DETROIT – The answer to who will be Jimmy Howard’s backup next season should come by the end of this week.
That’s when Wings general manager Ken Holland will meet with Chris Osgood to discuss his future with the organization.
“His initial reaction was he wants to play,” Holland said in a phone interview Tuesday afternoon. “Now he’s gone to Europe and had more time to think. I think the biggest thing is, time has gone by and you really start to decide what your priorities in life really are. I think it’s a good time now to sit down with him and talk about it.”
The two will meet Thursday night in British Columbia, Canada.
Osgood, 38, returned Tuesday 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.
Holland said he has been texting back and forth with Osgood since he returned.
“We’re going to have a conversation face-to-face,” Holland said. “Sometime on Friday or Saturday, after talking to him, I’ll probably have a decision on what we’re doing.”
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.
“We explored (free agents on) July 1,” Holland said. “We had some interest in some guys and they chose to go elsewhere. We wake up after the dust settles on July 4 or July 5 and obviously Chris Osgood is still a legitimate candidate.
“It all depends what his thoughts are,” Holland added. “I want to talk to him and see what he’s thinking. That doesn’t mean if he wants the job it’s his job. I want to talk to him. Let’s take one step at a time. Let me talk to him.”
As for Holland’s gut feeling on what he thinks Osgood will say, he doesn’t really know.
“And that’s why I want to sit down with him,” Holland said. “I don’t know that he really knows.
“If he’s not ready to make a decision, that is a decision I would say,” Holland ended.
Holland has also had talks with former Wing Ty 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.
On Monday, the Wings re-signed goalie Joey MacDonald, 31, to a two-year contract. The first year of the deal is a two-way with the final year being a one-way contract.
“He understands he’s the third goalie going into the season,” Holland said Monday. “His experience will help us in Grand Rapids.”
“I’m going to camp and fighting for the No. 2 job,” MacDonald said on Monday. “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.”