The Detroit Red Wings have signed Matej Machovsky to a one-year deal in a move that appears to boost goaltending depth in preparation for the expansion draft.
The 23-year old will be exempt from the draft and is a former training camp invitee and follows the trend of relatively tall netminders (6’2″, 187 lbs). He has spent the last four seasons in the Czech professional league for HC Plzen, turning out an impressive 2.19 goals against average and .924 save percentage over 178 games. He’s performed solidly for the squad come playoff time over those four years, posting a 2.78 goals against and .916 save percentage in 31 contests.
Undrafted, Machovsky took the long way to get to the pros, playing 117 games over four seasons in the OHL with the Guelph Storm and Brampton Battalion. In 112 games over three full seasons, he posted a 2.51 goals against average and .904 save percentage from 2010-13. This was good enough to get him a shot on the Czech Republic World Junior team for a couple of games.
This does seem like a preparation move for the likelihood of Jimmy Howard being chosen by the Vegas Golden Knights to be one of their goaltenders in the upcoming draft on June 21st. If Howard gets chosen, Machovsky could battle for the backup spot in camp. If not, the team has some control as he will be a restricted free agent next summer according to Capfriendly. In addition, Grand Rapids Griffins goalie Edward Pasquale is an unrestricted free agent at 26, so Ken Holland may be looking for another relatively young netminder to share the net with Jared Coreau. There could also be an opportunity to mentor young Jake Paterson, who just completed his second full season of ECHL hockey with Machovsky’s four years of professional experience.