The Red Wings have made official their expected signing of goaltender Calvin Pickard, who will battle last summer’s free agency addition, Jonathan Bernier, for the right to backup Jimmy Howard. Pickard joins Detroit on a two-year, $1.5MM contract, a substantially more affordable deal than Bernier’s which could give him a leg up in the competition.
Pickard, 27, had a dreadful 2018-19 season, starting with a waiver placement at the beginning of the year with the Toronto Maple Leafs. Claimed by the Philadelphia Flyers, he would play just 11 games for them before being waived again, only to be picked up by the Arizona Coyotes. While Arizona may have seemed like a great opportunity given the goaltending injuries they were facing, Pickard went weeks between appearances and ended up on a conditioning stint in the minor leagues for a time. He only played in six games with the Coyotes, a tough way for any goaltender to find a rhythm.
Red Wings GM Steve Yzerman must have remembered he liked Pickard in a previous year, as he rewarded that forgettable season with a two-year one-way contract. Even if he doesn’t win a job in training camp he at least has some financial stability and the two-year deal very well could scare teams off of a waiver claim.