Exploring the Detroit Red Wings future Goaltending Options

DETROIT, MI - NOVEMBER 26: Jimmy Howard #35 of the Detroit Red Wings reacts to a shot against the Columbus Blue Jackets during an NHL game at Little Caesars Arena on November 26, 2018 in Detroit, Michigan. The Blue Jackets defeated the Wings 7-5. (Photo by Dave Reginek/NHLI via Getty Images)
DETROIT, MI - NOVEMBER 26: Jimmy Howard #35 of the Detroit Red Wings reacts to a shot against the Columbus Blue Jackets during an NHL game at Little Caesars Arena on November 26, 2018 in Detroit, Michigan. The Blue Jackets defeated the Wings 7-5. (Photo by Dave Reginek/NHLI via Getty Images) /
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(Photo by Andy Devlin/NHLI via Getty Images) /

The Detroit Red Wings are open for business this trade deadline with Jimmy Howard and Gustav Nyquist headlining the rumors. What does this mean for the Red Wings netminders of the future?

As February 26th NHL trade deadline gets closer and closer, the rumors are only going to heat up around the league. The Detroit Red Wings have already set the asking price for their trade rumor headliners. As fellow Octopus Thrower contributor recently wrote, the price for both Gustav Nyquist and Jimmy Howard; the at a first round pick.

Howard’s future is uncertain at the time, after February 26th, there is a decent chance he will no longer be donning a winged wheel jersey, he is under contract through this year and will become an unrestricted free agent this summer. Through 32 starts, Howard is 13-13-5 with a Goals Against Advantage (GAA) of 2.78 and Save Percentage (SV%) of .915% for the Red Wings this year. Howard’s counterpart Jonathan Bernier has started in 18 games and has a record of 5-12-2 with a GAA of 3.52 and SV% of .892 for the Red Wings. Obviously, Bernier is not having the best statistical year, but he is under contract for the next two years until the conclusion of the 2020-21 season.

There are a ton of possibilities for the Detroit Red Wings goaltending situation, here are the six that seem the most practical and possible given the Red Wings front office track record, as well as feasibility of each of the option. The six options are…

Option 1: Trade Howard, make Bernier starter

As mentioned above, Howard is definitely on the table, and the Detroit Red Wings are more than willing to move him for the right price. (i.e. at least a first round pick, maybe more) If Howard gets moved, Bernier is going to move into the starting role, which means that he is going to need to get his game under control and try to turn his numbers around for the second half of the season. Assuming we keep Bernier around for the full extent of his contract, that would mean we have two years to groom one of our minor league goalies into an NHL capable starter. Bernier is definitely not capable of being an everyday starter but if we were to bring a goalie up from the AHL team, we could possibly groom them slowly into that role as time goes on.

If we commit to Bernier he will have two years to make a name for himself, though he is 30 now he could potentially turn his game around and become a starter which would allow more time for the young goalies like Kaden Fulcher, Filipp Larsson, and Keith Petruzzelli to age and develop.