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Red Wings Dilemma: What to do With a Problem Named Husso

Husso stuggled with form, injuries

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Ville Husso, Red Wings
Ville Husso didn't play a full game for the Red Wings after December.

Through much of his first season with the Detroit Red Wings, Ville Husso looked as though he was going to be the solution to the team’s goaltending issues.

For most of last season, Husso was a problem. A big problem. And looking toward next season, there’s a legitimate question mark as to whether he can be part of the solution going forward.

Husso didn’t play a complete game for the Red Wings after Dec. 16. He would suffer a lower-body injury Dec. 18 against the Anaheim Ducks. The next time Husso saw NHL action was Feb. 3 at Edmonton. Just 8:48 into the game, he was reinjured.

His next attempt to come back was in an AHL rehab assignment with the Grand Rapids Griffins on April 12. He reaggravated the injury during warmup and didn’t play.

“I think it was a really tough year, injury-wise,” Husso said. “I guess at the end even mentally, too, it was hard not to play.

“We were trying everything to come back a little earlier than supposed to but unfortunately, it didn’t work.”

Husso Endured Struggles With Red Wings

Even when he did play, Husso didn’t play all that well. His .892 save percentage left Husso 73rd overall in the NHL. Husso’s 3.55 GAA was 83rd in the league. Amazingly, despite these dismal digits, he would manage to go 9-5-2.

“Ville, his numbers were drastically down from a year ago, but he won a lot of hockey games fos us.”

Husso’s decline and fall began during the 2022-23 campaign. He’s allowed three or more goals in 25 of his last 34 appearances for the Red Wings.

Misery Loves Company In Red Wings Goal

Then again, no Detroit netminder was giving off Vezina Trophy vibes during the 2023-24 season. Not one of three puckstoppers who saw significant duty for the team – Husso, Alex Lyon, James Reimer – would rank among the top 50 in GAA or save percentage.

“All three of those guys at different points of the season had a very positive impact on us and played games to help us win and put us in a position to almost make the playoffs,” Detroit GM Steve Yzerman said. “But, having said that, they need to be better.

“We need to be better in all aspects of keeping the puck out of our net, not only with our goalies but with our D corps but our forwards as well.”

What Next For Husso?

There’s still one season left on Husso’s contract with the Red Wings. He’ll carry an AAV of $4.75 million.

Might the Red Wings try to trade Husso? Well, they could, but that would prove difficult on a number of fronts. Is there going to be demand for a goaltender with a chronic leg injury who didn’t get through either of his final two starts of last season.

Even if the Wings were able to deal Husso, that only serves to create another problem. They’ll need to be adding two NHL-capable goalies to the roster in a summer in which the goalie market is remarkably thin.

“It’s an interesting position right now around the league in goaltending in that everyone is looking for a goaltender, whether it’s a 1 or a 2 or a 3,” Yzerman said. “Most teams need three goalies.”

That doesn’t mean Yzerman will just automatically go into next season with Lyon and Husso penciled in as his NHL goalies, while looking for a third puckstopper to replace UFA Reimer.

“It’s my job to try to look to see if I can improve our team in any which way and I will do that at every position,” Yzerman said.

That replacement won’t come from within. Sebastian Cossa and Trey Augustine, the top netminding prospects in the Detroit chain, aren’t seasoned enough to handle regular NHL duty.

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TAV

You can’t trust Husso even as a for sure backup. You have to carry 3 if you are going to keep him. If you move him and bring in someone like Markstrom (someone like not saying him) then maybe you can go with 2 and use that slot for another position.

Stevie B

I also don’t trust Husso and think he should be moved. The problem is, I dont think there will be a strong market for him. If we’re lucky, he’s makeweight as part of another deal rather than being a premium part of his own trade. I just cant see any of the other GM’s actively wanting a goalie who has broke down multiple times in the same season and even when he did play at the start of the season, he wasn’t all that convincing in his form. I think we’re lumbered with a real problem here.