The Detroit Red Wings have solidified their crease for the foreseeable future.
Kicking off day two of the 2022 NHL Draft, the Red Wings got the festivities started with two concurrent moves in the wee hours of the morning, first trading a third-round pick to the St. Louis Blues in exchange for the rights to netminder Ville Husso, and then signing Husso to a three-year contract extension worth an average annual value of $4.75 million.
The details of the deal, which ties Husso to Detroit through the 2024-25 season, such as its salary structure or the inclusion of any trade protection have yet to be revealed.
And suddenly, an already-thinning free agent goaltending market loses another leading candidate.
After Marc-Andre Fleury re-signed with the Minnesota Wild on Thursday, Husso was gearing up to be the belle of the free-agent ball. The Red Wings clearly knew this and wanted to get an exclusive negotiating window with the 27-year-old, which explains why the typically asset-conscious Steve Yzerman opted to deal a draft pick for the rights to a player he could have signed for free in a few days' time.
Husso was clearly who Yzerman envisioned to be the Red Wings' starter next season after a disastrous campaign in net for the club in 2021-22, and now he's being paid like it. The Helsinki native posted a 25-7-6 record with two shutouts last season to go with a .919 save percentage and a whopping 15 goals-saved-above-average.
Lack of experience is somewhat concerning for Husso, of course. He only has 57 games of NHL experience under his belt and has only been a full-time starter for parts of one season. But what Husso showed in his brief time atop the Blues' goaltending heirarchy offered enough promise to earn him a sizable deal.
Buckle up. The action is far from over.