Detroit Red Wings: Quick Thought on Jimmy Howard and His Future

DETROIT, MI - OCTOBER 04: Detroit Red Wings goaltender Jimmy Howard (35) moves over for a shot on goal during the Detroit Red Wings game versus the Columbus Blue Jackets on October 4, 2018, at Little Caesars Arena in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Steven King/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
DETROIT, MI - OCTOBER 04: Detroit Red Wings goaltender Jimmy Howard (35) moves over for a shot on goal during the Detroit Red Wings game versus the Columbus Blue Jackets on October 4, 2018, at Little Caesars Arena in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Steven King/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images) /
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Jimmy Howard has played exceptionally well for the Detroit Red Wings through his first two starts of the season.  The Wings along with Jimmy will be seeking their first win of the season.

The Detroit Red Wings netminder who I have been critical of in the past, is off to a nice start this season.  Wins are expected to come at a premium this season for the club who hails in Motown.  The rebuilding Red Wings will leave their veteran goaltender quite exposed at times which won’t help his statistics.

I still believe a guy like Howard has a few miles left on his career but I don’t think it should be in Detroit.  Howard who finished second to Tyler Myers in the 2009/10 Calder Trophy vote merely won the award.  He has seen some bright moments and success while his club had been very solid in front of him.  Over the last four seasons he has been hampered with various injuries and his statistics have dipped due to age and a poorer crop of players in front of him.

He has never been that guy throughout his career who can steal a series though.  The Detroit Red Wings should be fielding offers throughout the season.  If a playoff team loses a goaltender for an extended amount of time down the stretch, Ken Holland should be the first to pick up his phone and call.

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Howard is in the final year of his long-term deal.  He has a large cap hit of 5.25 million per season.  The cap hit makes it difficult to find a trade partner but if the right circumstance arises the Detroit Red Wings need to pull the trigger.  They should entertain eating a little of his salary if they can acquire a mid round draft choice for him.  The reason for retaining some salary is because it will be of the books at the conclusion of the season anyway.

The key to this though is his performance all season long.  If Jimmy Howard remains healthy this season and continues to produce appearance after appearance like he did against Columbus and Anaheim there would be a real potential to move especially as injuries start to occur around the league.

You will notice we published this before the game tonight vs the Toronto Maple Leafs.  There is a real possibility the Wings get shelled tonight but it won’t be all on Howard.  The Leafs have scored 7 goals in each of their last two games.  A broken down Detroit Red Wings defense core won’t aid Howard much help.

I wonder if a team like the Philadelphia Flyers would be interested in Howard?  I don’t know if he would serve as much of an upgrade from Brian Elliott but Howard has proven to be successful with a better team in front of him.  Also would they Flyers ever want to make a deal with the Wings for a goaltender after Petr Mrazek didn’t work out for them.

Speaking of Mrazek he is in Carolina and was expected to get his fair share of the work early with Scott Darling on the shelf.  He hasn’t fared well in his 2 starts posting a .841 save percentage and an uninspiring 3.52 GAA.  He has allowed 7 goals in 2 starts.

His below average performance has led the Canes to select Curtis McElhinney off of waivers from the Toronto Maple Leafs.  He won’t be the option down the stretch but he has started two games for the Canes. He’s only allowed 2 goals against and won both of his starts.

Scott Darling was expected to be the guy in Carolina splitting time with Mrazek after the Canes decided to part ways with long time goalie Cam Ward.  Carolina is an up and coming team that is expected to surprise some people.  Carolina and Jimmy Howard may be a good fit for one another as the season wears on.  He along with Darling could bring stability to the back-end for the up and coming Canes.

I think it would be in Detroit’s best interest to avoid re-signing Jimmy Howard at the end of the season.  Jonathan Bernier is a capable goaltender who has the ability to keep the seat warm until a young goaltender emerges through the system.  Harri Sateri in Grand Rapids is also much cheaper and quite possibly reliable enough to be a backup Bernier and be a 20 start guy in the NHL.

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He definitely won’t “wow” anyone but the Wings are rebuilding so why bring back a 35-year-old in net?  Keep in mind, just because he has played his entire career in Detroit thus far doesn’t mean he has to finish it in Detroit.