With the departure of Jason LaBarbera to Edmonton, many Coyotes fans believed that Chad Johnson was in line to inherit the backup job. But GMDM thought otherwise, and opted to sign former San Jose Sharks' goaltender Thomas Greiss. Per Darren Dreger:
$750,000 for Greiss on 1 year deal with Arizona Coyotes.
$750,000 for Greiss on 1 year deal with Arizona Coyotes.— Darren Dreger (@DarrenDreger) July 5, 2013
Greiss has been a part of the Sharks system for several years now, but ultimately got lost in the mix between Antti Niemi, Antero Niittymaki, and Alex Stalock. In 44 career NHL games, Greiss is 17-16-3 with a 2.52 GAA and a .912 SV%. His contract represents a roughly $500K improvement on the LaBarbera contract, though with one fewer year.
It remains to be seen if Greiss can be the backup netminder that takes some of the pressure off of Mike Smith. Both Ilya Bryzgalov and Mike Smith started 65+ games in each full season in Phoenix. And as we saw last year, Mike Smith ran into problems when minor injuries derailed parts of his season. If Greiss can fill that role, this should be a solid signing for the Coyotes.