Red Wings Role Call is assessing every player who held a significant place in the fortunes of the 2021-22 Detroit Red Wings season. We’ll be looking at the highs and lows they experienced during the just-completed campaign, as well as what the future holds for them in Detroit. Today, we feature goaltender Thomas Greiss
2021-22 totals (GP-W-L-OT Loss-GAA-Save Percentage): 31-10-15-1-3.66-.891
Contract Status: Unrestricted Free Agent
It’s hard to blame the goaltenders for the Detroit’s poor second half. Detroit’s defensive play was weak to the point that Detroit’s goaltenders were always under siege.
Was Greiss as sharp as he was the previous season? No
But his season wasn’t as ugly as his numbers suggest. In his second-to-last game of the season, Greiss made 38 saves to beat the Lightning in Tampa.
The Red Wings, particularly recently fired coach Jeff Blashill, appreciated that Detroit’s goaltenders kept battling even when the team’s competitiveness was lacking.
“I think we all went through a tough stretch there post all-star break,including our goaltenders,” Blashill said. “Thought both Ned and Greisser, give or take a game or two, the last month have done a good job and really kind of ended in good fashion. I thought Ned had a number of real good quality starts.”
2021-22 Red Wings Highlights
Won three of his first four appearances to start the season, recording wins against Vancouver (Oct. 16), Columbus (Oct. 19) and Washington (Oct. 27). Also, on February 17, Greiss made 37 saves to beat the New York Rangers in Madison Square Garden. He was 4-0 vs. the Rangers at MSG.
Great tribute for Thomas Greiss as he returns to the Island 🧡💙 pic.twitter.com/ezKEBSsdI2
— Isles on MSG+ (@IslesMSGN) March 24, 2022
2021-22 Red Wings Lowlight
From Feb. 23 until March 24, Greiss played six games and went 0-4 with an .822 save percentage.
Goaltending optional in Detroit/Toronto tonight.
Final save percentages of all 4 goalies who played:
Jack Campbell: .800 SV%
Petr Mrazek: .750 SV%
Alex Nedeljkovic: .760 SV%
Thomas Greiss: .714 SV% pic.twitter.com/ESkTOB3CEk
— Brady Trettenero (@BradyTrett) February 27, 2022
What Does His Detroit Future Hold?
The Red Wings haven’t said Thomas Greiss isn’t coming back. But indications are the Red Wings expect a new partner for Alex Nedeljkovic next season
The fact that the organization brought in Magnus Hellberg for his brief tryout was the first clue. Before Hellberg played, Detroit vice president Nick Lidstrom told a Swedish media outlet: “We might be looking at making changes to our goaltending, or at least increase competition,” Lidstrom said. “So he will get the chance to show himself. He’s a good example that we’re looking for players not just in North America but also in Europe.”
Plus, Greiss may simply want to find a more competitive team. He’s 36. Some quality teams will be looking for backups. Maybe he would want to explore that. At this point, he might even consider retirement.
With Nedeljkovic establishing he can play the bulk of the games, the Red Wings also probably don’t want to pay a second goalie what Greiss has been making. His expiring contract was $7.2 million over two seasons. Yzerman undoubtedly would like to spend that money elsewhere to land a center or a proven scorer.
The Red Wings would say Greiss served their needs well over his contract. But Yzerman will be looking to makeover the goalie position. It will be two or three seasons before Sebastian Cossa gets to Detroit.