Last season had a few new things in store for the Detroit Red Wings; a move to the Eastern Conference, and a struggling Jimmy Howard Both items put the Red Wings Playoff streak in jeopardy, but luckily for the Red Wings they found a way in. This season Jimmy Howard had better find his game or he may find himself searching for answers from the press box.
Howard is 30- years-old and is entering the second year of a six-year deal worth $31, 750,000; I’d be shocked to see Howard make it past the fourth year of this contract, but anything is possible. Last season Howard had 21 wins and had a .910 save percentage to show for his efforts. On the surface that number doesn’t look too bad, but when you take in to consideration the top starting goaltenders put up save percentage of .930 (Tuukka Rask), and Howard’s .910 puts him 54th on the list of all goaltenders from last season.
You can’t judge everything from stats, and there were other factors that hurt the Red Wings last season. There was the new Conference, but keep in mind Detroit wanted to go East, so really that’s the franchises fault. Jimmy Howard will carry a $5,291,667 cap hit through the end if his deal, and if you are only going to get 21 wins the Red Wings will need a new starting goaltender. For those Red Wings fans out there I understand how much some of you like Howard. He is really is an “All- American” goaltender. But, if you are expecting a stretch of play that sees him rack up 109 wins (2009-2012) in the next three years you may not like the results.
Just because I know its coming I will say Howard did have to deal with a few injuries last season. He had knee problems and a hip flexor injury both forced him to miss playing time. If Howard is 100% health coming into the 2014-2015 season he may just be lucky enough to catch lightning in a bottle and show the NHL that at 30-years-old he still has gas in the tank.