Red Wings add goalie Thomas Greiss through free agency

Detroit ready for 2020-21 season with 2 seasoned NHL goalies at affordable price

Jonathan Huberdeau of the Florida Panthers shoots against Thomas Greiss of the New York Islanders at Barclays Center on November 09, 2019 in Brooklyn, New York. (Al Bello/Getty Images, Al Bello/Getty Images)

Detroit Red Wings GM Steve Yzerman addressed the team’s goalie need by signing free agent Thomas Greiss to a two-year deal on Saturday.

Greiss, 34, takes the spot of Jimmy Howard, who will not return with Detroit this upcoming season after more than 15 years with the organization.

Read more: Yzerman adds D Troy Stecher as he attracts free agents to Red Wings

Greiss spent the past five seasons with the New York Islanders. The native of Germany has been piling up the wins and posting impressive save percentages including a 0.927 in 2018-19. Take a look at his full career stats here. You’ll notice he was drafted way back in 2004 and only recently started to flourish at the NHL level. He’s what you’d call a true late bloomer.

Stunningly, he leaves the Islanders as the franchise leader in save percentage and is top five in franchise history for appearances and wins. I never would have guessed that.

Greiss will be sharing the net with 32-year-old Jonathan Bernier who has one year left on his contract with Detroit. He’s costing the team $3 million in cap space while Greiss will cost a reported $3.6 million in space -- Howard was costing the team $5.2 million then $4 million in cap space during his final one-year deal.

DETROIT, MICHIGAN - JANUARY 07: Jonathan Bernier #45 of the Detroit Red Wings skates against the Montreal Canadiens at Little Caesars Arena on January 07, 2020 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images) (2020 Getty Images)

That’s two seasoned NHL goalies for less than $7 million in cap space this season for Yzerman’s Red Wings. The organization has five other goalies under contract heading into this season, including Calvin Pickard at a low $700,000 cap hit.

This is about as smart and cost-effective a GM can be right now with the goalie position, especially for someone in Yzerman’s position. He is working to rebuild the team while bringing in veteran talent to help lead by example both on and off the ice. The “Yzerplan” is a marathon, not a sprint, but with another solid draft class and quality additions during the first weekend of free agency, the marathon is starting a very quick pace.

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