Coach Jeff Blashill said newly-signed KHL goalie Magnus Hellberg will join the Detroit Red Wings in time for Friday’s practice in New York. He doesn’t want to speculate on when Swede Hellberg will play, or how many games he might play.
His contract is only for the remainder of this season. The Red Wings will only have eight games left after tonight’s road game against the Carolina Hurricanes.
“We’ll see how it all plays out,” Blashill said. “It’s been awhile since he’s played. It’s a process with immigration. It takes awhile to get guys over here and things like that. We’ll take this day by day and see what tomorrow brings.”
This could be viewed as Hellberg’s audition for a longer contract. Detroit goalie Thomas Greiss will be an unrestricted free agent this summer and is not expected to return. Calvin Pickard’s contract is also expiring. First-round draft pick Sebastian Cossa is expected to be in Grand Rapids next season.
Blashill Knows Hellberg
Hellberg, 31, has played the last five seasons in the KHL. But he was originally drafted by the Nashville Predators and played four NHL games, plus 187 American League games. He told Swedish media Aftonbladet he only wanted to play in Detroit, and not Grand Rapids.
“I coached against him in the American League. He was in Milwaukee when I was in GR,” Blashill said. “Did a good job then. He was actually really good that year against us. I think he had a .924 (save percentage), something like that. So I knew him as a young prospect. Obviously, it’s been a lot of time since then. To say I know him unbelievable would not be true but I definitely know him, so hopefully [we’ll] continue to add goaltending depth.”
Hellberg played for Sochi in the KHL this season and finished with a 2.42 goals-against average and .917 save percentage.