On Wednesday afternoon, the Detroit Red Wings announced that they had signed 31-year-old goaltender Magnus Hellberg to a one-year contract for the remainder of the season.
The 6’6 209, pound Swede most recently played for Sochi HC of the KHL this season, where in 37 games, he had a goals-against-average of 2.42 and a save percentage of .917.
Initially drafted by the Nashville Predators in 2011, Hellberg has only made four appearances in the NHL over the course of 5 seasons in North America. In 2016-17, Hellberg played two games for the New York Rangers, putting up a goals-against-average of 1.58 and a save percentage of .929.
Hellberg has made a name for himself in the KHL over the past few seasons as in 169 games played, he has a record of 81-64-14, and a save percentage of .927. He also represented Team Sweden at the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing, where in two games, he posted a record of 1-1, a goals-against-average of 2.46, and a save percentage of .927.
This is the second time over the past week that the Red Wings have leaned on their European pro scouting department and signed a free agent, the prior being Pontus Andreasson.
With the Red Wings’ struggles in goal this year and the expiring contract to veteran netminder Thomas Greiss, this gives the team additional depth and possibly even an early look at a potential backup option behind Alex Nedeljkovic next season.
Another possibility is that Hellberg was signed to ease some of the workload off AHL rookie goalie Victor Brattstrom, who has had most of the starts in Grand Rapids with the injury to Calvin Pickard.