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 John Tlumacki/The Boston Globe via Getty Images) /

Option 4: Trade Howard, let Bernier walk after two years, spend money on a goalie in free agency

Draft picks aside, another option the Red Wings have is to wait around for the 2021 free agent class. This class runs pretty deep, the only negative here is that the Red Wings will be looking at Dominik Hasek 2.0, and we could only hope that whoever we bring in could be successful like Hasek was.

The following is the list of goalies who will be unrestricted free agents in the 2021 offseason from Sportac.com

  1. Henrik Lundquist-39
  2. Tuukka Rask– 34
  3. Pekka Rinne– 38
  4. Frederik Andersen– 31
  5. Jake Allen– 31
  6. Devan Dubnyk– 35
  7. Antti Raanta– 32
  8. Scott Darling– 32
  9. James Reimer– 33
  10. Phillip Grubauer- 29
  11. Carter Hutton– 35
  12. Charlie Lindgren– 27

Looking at this list, it seems like signing someone like Andersen or Allen to a nice 3-4 year contract would do wonders for the Red Wings. That is of course if they have not been extended by their current teams already. If the Red Wings find a way to be competitive in the next two years and simply want a stopgap until the young goalies are ready, it sure seems like they could get a solid 2 years out of someone like Rask, Rinne, or Devan Dubnyk.

Option 5: Keep Howard, re-sign him in the offseason

Perhaps, the easiest option of all six listed here comes in the form or doing nothing. Howard now 34, will hit the market at the age of 35 this offseason assuming the Red Wings do not trade him. If you haven’t noticed, all the options seem to tie back to the prospects we currently have and it would seem like bringing Howard back on more of a short-term deal like a 2-4 year deal would simply allow us to keep a solid goaltender (providing Howard plays the way he has been) as well as even more time for the players to develop. Essentially, if the Red Wings are dead set on using one of the goalies they have within their system, the answer may lie here, holding off on trading him and then re-signing him this offseason. If they are able to bring Howard back, they can most likely be assured that at least one of their prospects will be ready by the team Howard’s new contract ends.