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NHL Free Agents 2011: The Red Wings Must Quickly Decide, Turco or Osgood?

AP PHOTO
AP PHOTO
Kyle GibbonsAnalyst IIIJuly 10, 2011

With the signing of Ian White, and the retention of Jonathan Ericsson, the Detroit Red Wings will most likely carry a total of seven defensemen. Detroit Red Wings general manager Ken Holland has even said that he hasn’t ruled out the possibility of carrying a total of eight.

The eighth being top prospect Brendan Smith, who barring an injury most likely wouldn’t join the team until the playoffs.

"We're comfortable with our defense, but if something came up between now and training camp we'll definitely explore and look at it,'' Holland said. “We got nine guys that can play in the NHL. We got depth.''

It seems as if Holland’s general perception is that for the most part, following a few key acquisitions, he feels as if he has a team that is competitive now.

“As far as skaters, we're probably done for now,'' Holland said.”We'll continue to explore the market.''

But there is one position that Ken Holland and the Detroit Red Wings have yet to address this offseason: the backup goalie position.

Current Red Wings goalie Jimmy Howard has proven a more than suitable starter in Detroit, finishing the 2010-11 regular season with a 37-17 win/loss and only 2.79 goals against average.

UNIONDALE, NY - JANUARY 12: Chris Osgood #30 of the Detroit Red Wings stops Richard Park #10 of the New York Islanders at the Nassau Coliseum on January 12, 2010 in Uniondale, New York. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

With Howard fully entrenched as the team’s starting goalie heading into the 2011-12 season, I expect Detroit to pursue a seasoned veteran capable of embracing the backup position, yet capable of being a shutdown goaltender when called upon.

Immediately when I looked at the available free agent goaltenders that have shown proficiency in the criteria listed above I thought of two names: Marty Turco and Chris Osgood.

First of all, Holland hasn’t ruled out the possibility of re-signing Osgood.

Osgood’s talents are of well documented history in Detroit, had it not been for a surgery to repair a sports hernia and other groin-related problems, which caused him to miss a majority of the 2010-11 season the decision to go with Osgood would be a no-brainer.

As a dedicated Red Wings fan for my entire life my heart says go with Osgood.

But as a realist, my head says go with Turco.

Turco at one time in his career was unquestionably one of the greatest goaltenders in all of the National Hockey League. Though at 35 years of age his abilities may have slightly diminished, but make no mistake, he would be a more than serviceable backup.

CHICAGO - OCTOBER 09: Marty Turco #30 of the Chicago Blackhawks takes a break in the action against the Detroit Red Wings during the Blackhawks season home opening game at the United Center on October 9, 2010 in Chicago, Illinois. The Red Wings defeated t
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Just last season the defending Stanley Cup champions Chicago Blackhawks signed Turco to a one-year deal in 2010, it was a move that was supposed to all but guarantee back-to-back championships for the Blackhawks.

Signing the great Turco as the teams backup goaltender would be the crowning achievement in an already fantastic Detroit Red Wings offseason.

Other teams have already made finding a goaltender via free agency a priority. Such as the Washington Capitals’ decision to lock in Tomas Vokoun to a one-year, $1.5 million contract.

If Detroit intends on passing on “Ozzie” in favor of Turco, they had better act quick—Turco won’t be available for much longer.

And in my mind, Turco is Detroit’s best option.

 

I apologize in advance for the blasphemous photos of Turco in the Stars and Blackhawks jerseys.

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