A changing of the goalie guard is coming for the Detroit Red Wings.
Next season, NHL veterans likely will handle the bulk of starts. Thomas Greiss is under contract for one more season and unrestricted free agent Jonathan Bernier, who has been the starter for much of the past three seasons, is a candidate to return, likely depending on term.
Even if Bernier goes elsewhere, General Manager Steve Yzerman, overlooking a raw prospect pool, probably will seek a short-term veteran to share duties with Greiss.
Looking ahead to 2022-23, perhaps prospect Keith Petruzzelli, who was drafted No. 88 overall in 2017 and a 2021 Hobey Baker Finalist, will establish himself at 22 years old as the franchise’s goalie of the future.
Perhaps Yzerman trades for a young stud with NHL/AHL experience.
Perhaps the GM drafts a generational netminder during the 2021 Entry Draft.
Perhaps another prospect makes the leap.
Regardless, change is coming.
Question is, who will force the change?
Here are last season’s updates of goalies drafted since 2018 and a forecast for 2021-22:
Red Wings 2020 Draft
Drafted: Round 4 (No. 107 overall).
2020-21 Season: Still just 18 years old, Bedar posted pedestrian statistics for two teams, Karlovy Vary (Czech) and Acadie-Bathurst (QMJHL). In 12 appearances with Acadie-Bathurst, he went 6-5-0 with a 3.62 goals-against average (GAA) and .894 save percentage. In five games for Karlovy, he went 3-2-0 with a 4.16 GAA and .866 save percentage.
2021-22 Forecast: Still eligible to play in the QMJHL, Bednar needs to prove he can dominate at the major junior level before moving on.
Drafted: Seventh Round (No. 191).
2020-21 Season: The Red Wings’ final selection, Gylander, 19, appeared in 19 games as a freshman at Colgate (ECAC), registering a 6-9-4 mark with a 2.69 GAA and .901 save percentage.
2021-22 Forecast: Study hard.
Drafted: Third Round (No. 84).
2020-21 Season: Eliasson had an international-flavored season, competing in 13 games for Salzburg (Austria) and posting a 2.65 GAA and .916 save percentage. He also represented Sweden at the 2020 World Junior U-20 Championships.
2021-22 Forecast: At 21 years old, it’s time for Eliasson to make a move. He has proven he can handle Austria’s skaters, how about North American snipers? Noted for his work ethic, he could battle for a backup role with the Griffins or challenge to become the starter for the ECHL’s Toledo Walleye.
Drafted: Sixth Round (No. 160).
2020-21 Season: Playing in his age 24 season, Brattstrom posted an 18-12-7 mark with a 2.20 GAA and .903 save percentage for KooKoo (SM-liiga). He allowed four goals in his lone playoff start.
2021-22 Forecast: If the Red Wings are serious about seeing what they have in the tall and athletic netminder, it’s about time he relocates to North America and faces shots from AHL or ECHL skaters.
An organizational change of the goalie guard is coming over the next few years.
Who will force that change?