Detroit Red Wings: 3 players that will not return next season

(Photo by Kirk Irwin/Getty Images)
(Photo by Kirk Irwin/Getty Images) /
2 of 4
Detroit Red Wings
(Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images) /

Jimmy Howard

Detroit’s starting goaltender’s wheels have fallen off.  Howard’s last victory came on October 29th, 2019.  This season Howard has played his way to a pathetic 2-23-2 record.  Sure, the Wings have been bad, but not nearly as bad as Howard’s been in goal.

It’s a shame to see it end this way.  Howard had been a fan favorite for quite some time after successfully performing up to Wings fans netminder standards from 2010 after taking over from the great Chris Osgood as the organization’s primary goaltender.

The one major blemish on Howard’s resume is not winning a Stanley Cup.  That cup will cause many to overlook Howard’s career success.  Many outsiders consider Howard a product of Detroit’s system.  During Howard’s early years as the team’s starter, Detroit was a prominent Stanley Cup contender.  They had just won Lord Stanley in 2008, retuned in 2009 before turning over the cage to Howard in ’10.

Never winning the cup easily elevates a player like Mike Vernon, who had just a short stay in the organization ahead of Howard when you talk about Detroit’s all-time greatest goaltenders.  In fact, Howard would likely be considered outside of the top five.  That’s significant when you consider out of Howard’s 14 years in Detroit he’s entered 11 years as the team’s number one goalie.

Howard’s 543 games played is third in Detroit Red Wings history among goaltenders.  He’s the franchise leader in both shots faced (15,313) and saves (13,970).  His career .912 save percentage ranks fourth in Wings history ahead of Dominik Hasek, Terry Sawchuk, and Osgood.  Howard ranks third in wins (246) and second in losses (196).

It’s been a respectable career for Howard, but it appears the netminder should have considered hanging up the skates after last season.

The 36-year-old has posted atrocious numbers across the board this season with the Detroit Red Wings.  It’s been a cold spell that’s stemmed from the second half of last season.  Howard has posted a 4.20 goals-against average this season, along with a .882 save percentage, both career worsts.

Howard, who will be a free agent at seasons’ end, won’t be a candidate to be re-signed.  Retirement seems like a wise choice at this point.