Detroit Red Wings Season Preview: 5 Key Players Who Must Step Up

2 of 6

Jimmy Howard

Apr 18, 2014; Boston, MA, USA; Detroit Red Wings goalie Jimmy Howard (35) makes a save during the third period against the Boston Bruins in game one of the first round of the 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs at TD Banknorth Garden. Mandatory Credit: Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports

Much has been made about Jimmy Howard’s contract and his failure to live up to the agreement that has made him one of the highest paid goaltenders in the NHL.  Some have suggested that the pressure that comes with such a large contract affected the Red Wings goaltender last season.

Putting contracts and salaries aside for a moment, let us talk strictly about performance.  In that category Howard fell woefully short last season, nearly losing his job to Jonas Gustavsson down the stretch last season. He did manage to rebound just before the playoffs but still fell short of expectations last season.

Jimmy Howard was decidedly average last season and average won’t cut it for a team with Stanley Cup expectations.  In order for the Detroit Red Wings to have a shot at contending Jimmy Howard will have improve to steal a few games for this season.  Average goal tending  is not going to cut it.