Mike Palmateer, the Washington Capitals acrobatic and injury-prone goaltender, may be wearing a Detroit Red Wings uniform soon, sources have told The Washington Post.
Jim Devellano, Detroit general manager, said yesterday that he is "very much interested in any one of Washington's three goaltenders (Palmateer, Dave Parro and Pat Riggin)" and confirmed that he has discussed the matter with Roger Crozier, Capitals acting general manager.
"I have only one goalie (Gilles Gilbert)" he said. "The Caps have three. I haven't talked to Roger in maybe a week, but I am interested."
The Capitals, in the midst of a drive to sell 7,500 season tickets and a full house for the first 10 home games as conditions to keep the franchise here, are known to be interested in making a major trade, preferably for a defenseman.
Neither Crozier nor Capitals Coach Bryan Murray could be reached for comment.
Devellano has never met or spoken to Palmateer, but described him as "a real talent, when he's healthy."
"Obviously, there's some risk involved (with Palmateer)," he said. "There are two factors to think of regarding Palmateer. How are his knees, and his salary? He's on a high ticket."
Palmateer has had knee trouble in the past, and last year crushed some bones in his right knee during training camp. In December he underwent surgery to remove the floating cartilage. He last played on Nov. 28.
Palmateer is going into the third season of a three-year-plus-one (option year) contract at $200,000 per year. Yesterday he said he had heard nothing about being traded, and has not requested a trade.
"I want to stay here and play," he said. "The only thing I've ever said (to management) is if you're planning to sit me out, then I'll go."
Of the team's three-goalie situation, Palmateer said, "It won't be an easy chore for me to break in. But it's not up to us (the goalies) as much as it's up to management. All I'm doing is concentrating on getting healthy."
Devellano, the New York Islanders' chief scout until this summer, said he does not know if Palmateer's skill has deteriorated.
"No one is sure how good he is, because he's been out so long," he said. "His salary might be somewhat of a deterrent, but it's never much of a question if a guy can play and play well."