DETROIT – For the second time in his career, backup goalie Joey MacDonald has been claimed by another NHL club after the Red Wings placed him on waivers.
On Monday, the 33-year-old MacDonald, who has battled lower back issues for several seasons now, was claimed by the Calgary Flames.
The Boston Bruins claimed MacDonald when the Wings waived the netminder in Feb. 2007. He signed a two-year contract with Detroit prior to the 2010-11 season and was a solid backup option when starter Jimmy Howard was injured or needed a rest. MacDonald also played for the New York Islanders (2007-09) and Toronto (2009-10).
MacDonald always played well in Detroit. Last year, he won seven straight games and finished with an 8-5-1 record and a 2.16 goals-against average. But his back pain flared up last March during a game in Anaheim and he hasn’t played since. He was diagnosed with a degenerative disc, however, surgery wasn’t necessary.
But with the off-season signing of Swedish netminder Jonas Gustavsson and the emergence of prospect Petr Mrazek, the writing was on the wall for MacDonald who now heads to his fifth different team in seven years.
The Red Wings originally signed MacDonald as an undrafted free agent in Dec. 2001, and spent the next five seasons in the Wings’ farm system between Toledo and Grand Rapids.
In 101 NHL games, MacDonald is 31-48-13 with a 3.04 GAA and a .903 save percentage.
The Flames likely felt that MacDonald could be an insurance policy for starter Miikka Kiprusoff, who suffered a knee injury in the first period of last week’s loss to the Wings in Detroit.
Kiprusoff’s injury isn’t thought to be serious, but the Flames still put their veteran goalie on injured reserve. He’s eligible to return for Wednesday’s game against the Dallas Stars. The Flames also have 24-year-old goalie Leland Irving in the mix, but MacDonald will provide depth.
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