Report: Calvin Pickard to sign with Detroit Red Wings

Calvin Pickard in net for Arizona Coyotes
CALGARY, AB - FEBRUARY 18: Calvin Pickard #30 of the Arizona Coyotes in action against the Calgary Flames during an NHL game at Scotiabank Saddledome on February 18, 2019 in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. (Photo by Derek Leung/Getty Images)

News broke late afternoon on Sunday that Calvin Pickard is signing with the Detroit Red Wings. Frank Seravalli of TSN Sports was the first to report the deal.

Financial terms will be released on July 1st when free agency opens. Pickard will compete against veteran Jonathan Bernier in training camp for the privilege of backing up Jimmy Howard.

Calvin Pickard to sign with the Detroit Red Wings

Pickard’s 2018-2019 NHL campaign was split between the Philadelphia Flyers and Arizona Coyotes. The 26-year-old appeared in 17 games and posted a .875 save percentage with a 3.86 goals-against-average. Those numbers were poor enough to rank Pickard in the bottom third of all goaltenders this past season. He currently sports a career save percentage of .914 and goals-against-average of 2.77. The potential is there, but he needs to put up better numbers quickly if he’s going to stick with Detroit.

One thing to note is that Pickard had better numbers in Arizona than he did in Philly. He would also be cheaper than Bernier’s cap hit of 3 million.

What This Means for the Future

Bernier appeared in 35 games with Detroit and had solid if unspectacular stats. His .904 save percentage and 3.16 goals-against were average, but clearly, Detroit is looking in a younger direction if they are giving the 30-year-old some competition. Bernier’s career numbers are close enough to Pickard’s, .912 save and 2.36 goals-against, that the relative lack of experience doesn’t seem to bother the rebuilding Red Wings.

Bernier has been a fine goalie over an 11-year career that has seen him win a Stanley Cup with the LA Kings as a backup and produce for a number of other teams, so it’s likely he finds a job if Detroit sends him elsewhere after training camp.

This deal represents a great opportunity for Pickard to get his career back on track. His best numbers were several years ago with the Colorado Avalanche. His most recent season was bad enough that he spent some time with Arizona’s AHL affiliate, so any improvement will be good for the young-ish goaltender.

The third member affected by this deal is also the oldest. Howard turned 35 in March and posted a .909 save percentage and a 3.07 goals-against. His age, combined with his 4 million dollar cap hit, gives Detroit every reason to bring in a younger option. Howard is still a capable starter but will be an unrestricted free agent after the 2019-2020 season. The battle between Pickard and Bernier represents the possible future Red Wings starter.

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