The Detroit Red Wings are sticking with Jonas Gustavsson as their backup man.
Indications are the Wings will soon re-sign Gustavsson, who is eligible for unrestricted free agency July 1.
"I've been talking to Gustavsson's agent,” general manager Ken Holland told the Free Press today. "He played good for us. We'd like to keep him."
During front-office meetings earlier this month, management and team scouts debated options for the no. 2 goaltending position. One was to retain Gustavsson. Another was to add someone else via the UFA market. A third option was to consider giving the job to Petr Mrazek, the hot young prospect who has been turning heads in Grand Rapids for two years.
Ultimately, the decision favored Gustavsson. He went 16-5-4 last season with a .907 save percentage and 2.63 goals-against average, appearing in 27 games. He was considered the team's savior during the first half, especially so after a November that saw no. 1 man Jimmy Howard stumble and fumble. Gustavsson's dependable service was exactly what the Wings needed to see from him after he turned in so disastrous a debut during the lockout-shortened 2013 season that he never played after March of that year.
This year, Gustavsson ended up playing in the last two games of the Wings' season, subbing in for Howard in Game 4 of the first-round series against Boston after Howard came down with flu. Gustavsson stayed in for Game 5, going 0-2 with a .917 save percentage and 2.71 goals-against average in what was his first NHL playoff experience.
"He played well for us this season and we have interest in him coming back," Holland said.
Negotiations center on term - Gustavsson's camp wants two years, while the Wings would prefer a one-year extension. Gustavsson, 29, is coming off a two-year, $3 million contract.
The biggest reservation about keeping Gustavsson was his health - he has been especially vulnerable to groin injuries, shelving him for stretches of both seasons he's been with the Wings. That said, there is no backup goalie headed for the open market who'd be an upgrade. As for Mrazek, he is only 22, and, he's only just finished his second season with the Griffins. From the Wings' point of view, he'd be better off being the go-to guy in Grand Rapids than an every-other-week player in Detroit.
Gustavsson's past year includes being part of the Swedish Olympic men's team that took silver in Sochi.
He won the Conn Smythe Trophy as the most valuable player of the 2003 Stanley Cup Playoffs, when the Ducks lost the Final to the New Jersey Devils in seven games. He won the championship with the Ducks in 2007, when they defeated the Ottawa Senators in five games.
He was 33-17 with a 2.08 GAA and .925 save percentage in 52 playoff games, all with the Ducks.
Still in awe from that Superman-esque 2003 playoffs. So long, Giggy.
The St. Louis Blues on Monday signed goaltender Brian Elliott to a three-year contract extension. According to Jeremy Rutherford of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the contract is worth $7.5 million. Elliott would have become an unrestricted free agent this summer.
The move also means goaltender Ryan Miller, acquired Feb. 28, will not return to the team. Miller will become an unrestricted free agent this summer.
"Brian will team up with Jake Allen next season to form our goaltending tandem," Blues general manager Doug Armstrong said.
Elliott, 29, was 18-6-2 in 31 games this season while ranking second in the NHL with a 1.96 goals-against average and 11th in save percentage (.922) and shutouts (four).
He has spent the past three seasons with the Blues, including 2011-12 when he set single-season franchise records in GAA (1.56), save percentage (.940), and shutouts (nine) en route to sharing the 2012 Jennings Trophy with Jaroslav Halak.
In the past three seasons Elliott ranks second among goalies with at least 50 games played with a .680 win percentage (55-24-7), while his 16 shutouts not only lead the League but are tied for second in Blues franchise history.
Elliott has a career record of 116-77-23 in 235 games with the Ottawa Senators, Colorado Avalancheand Blues, with a 2.48 GAA, .910 save percentage and 25 shutouts in 235 games.
Miller was acquired from the Buffalo Sabres along with forward Steve Ott in exchange for goaltenderJaroslav Halak, forward Chris Stewart, forward prospect William Carrier and conditional draft picks. Among those selections is the Blues' 2014 first-round pick, which St. Louis holds onto as long as it does not trade Miller's rights prior to make its first pick.
In 19 games with the Blues Miller went 10-8-1 with a 2.47 GAA and .903 save percentage. And in six Stanley Cup Playoff games against the Chicago Blackhawks he went 2-4-0 with a 2.70 GAA and .897 save percentage.
I won't be surprised to see the Ducks make a pitch at Miller.