What’s Next for the Red Wings and Jimmy Howard?

He’s now 33 years old, and in year four of the six-year, 31.75 million dollar extension that was signed prior to the 2013-14 campaign.

Battling injuries, Howard has played in just 22 games this season after dealing with a reoccurring groin injury, and most recently, a sprained MCL.

Despite being limited on the year, Howard has posted a 1.91 goals against average to go with a .935 save percentage. Since his return between the pipes on March 10 vs. the Chicago Blackhawks, he holds a record of 4-1, allowing two goals or less in each of the teams wins.

The most impressive of the wins came in a 2-1 OT win in Montreal, in which the Syracuse, New York native recorded 35 saves.

Howard currently has a modified no-trade clause in his contract that runs through the end of next season. A player with a no-trade or no-movement clause cannot be placed on waivers and must accept a move by waiving his clause in order for a trade to go through and be accepted by the NHL.

As of this season, Howard has a 19-team no-trade list, which limits the options for Ken Holland if he chooses to work the phones.

It’s also worth noting that Howard has a cap-hit of over five million dollars through the rest of the contract, so it is unlikely that he would be moved or that the Wings would get a nice haul in return.

But there’s a twist… and it’s called The 2017 NHL Expansion Draft.

Jimmy Howard AND Petr Mrazek are available to be selected by the Las Vegas Golden Knights. Protection lists from teams are due June 17, and the Golden Knights have to submit their selections by June 20. The protection limits for teams are as follows:

– Seven forwards, three defensemen and one goaltender

OR

– Eight skaters (forwards/defensemen) and one goaltender

The Red Wings will be faced with a tough choice in the coming months on who to protect. Do they think Jared Coreau is a capable NHL backup? Are they ready to hand the reins over to Mrazek? Does Howard still have a lot left to give? You hope these questions get answered in the near future.

The NHL has salary restrictions for the expansion draft, so its possible the Golden Knights avoid the Jimmy Howard contract, making it more likely that Mrazek is protected.

Mrazek is finishing up year one of a two-year deal, so if no Detroit goalie is selected come June, the Red Wings front office doesn’t have to make a decision on their future goaltender until next offseason.

If everything holds, Howard and Mrazek continuing to trade starts will be a thing in Detroit through next season. The platooning in goal has worked out for the Red Wings in years past, but it seems fans would rather have one in net over the other, giving them the chance to further debate the situation come this fall.

 

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