The future is uncertain for Detroit Red Wings goaltender Thomas Greiss

(Kiyoshi Mio-USA TODAY Sports)
(Kiyoshi Mio-USA TODAY Sports) /

The Detroit Red Wings have a quality netminder in Alex Nedeljkovic, who has been able to maintain the team’s starting gig and become the go-to guy. But, when it comes to backups, they are working with Thomas Greiss, who is on an expiring contract.

For the last two seasons, Greiss has served as one of the Detroit Red Wings goaltenders night in and night out, whether in a backup or platoon role. After the team opted to part ways with Jonathan Bernier in the deal that they acquired Nedeljkovic in.

While it seems like Nedeljkovic will be the team’s number one option moving forward, or for the duration of his extension through 2022-23, the team has to decide what to do about a backup goalie.

Given Greiss’s performance over the last two seasons, extending him is worth considering, but there are certainly a few things to consider. There’s still time left in this 2021-22 season, but Greiss needs to up his performance to really warrant a callback.

Detroit Red Wings goalie Thomas Greiss’s future is uncertain.

The Red Wings have not seen Greiss play very well in games where he does see the net. While he has spent some time in the COVID-19 protocols, he has been cleared and serves as the team’s backup once again.

His overall performance this year has not been the most exciting. He’s played in 16 games for the Red Wings, where he has a 6-7-1 record with a .894 save percentage and a 3.36 goals-against average.

In more recent years, over a larger sample, about double his totals for 2021-22, Greiss has posted stats more along the lines of a .912 save percentage and a 2.70 goals-against average. This would be much more deserving of a contract extension.

It’s hard not to consider age in this decision as well. While another one-year deal to buy the Red Wings some time to decide on the goalie market might not be bad, Greiss is 36 years old and will be turning 37 during the 2022-23 season.

The downturn in performance lately may cause concern for Steve Yzerman. Jumping the gun with an extension for a 36-year-old netminder could be worrisome. This is why I believe the Red Wings will forgo re-signing Greiss and see what the free-agent market has to offer.

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Even with Greiss’s cap hit being a measly $3 million annually over the last two years, it’s hard to see Yzerman wanting to shell out that type of capital once again for a backup netminder. If he were going to do so, it would be someone who can 100% indeed sustain a tandem/backup role alongside Nedeljkovic.