroit, he has a .935 save percentage, letting in just 6 goals in four games. The Red Wings are resigned to at least giving him a chance at the backup spot behind Jimmy Howard.
He’s not going to instill a lot of confidence in fans and going with him may turn out to be a colossal mistake that appears at just the wrong time, but at his price ($550,000) he might be the best option.
Still want to make a huge splash at the trade deadline for that ever elusive top-six forward and/or a defenseman that everybody keeps talking about? Then the high-priced goalies on the market aren’t coming here. Say goodbye to Dwayne Roloson (cap hit: $3.5 million) and Nikolai Khabibulin (cap hit: $3.75 million for this year and the next).
Detroit didn’t pick up Antero Nittymaki (cap hit: $2 million) when he was on waivers, so why would they trade away players or picks for him now?
Sans those three, the we’re-not-trading-first-round-picks-or-superstars-or-top-prospects goaltending trade market comes down to about two guys: Minnesota’s Josh Harding and the Islanders’ Evgeni Nabokov.
Except that the Islanders have said they have “no intention” of trading Nabokov.
Harding is intriguing. He has split time with Niklas Backstrom, but has remained the comfortable backup despite putting up a pretty good .920 save percentage. He’s affordable ($750,000) and in the last year of his contract. Due for a raise, Minnesota isn’t likely to resign him, already having a decent third goalie in Matt Hackett ready to fill the void.
The Wild may move Harding, but at what cost? They are just four points out of the final playoff spot in the West. Any trade would likely involve players who can help both teams right away. Who is Minnesota looking for? That ever-elusive top-six forward and/or a defenseman. Detroit has pieces (and to-be free agents) Minnesota would be interested in like Jiri Hudler and Brad Stuart.
But let’s not forget that Detroit is also looking for that ever elusive top-six forward and/or a defenseman. The Red Wings have no reason to give up a player at a position that they have already deemed didn’t have enough depth.
Josh Harding isn’t coming to Detroit. All your questions (maybe not the will to live part) about Detroit’s backup goaltending will be answered by the man you see on your television at roughly 7:36 p.m. tonight.
Imagine what would have happened had Jimmy Howard broken his thumb or hand.