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Wings' goalie logjam has its benefits

Friday, 07.10.2009 / 1:03 PM ET / Features
By Adam Rice  - DetroitRedWings.com Intern
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Wings\' goalie logjam has its benefits
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DETROIT -- Currently, the Red Wings have four goalies competing for positions in both the NHL and AHL: Jimmy Howard, Daniel Larsson, Thomas McCollum and Jordan Pearce.

Chris Osgood is the only goalie guaranteed a roster spot.

The Wings have big plans for Howard, a 2003 second round pick. He will back-up Osgood this season now that Ty Conklin signed with St. Louis earlier this month.

The battle between youngsters Larsson, McCollum and Pearce is where things get interesting. McCollum and Pearce are both at Joe Louis Arena this week for the Red Wings’ development camp, which concludes on Sunday.

“I think it’s really exciting,” McCollum said. “There’s a lot of competition. It’s really just going to push everybody to play better and it’s only going to lead to good things for the team.”

McCollum, the Red Wings’ first round draft pick in 2008, posted impressive numbers with the Ontario Hockey League’s Guelph Storm and Brampton Battalion during the 2008-09 season: a 34-16-4 record with a .927 save percentage and 2.11 goals-against average.

“The big difference year-to-year is strength, especially with a big guy like that,” Wings goalie coach Jim Bedard said. “It’s lower-body strength. I think he had 23 playoff starts last year for Brampton -- his pulse has gone down, he’s more under control. He’s seen a lot of situations where there’s a lot of pressure.”

Prior to April, the goaltending pipeline seemed to be pretty clear: Howard would serve as Osgood’s backup in Detroit while McCollum and Larsson would battle for the starting position in Grand Rapids. However, Wings management signed Pearce, who played at Notre Dame, to a two-year contract in April.

“He’s been very good in the last couple years,” said Bedard, referring to Pearce. “He didn’t play much in his first few years of school but we think he could be a late developer. Obviously, he’s going to be a minor league depth guy to start off, but ultimately the players themselves decide where they are. They decide how hard they work when no one’s watching. It’s a good opportunity for him.”

Pearce, 22, was a candidate for the Central Collegiate Hockey Association’s player of the year. He posted a strong 30-6-3 record for the Fighting Irish, with a .931 save percentage, 1.68 goals-against average and eight shutouts.

Pearce said he is looking forward to next season, but has a backup plan in mind just in case things don’t go as planned with hockey.

“I was pre-med at Notre Dame and decided to go through with the med school applications,” he said. “I ended up getting accepted at a couple schools, but when the offer came to come up and play in Detroit, I knew I wanted to take a shot at it. So, whenever my career here is done, whether it be two years or 15 years down the road, I know what I need to do to get back (to medical school).”

McCollum, Pearce and Larsson will all compete for a starting role with the Griffins in the fall. The odd man out will likely be loaned to another AHL team.

“I’m trying to get better every day,” said McCollum, 19. “Hopefully I can become the starter in Grand Rapids, and get a lot of playing time there. If not, I’m going to play when I can and just do my best.”

Adam Rice is an intern in the Red Wings' New Media & Publishing Department at Joe Louis Arena.



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EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 p - NYR 82 53 22 7 248 187 113
2 y - MTL 82 50 22 10 214 184 110
3 x - TBL 82 50 24 8 259 206 108
4 x - WSH 82 45 26 11 237 199 101
5 x - NYI 82 47 28 7 245 224 101
6 x - DET 82 43 25 14 231 211 100
7 x - OTT 82 43 26 13 232 208 99
8 x - PIT 82 43 27 12 217 204 98
9 BOS 82 41 27 14 209 201 96
10 FLA 82 38 29 15 198 213 91
11 CBJ 82 42 35 5 227 248 89
12 PHI 82 33 31 18 212 223 84
13 NJD 82 32 36 14 176 209 78
14 CAR 82 30 41 11 183 219 71
15 TOR 82 30 44 8 206 257 68
16 BUF 82 23 51 8 153 269 54

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
H. Zetterberg 77 17 49 -6 66
P. Datsyuk 63 26 39 12 65
T. Tatar 82 29 27 6 56
G. Nyquist 82 27 27 -11 54
J. Abdelkader 71 23 21 3 44
N. Kronwall 80 9 35 -4 44
R. Sheahan 79 13 23 -3 36
D. Helm 75 15 18 7 33
D. DeKeyser 80 2 29 11 31
S. Weiss 52 9 16 -2 25
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
J. Howard 23 13 11 .910 2.44
P. Mrazek 16 9 2 .918 2.38

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