Goaltender Ville Husso excited about opportunity waiting with Red Wings

Detroit News

Detroit — Ville Husso knew he was likely headed out of St. Louis. The Blues had made a big financial commitment to goaltender Jordan Binnington, and keeping Husso would re-signing Husso would be an expensive luxury.

So when Husso found out Friday morning his rights were traded to the Red Wings, it wasn’t a shock. But it was a good feeling, headed to an Original Six franchise that appears to be on the rise.

“I kind of knew I wasn’t going to stay in St. Louis, I was ready for it and excited,” said Husso during a Zoom call Sunday with Detroit reporters. “I’m very happy to join the Detroit Red Wings, a historic team, 11 Stanley Cups, it tells a lot. I’m very excited to see the season start.

Husso could have been an unrestricted free agent beginning Wednesday. But general manager Steve Yzerman acted fast with the amount of available goaltenders dwindling, and quickly signed Husso to a three-year contract with annual salary cap hit of $4.75 million.

The Wings gave St. Louis a third-round draft pick in last week’s Entry Draft.

“Everything kind of happened quick and I’m very happy to join (the Red Wings),” Husso said.

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Much has already been discussed and dissected on social media about the potential strength the goaltending could be with Husso and Alex Nedeljkovic. Both are at similar points in their career, have shown the ability to win in the NHL in a short sample size, but still have things to learn about consistency.

Husso has yet to meet Nedeljkovic, but expects the duo to be a strength of the team.

“I feel like these days in hockey you need to have two good goalies on the team,” Husso said. “I haven’t met Alex yet but I look forward to that and I think we’ll be a good goalie duo.

“It’s always nice to have good guy or goalie partner with you,” Husso said. “Me and (Jordan) Binnington were pushing each other every day. That’s one thing I learned from him. With Alex, I want to do the same thing, push each other every day in practice and games to get better every day.”

There was a stark difference in Husso’s statistics from the first to second half of last season.

Husso had a 2.03 goals-against average and .935 save percentage the first half of the season, when he ranked among the NHL’s best at his position. But after a nasty bout with COVID-19, Husso never found his rhythm and saw his GAA go to 3.23 and save percentage plummet to .901.

Husso was only 1-5 with a 4.29 GAA and .869 SVS in the playoffs, as Binnington regained his full-time starter’s role.

“The last year was a really good start and unfortunately I got COVOD and was out for three weeks that I didn’t play,” Husso said. “It’s hockey, and every game is different, but yes, next year I need to be on the level I played that long part of last season. That’s my next goal, to be on that level every single night.”

Husso was impressed with what he saw of the Wings last season.

“Young team and talented guys and staff there,” Husso said. “Steve Yzerman, I have big respect for him as a player and GM. I’m excited for this opportunity.”

Husso will have plenty of familiar faces when he hits the ice in training camp come September.

Yzerman has found a trading partner with the Blues in recent years, having acquired Robby Fabbri in 2019 and forward Oskar Sundqvist and defenseman Jake Walman last trade deadline while dealing defenseman Nick Leddy to the Blues.

The familiarity, said Husso, should help.

“It’ll hopefully be good,” Husso said. “They (former teammates) said good things about Detroit and the fans and everything. I’m looking forward to that I’m a pretty easygoing guy, so hopefully all the guys like me, and it will be fine.”


Twitter: @tkulfan

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