Detroit Red Wings’ 2023-24 Final Grades: Goalies

The Hockey Writers

With a season that saw the Detroit Red Wings carry three goalies on the roster, much to the surprise of many, it ended up being a good thing by the end of the season (Michael Hutchinson also made his debut in a Winged Wheel jersey this season). With presumed starter, Ville Husso, fighting injuries throughout the season, both newcomers, James Reimer and Alex Lyon, ended up playing the majority of the season. With that being said, how did the goaltender play grade out for the 2023-24 season?

Ville Husso

2023-24 season stats: 19 GP (18 starts) – 9-5-2 record, .892 save percentage (SV%), 3.55 goals-against average

After a 2022-23 season that saw Husso battle through the finish with a nagging injury, the hope was that the former St. Louis Blue could bounce back this season and return to the play he showed before being traded to the Red Wings. But the season saw him yet again battle injuries and continue to be limited.

Related: Red Wings’ Goaltending is Holding Them Back

While healthy, there were spurts when Husso showed signs of the goalie general manager Steve Yzerman traded for, but for the most part, he struggled in the 19 games he played. This offseason will be an important one for Husso and the Red Wings to determine his future after failing to return to action on his latest rehab assignment with the Grand Rapids Griffins.

Grade: D

Alex Lyon

2023-24 season stats: 44 GP (43 starts) – 21-18-5 record, .904 SV%, 3.05 GAA, two shutouts

After a strong finish with the Florida Panthers in the 2022-23 season that saw Alex Lyon help lead the Panthers into the playoffs, he earned himself a two-year contract with the Red Wings in hopes of battling fellow free agent signee James Reimer for the backup spot behind Husso. Lyon did not earn his first start with the organization until Nov. 17 against the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Alex Lyon Detroit Red Wings
Alex Lyon, Detroit Red Wings (Evan Sabourin / The Hockey Writers)

After earning a few starts, Lyon seemingly took over the reins as the Red Wings’ number one goaltender. While the finish he had last season may not have made his strong play much of a surprise to some, doing it for a prolonged stretch this season made him my biggest surprise for the 2023-24 season. Throughout the season he helped keep the Red Wings afloat when the defensive play in front of him struggled. There were times, though, when he did seem out of place and put himself in bad spots, allowing goals that he certainly would have liked to have back.

Going into next season, Lyon may very well look to once again take over the reins as the team’s number-one netminder after setting career highs in almost every statistical category and spending the entire season in the NHL for the first time in his career. This would be fully dependent on how Yzerman plans to attack the position in the offseason.

Grade: A-

James Reimer

2023-24 season stats: 25 GP (20 starts) – 11-8-2 record, .904 SV%, 3.11 GAA, two shutouts

One of the free agent signings that Yzerman made in the offseason that made people scratch their heads was that of James Reimer. He came into this season off a down season (albeit with a bad San Jose Sharks team) and was signed to the same deal that outgoing Alex Nedeljkovic signed with the Pittsburgh Penguins. But he came into Detroit and admirably filled in as the backup for both Husso and, eventually, Lyon.

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There were times when his play made fans want to bang their heads off the wall with some of the stuff he did in the net, but for the most part, he had a solid bounce-back season while spelling the starting netminder to help give Lyon a break at times throughout the season.

Grade: B

The 2023-24 Season Did Not Go as Planned in Net

While the season did not go as planned with Husso spending most of it injured, the emergence of Lyon and some solid “backup” play from Reimer helped keep the Red Wings afloat throughout the season. With that being said though, this offseason is yet another crucial one for Yzerman as he continues to search for answers in the crease for the organization. With the future most likely including top prospect Sebastian Cossa, there is a chance that he looks to bring in yet another short-term answer until Cossa is ready for the NHL.

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