The Detroit Red Wings have signed goaltender John Lethemon to a contract for the rest of this season worth $750k with a $65k minors salary, according to PuckPedia.
The 26-year-old has spent most of this season with the Red Wings’ ECHL affiliate, the Toledo Walleye, and by signing him to this standard player contract the Red Wings have ensured his eligibility to play in the playoffs, giving them some added depth in case the team makes the postseason and runs into some injury trouble.
Notably, this deal will give the Red Wings the ability to make Lethemon a restricted free agent at the end of the year, meaning they could keep him from hitting the open market.
Lethemon has had a strong season for the Walleye, splitting the crease with 2021 15th-overall pick Sebastian Cossa. Playing in the shadow of the Red Wings’ presumptive goalie of the future, Lethemon has actually outperformed Cossa this season, albeit in a smaller sample of games.
In 24 contests Lethemon has posted an extremely impressive 16-1-3 record, 2.08 goals-against-average, and .927 save percentage. Lethemon is a former Michigan State Spartan who starred with a .935 save percentage in his final season playing college hockey.
Not only does this contract signing provide an added layer of emergency depth for the Red Wings in net, it’s also a nice reward for Lethemon’s quality performances this year. With Magnus Hellberg, Alex Nedeljkovic, and Victor Brattstrom all on expiring contracts, the situation in net could clear up for Lethemon to even parlay this year’s impressive performance into a chance to become an AHL netminder.
One would presume that the Red Wings would like to have Cossa get some AHL games under his belt next season, so they could even choose to retain Lethemon on another similar contract for next season and simply move Toledo’s tandem up a level.
One other factor worth noting with this signing, should the Red Wings have interest in keeping Lethemon beyond this season, is any impact it could have on the team signing Colgate University netminder Carter Gylander before the end of next season, when their exclusive rights to sign him will expire according to CapFriendly.
The Red Wings will also have 2020 fourth-rounder Jan Bednar to potentially sign to an entry-level deal, so their continued investment in Lethemon and the presence of Cossa could mean Gylander is squeezed out of a future in Detroit.
Gylander has taken a step forward this season for the Raiders, posting a .916 save percentage and 2.37 goals-against-average as essentially the exclusive starting netminder on the team, a performance that could draw the interest of some pro clubs intrigued by his progress and six-foot-four frame.
just heard Husso was pulled from practice today ? Trade or injury ?