Curtis Joseph, widely reguarded as the best goaltender available in this summer’s crop of free agents, is reportedly set to sign with the Detroit Red Wings. A late-morning press conference has been called to announce the signing.
Joseph, a Calgary Flames for two days after his rights were traded by the Toronto Maple Leafs, has also played with the St. Louis Blues and Edmonton Oilers. He backstopped the Maple Leafs to the Eastern Conference Finals in 2002 and played for Team Canada at the Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City.
Reportedly, Joseph spurned a three-year, $26 million deal from the Maple Leafs to accept a $24 million, three year deal with incentives for a fourth year and bonuses for winning the Stanley Cup.
Joseph comes to Detroit to replace Dominik Hasek, who retired after leading the Red Wings to a Stanley Cup Championship this spring.
The thirty-five year old Joseph made it clear that he intended to come to a Cup contender. Joseph has never won the Stanley Cup.
It will be the second time in the last three attempts that the Red Wings will try to repeat as Stanley Cup Champions while riding a different goalie. After winning in 1997, Mike Vernon was sent to San Jose as Chris Osgood sucessfully defended the Wings’ championship. Osgood was kept around after the 1998 Cup win. Hasek led the Wings to the 2002 Cup but retired last week.