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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
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 - WSH 82 56 18 8 252 193 120
2 x - PIT 82 48 26 8 245 203 104
3 y - FLA 82 47 26 9 239 203 103
4 x - NYR 82 46 27 9 236 217 101
5 x - NYI 82 45 27 10 232 216 100
6 x - TBL 82 46 31 5 227 201 97
7 x - PHI 82 41 27 14 214 218 96
8 x - DET 82 41 30 11 211 224 93
9 BOS 82 42 31 9 240 230 93
10 CAR 82 35 31 16 198 226 86
11 OTT 82 38 35 9 236 247 85
12 NJD 82 38 36 8 184 208 84
13 MTL 82 38 38 6 221 236 82
14 BUF 82 35 36 11 201 222 81
15 CBJ 82 34 40 8 219 252 76
16 TOR 82 29 42 11 198 246 69

STATS

2015-2016 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
H. Zetterberg 82 13 37 -15 50
D. Larkin 80 23 22 11 45
T. Tatar 81 21 24 4 45
G. Nyquist 82 17 26 -2 43
J. Abdelkader 82 19 23 -16 42
M. Green 74 7 28 -6 35
B. Richards 68 10 18 4 28
D. Helm 77 13 13 -2 26
N. Kronwall 64 3 23 -21 26
R. Sheahan 81 14 11 -8 25
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
P. Mrazek 27 16 6 .921 2.33
J. Howard 14 14 5 .906 2.80