The Detroit Red Wings have announced that the team has officially loaned goaltender Calvin Pickard to Austria’s Vienna Capitals, where he will play until the 2020-21 season officially gets underway. Although the Finnish Liiga has announced it will go on hiatus until December 19, the majority of professional leagues overseas remain in action.
As a way to stay in shape during the current lockdowns in various NHL cities, players have been travelling across the ocean to find new playing homes. The Winnipeg product will surely use this opportunity as a conditioning stint, following a 2019-20 season that saw the 28-year-old play more games within the AHL than the NHL.
The former Winnipeg Monarch star goaltender worked his way onto the Colorado Avalanche following four successful campaigns with the Western Hockey League’s Seattle Thunderbirds. He spent three seasons with the Avalanche before juggling time between the Toronto Maple Leafs, Philadelphia Flyers, Arizona Coyotes and the Red Wings the past three years. He owns a 32-52-9 record, while sporting four career shutouts, a 3.00 goals against average and a .905 save percentage in 107 NHL games played.
For Pickard, the reason that Vienna was selected as the desired location of play, is the fact that Capitals regular goaltender Sebastian Wraneschitz is set to depart for the upcoming 2021 IIHF World Junior Hockey Championship (running December 25 to January 5 in Edmonton, AB.).
Pickard now joins fellow Red Wings Michael Rasmussen, Filip Zadina, Filip Hronek, Morris Seidel, Joe Veleno, Gustav Lindstrom, and Filip Larson overseas. With the NHL’s ongoing contractual dispute with the Players’ Association, the proposed January 1, 2021 return date seems exceptionally unlikely at this point. The American Hockey League’s proposed start date is set for February 5.