The Detroit Red Wings have acquired goaltender Ville Husso today from the St. Louis Blues in exchange for the 73rd pick in this year’s draft. The team also signed Husso to a three-year contract. The contract is worth $4.75 million. This was in response to the goaltending position that was up and down during the 2021-22 NHL season.
Husso will join Alex Nedeljkovic to complete the goalie tandem for the Red Wings. Nedeljkovic struggled for the Red Wings during the 2021-22 season. The fact that former head coach Jeff Blashill would start one goalie and then pull him when the team began to struggle only to put the starting goalie back in the net could be one reason for Nedeljkovic’s struggles. New head coach Derek Lalonde should learn from this, not yo-yo Nedeljkovic and Husso.
This move comes as Thomas Greiss can become an unrestricted free agent this offseason. The team needed to get younger at the backup goalie position as Greiss is 36 years old and the Red Wings have Sebastian Cossa who was drafted by the team with the 15th overall pick in the 2021 NHL entry draft progressing through their minor league system. That is not to say that Cossa will pan out as a prospect.
The team used a lot of draft capital in order to draft Cossa who has played three seasons with the Edmonton Oil Kings of the Western Hockey League. Cossa has been successful for the Oil Kings for the three seasons that he has played for the team thus far. At only 19 years old, Cossa impressed with his play during the Western Hockey League Playoffs. He had a 16-3-0 record with a 1.93 GAA and a .919 save percentage for the Oil Kings.
Husso, a 27-year-old from Helsinki, Finland, had a breakout season for the Blues, taking over for starter Jordan Binnington for the team who lost to the Colorado Avalanche in the Stanley Cup Playoffs in 6 games. The two goalies split time in net for the Blues during the 2021-22 season. In two seasons with the Blues, Husso has had a 34-13-7 record in 57 regular-season games played. In 2021-22 Husso had a 25-7-6 record, a .919 save percentage, and a goals-against-average of 2.56. This trade reaffirms that the Blues want to give Binnington every chance to succeed.
The fact that Husso started more than twice as many games for the Blues in his second season with the team may be the reason that his play began to fall off as the season progressed. This is something that the Red Wings need to keep in mind as the same thing happened with Nedeljkovic last season. That is not to say that Husso did not play well for the Blues.
Husso also has experience playing in the playoffs which can be invaluable for a young Red Wings team who is still rebuilding. Lalonde said during his introductory press conference that whether or not the Red Wings make the playoffs is all about the process. Success comes from doing things day in and day out well. The Red Wings are in the process of rebuilding their roster and one day may be in the same position as the Tampa Bay Lightning who have made it to three straight Stanley Cup finals.
St. Louis Blues Bolster Center Depth at the AHL level
The Blues used the 73rd pick in the draft that they acquired from the Red Wings to select center Aleksanteri Kaskimäki out of HIFK of the Finnish Liiga, which is the best hockey league in Finland. Kaskimäki is an 18-year-old forward who is able to use his 6’0”, 200-pound frame to create space for himself. This allows him to use his versatile wrist shot. Kaskimäki needs to learn to adapt to the North American game which features a bigger ice surface. This is something that all young NHL players who have played in Europe before being drafted.
Kaskimäki does need to improve his hockey sense as well as the defensive side of the puck. This is something that can come with more experience at the professional levels of hockey. He is only 18 years old after all. At the end of the day, Kaskimäki will likely be a player that can bolster the Blues’ forward depth at the AHL level. This is a position of need for the Blues.
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