The Detroit Red Wings may not have many trade pieces, but it appears they may be exploring a deal with the Columbus Blue Jackets for goaltender Jimmy Howard.
Detroit Red Wings general manager Steve Yzerman is not afraid to make trades (i.e., Robby Fabbri, Adam Erne, and Brendan Perlini trades), and there could be another one on the horizon. It seems like the Red Wings could be shipping off Jimmy Howard to the Columbus Blue Jackets, who need goaltending help. It looks like the two sides are getting closer to a trade, but nothing is in store yet.
The Blue Jackets are clinging to life, trying to battle into a wildcard spot, but they just lost their goaltender until early to mid-February. Netminder Joonas Korpisalo had meniscus surgery, which is going to keep him off the ice and out of the crease for five to six weeks.
The Blue Jackets have Elvis Merzlikins to jump in the net, but he has no proven track record. Adding a veteran goaltender could help them make a push into a wildcard spot or a playoff spot.
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Now, Jimmy Howard is a veteran goaltender; he has not been a Vezina candidate and has had an injury that kept him off the ice. In 2019, Howard’s played in sixteen games with a 2-13-1 record; a .884 save percentage and a 4.11 goals-against average.
Howard has been wearing a winged wheel for fourteen years, but it seems like that could come to an end sooner than later. In 2018, Howard was 23-22-5 with a .909 save percentage and a 3.07 goals-against average, which is not half bad.
If Howard’s horrific numbers in 2019 scare the Blue Jackets away, they could always target Jonathan Bernier, who has become the Red Wings starting netminder. Bernier has climbed back out of the trenches, getting his numbers up from the basement they were in to start the season.
It will solely depend on the Blue Jackets if they feel the veteran Howard is going to offer more stability or if the less proven Bernier will be the better spot filler until Korpisalo is healthy again.
For the return, the Blue Jackets are also housing a crop of injured players on the Injured Reserve (IR), which could make things interesting. The Blue Jackets have nine players on the IR, but they may be desperate enough to overpay for a backup goaltender.
The Blue Jackets could send Detroit Markus Hännikäinen, Emil Bemström, or maybe even Alexander Wennberg. It is going to depend on what kind of player or package Columbus throws together, but more importantly, how much value they put on a backup goalie.