Despite larger offers in Russia, MacDonald chooses to re-sign with Wings

DETROIT – One down, one more to go.

The Wings added depth between the pipes Monday by re-signing Joey MacDonald to a two-year contract.

But MacDonald won’t be the guy backing up starter Jimmy Howard this season.

“He understands he’s the third goalie going into the season,” Wings general manager Ken Holland said. “He did a good job for us last season. He’s a veteran guy and a leader. His experience will help us in Grand Rapids.

“We’ve always liked him,” Holland added. “And he likes being in the organization.”

The first year of his deal is a two-way, which means MacDonald must clear waivers in order to be assigned to Grand Rapids. He’ll more than likely clear since he has gone this long in the offseason unsigned.

He’ll make $105,000 in the minors. If his salary was more he would have had to clear re-entry waivers.

The two-way deal also means he won’t have to clear through re-entry waivers if the Wings recall him due to an injury.

The second year of the contract is a one-way deal, which means he would have to clear re-entry waivers in order to be recalled from the minors.

If he makes the Wings he will make $550,000 a season.

MacDonald, 31, had sought to sign a one-way contract in the NHL this offseason. He also reportedly had an offer to play in Russia.

“He had some opportunities to play in Russia, but he prefers to be in the NHL,” Holland said. “If we need help we know more now than we did a year ago.”

MacDonald performed well last season for the Wings when he was recalled from Grand Rapids after Chris Osgood was injured.

He played in 15 games, going 5-5-3 and had a 2.58 goals-against average and save percentage of .917.

Despite having MacDonald back in the fold, that still doesn’t answer who will backup Howard this season.

“When they called, I was real excited,” said MacDonald, who has spent seven seasons in the Wings’ organization. “Grand Rapids is a great place to play, if it comes to that. It was kind of an easy decision to make.”

MacDonald said he was offered pretty much the same kind of deal with the Chicago Blackhawks and a number of Russian teams were interested.

“I was really considering (going to Russia), but I hoped it didn’t have to come down to that,” MacDonald said. “It would have been a tough situation keeping everybody back home. That factored into the decision.

“Some of the offers were for a lot of money, but it’s not the NHL,” MacDonald added. “Getting the one-way in year two was what I really wanted.”
That job will be either Osgood’s or possibly former Wing Ty Conklin.

Holland said he spoke with Osgood’s agent on Monday, but has yet to talk to Osgood.

Osgood, 38, is scheduled to return from a golf trip in Scotland with a number of his teammates. The trip was a gift they got him for recording his 400th career win last year.

“I want to talk to Chris,” Holland said. “There aren’t a lot of options. There are a couple of guys we have an interest in and there’s Chris Osgood. I want to talk to him before I make a decision.”

Osgood was sidelined midway through last season and wound up needing sports hernia surgery. He was unable to return after suffering a few setbacks during his recovery.

He last played on Jan. 4.

Osgood said during the end- of-season locker cleanout that hadn’t put much thought into returning for another season.

The Wings have also had talks with Conklin, 35, who remains unsigned.

Conklin played one season with Detroit (2008-09) and recorded a career-high 25 wins, going 25-11-2 with a 2.51 goals-against average and a .909 save percentage.

He played the last two seasons with the St. Louis Blues in a backup role, struggling last year with a record of 8-8-4 and a 3.22 goals-against average and .881 save percentage.

Conklin, who was not claimed when the Blues placed him on waivers last February, made $1.4 million last season.

“I’m going to camp and fighting for the No. 2 job,” MacDonald said. “It’s been the same way all 10 years of my career.

“If not, I’ll go to Grand Rapids and work my way up,” MacDonald added. “You have to be ready for all cases because things can change in a hurry.”
Holland also said he’s been contacted by one team that was looking to trade a goalie.

“I expect a decision this week,” said Holland, who will also talk to Kris Draper this week.


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