The Detroit Red Wings recently completed a trade sending defenseman Vili Saarijärvi to the Arizona Coyotes for goaltender Eric Comrie. The move comes in response to the Red Wings’ goaltending struggles as of late and Jimmy Howard’s injury.
With the Detroit Red Wings goaltenders posting a combined 3.66 Goals Against Average this season, it is pretty evident that the team has a goaltending issue. The finger can be pointed to the struggling defense as well, and the blame game starts, but the goaltending has not been pretty.
Detroit’s GM Steve Yzerman decided that a fresh face in the goaltending mix might reinvigorate the team as well as turn things around. This trade came soon after Jimmy Howard was pulled from a game against the Toronto Maple Leafs with an injury that appears it could be long term.
Red Wings coach, Jeff Blashill, spoke on the subject claiming that he does not believe that Howard will be out long term, but there was no official report given on his status. The real question is, is Comrie supposed to be a temporary replacement, a depth-addition, or what?
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Comrie is a twenty-four-year-old goaltender who has was drafted by the Winnipeg Jets in the second round of the 2013 draft. Since then, he has played his way between the AHL and NHL, spending most of his time in the minors. He is a 6-foot-1, 181-pound goaltender who had not seen the NHL with the Coyotes in 2019-20.
Comrie will get a fresh start with Detroit who’s struggling goaltending has become an issue for the organization who is surging towards a lottery pick quite early on in the season. For the Coyotes AHL affiliate the Tucson Roadrunners, Comrie had played in four games, taking wins in all four with a 2.75 GAA and .900 SV%. The Red Wings have yet to deploy him, but for the time being, Calvin Pickard was serving as the team’s “backup.”
On the flip side, the Red Wings sent Vili Saarijärvi to the Coyotes in the trade, giving him a fresh start as well. Saarijärvi is a twenty-two-year-old defenseman who never got it going with the Red Wings. This season with the Wings AHL affiliate, Saarijärvi only had one assist through thirteen games with the Grand Rapids Griffins.
This trade should offer him a fresh start with a new organization. Saarijärvi started with a lot of upside and possibility for growth with the Red Wings, he was not able to get things going, and his upside decreased as he struggled. Hopefully, he can get things going in Arizona.
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All-in-all, Comrie will be a depth addition who could hopefully win some games for the Red Wings while not allowing four goals game in net. Both players get a fresh start with a new organization, Comrie should be able to get some starts in while the Red Wings await the return of Jimmy Howard and funnel through Jonathan Bernier, Calvin Pickard, and now, Comrie.