Joey MacDonald requests trade

In light of yesterday’s acquisition of former Toronto Maple Leafs goaltender Jonas Gustavsson, the incumbent number two netminder in Detroit has asked the Red Wings to trade him to a team where he’ll be able to play NHL minutes. Joey MacDonald stepped in very admirably when Jimmy Howard went down with an injury last season (and Ty Conklin proved ineffective), and he’s on a one-way deal this season, meaning he’ll make the same salary if he plays in the NHL or in the AHL.

But it also means is that he’ll have to clear re-entry waivers to be recalled from Grand Rapids, and the Red Wings don’t like to take those kinds of risks since another team can claim MacDonald and the Wings would still be on the hook for half of his salary and cap hit without the use of the player. So it’s unlikely that he’d be recalled all season.

Andy Strickland of broke the story this morning via Twitter:

The acquisition of Gustavsson made it clear that the Wings wanted a reliable backup to Howard and they were concerned that MacDonald’s back (bulging disc) wouldn’t be well enough to carry that load, should he be needed for more than a few games. Making matters even stickier is that the Wings have four goaltenders that are slated for Grand Rapids next season: MacDonald, Jordan Pearce, Thomas McCollum, and Petr Mrazek. Pearce is entering the final year of his second deal with the Red Wings and will likely pursue medical school if he can’t make the jump to the NHL (which no one is expecting of him). McCollum is entering the final year of his deal with the Wings and has had a heck of a time even sticking in Grand Rapids (instead, playing bigger minutes in Toledo of the ECHL). Mrazek is turning pro this season and is the best goaltending prospect the Wings have had in a long time (so he belongs in Grand Rapids playing as much as he can).

Hopefully Joey MacDonald and the Red Wings can find a mutually agreeable destination for Joey Mac’s services and we wish him nothing but the best. He’s been a great Red Wing and hope he has a chance to play in the big leagues somewhere in 2012-13. Of course, there’s a chance that he plays himself into the #2 position (again) in training camp and that he doesn’t go anywhere, but the crease is getting a little clogged in both Detroit and Grand Rapids…

Photo Credit: Justin K. Aller, Getty Images North America