Detroit Red Wings: Expect a Healthy Competition between the Pipes

DETROIT, MI - MARCH 27: Jimmy Howard #35 of the Detroit Red Wings blocks this shot wide of the net during the Detroit Red Wings game versus the Pittsburgh Penguins on March 27, 2018, at Little Caesars Arena in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Steven King/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
DETROIT, MI - MARCH 27: Jimmy Howard #35 of the Detroit Red Wings blocks this shot wide of the net during the Detroit Red Wings game versus the Pittsburgh Penguins on March 27, 2018, at Little Caesars Arena in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Steven King/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images) /
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The Detroit Red Wings signed Jonathan Bernier this summer to take some pressure off of Jimmy Howard.  Also to help lighten Howard’s workload.

The Detroit Red Wings decided to bring in unrestricted free agent Johnathan Bernier this summer to split time in goal with Jimmy HowardJonathan Bernier posted almost identical numbers to Howard last season minus the number of games played.

Last season Bernier played for the Colorado Avalanche (puke).  In 37 appearances Bernier recorded 19 wins, 13 losses, and 3 ties.  Bernier achieved a mediocre .913 save percentage, and 2.85 goals against average.

Bernier who is 30 years old just signed a 3-year-deal with the Red Wings that averages 3 million per season.

Jimmy Howard appeared in 60 contests for the Detroit Red Wings last season.  Howard who is set to turn 35 years old this March, is expected to see a reduced workload with Bernier in town. Howard had an ugly 22-27-9 record last season.  It was not all his fault of course, with a weak team playing in front of him.  Howard didn’t exactly help himself at times either though.

Jimmy Howard is entering the final year of his lucrative 5.25 million per season contract.  Jimmy Howard will see a drastic decline in salary when he signs a new contract next summer.

Howard posted a .910 save percentage, along with a 2.85 goals against average.  Both statistics are nearly mirroring Bernier.  So did the Detroit Red Wings upgrade in-goal?  I would say they did not upgrade the starting goaltending, but they certainly improved as a group.  Jared Coreau was atrocious last season after Petr Mrazek found a new home.

Mrazek left Wings fans with high hopes that soon became flattened. The common problem with Mrazek was game to game inconsistency.  You never did know what Mrazek you would see on a night to night basis.  Maybe he would be brilliant, or he could be dreadful.

Per Arthur J. Regner of DetroitRedWings.com Jeff Blashill is eyeing a 50-30 game split this season for his netminders;

"“Jimmy has been a really good goalie for us for two years without question, but I had to overwork him last year. I’d like to stay away from any one goalie playing 60 games,” Blashill said. “I’d like it to be closer to that 50-30 split because the games are so close. They got to be in on their game so much, there’s zero room for error at the goaltending position on our hockey team that if you get to a 50-30 split, it makes more sense.“But I’m also going to watch. Ultimately, guys decide who plays more based on their play over a long period of time. But certainly, I think Jimmy has been great for us for two years.”"

Blashill refers to Howard as being “great” over the past two years.  That is a stretch.  I understand he isn’t going to say Howard has been average at best or ranked in the bottom 10 in all significant starting goaltending categories.

The Detroit Red Wings settled for mediocrity in-goal, but it will be consistently mediocre.  The Detroit Red Wings had an opportunity to sign Carter Hutton, who would have been my first choice.  They elected to go with Bernier.

Next. Four More For the Rafters in Motown. dark

I could see close to a 41/41 game split between the two goalies this season.  With the Detroit Red Wings rebuilding they still have time to find their future goaltender.  Trust me, neither of these two will be Red Wings when the team has arrived back into contention.