Originally posted on Fox Sports Detroit  |  Last updated 7/1/12
The Red Wings' first step in free agency was not the big name but an insurance signing. On Sunday, they signed goaltender Jonas Gustavsson to a two-year deal. Jimmy Howard is the starter and Joey MacDonald filled in nicely last season when Howard was injured and Ty Conklin faltered. But MacDonald went down with a back injury late in the season and although he expected to be ready to play, the Wings had to protect themselves in case he was not. Gustavsson, speaking via conference call with Detroit reporters, said he was glad to land in Detroit after spending the last three seasons with the Toronto Maple Leafs. "I heard Detroit wanted me, I was happy about that," Gustavsson said. "It's a great team with a lot of history and they always have a good roster." For his career, Gustavsson is 39-45 with a 2.98 goals-against average and .900 save percentage. This past season, the 27-year-old was 17-17 with a 2.92 goals-against average, .902 save percentage and four shutouts. With Howard, who made the All-Star team for the first time last season, already established as Detroit's top goaltender, Gustavsson is aware that he will be the backup. "I'm here to help the team and it doesn't matter how that is," Gustavsson said. "If that's being the backup goalie that pushes the other goalie and helps pushes my teammates then that's the role I'm going to take. "For me it's all about trying to become a better goalie every day and maybe one day I'll be the guy that plays all the games." The goaltender whose nickname is The Monster has had health scares due to a heart condition. Gustavsson has had three minor heart ablation surgeries, the most recent in February of 2011, but said he is completely healthy. "Last year I felt great," Gustavsson said. "I didn't feel anything with my heart problems, like I had before. Overall, the only small minor issue that I had was that game that I missed I took a shot on my knee. My health I would say is 100 percent." Gustavsson said he doesn't even think about the heart issues anymore. "Of course when it comes to heart issues you don't want to deal with that, but from what I've been told it's nothing that's going to affect me or nothing that's real serious so it's a relief for me and I can put it behind me and move on," he said. Although the native of Danderyd, Sweden, knows the Red Wings are known for their large Swedish contingent, that was not the main reason he signed with them. "I've played with all of them I think except (Tomas) Holmstrom in the World Championships, the Olympics and so on," Gustavsson said. "When you know someone there on a new team that helps, but in the end the biggest reason for me coming to Detroit I feel that was the right move for me to keep my development going in the right direction and that's the most important thing for me. I feel I become a better goalie every day and in order to keep doing that I felt coming to Detroit was the best choice for me."
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