Detroit Red Wings goaltender Jimmy Howard has been the team’s starting goaltender since midway through the 2009-10 season, replacing veteran Chris Osgood in the crease.
Since then, he’s racked up 244 career victories, appeared in two All-Star games, and built a reputation as a steady goaltender. But at 35 years old, he isn’t going to be the team’s starter when the Red Wings eventually return to Stanley Cup contention.
Prospect Filip Larsson will begin his pro career with the Grand Rapids Griffins, and is seen by many as Detroit’s goaltender of the future.
Despite rampant trade speculation last season, Howard was re-signed to a one year contract worth $4 million (with an additional $1.1 million in bonuses if Detroit makes the playoffs).
“This is the only organization I know,” said Howard. “I love playing for the Wings, my family loves living in Detroit. It’s very special.”
He’ll continue to be paired with fellow veteran goaltender Jonathan Bernier, who is entering the second year of a three-year contract signed in the summer of 2018.
New general manager Steve Yzerman added additional goaltending depth this summer with the signing of Calvin Pickard, who has NHL experience should either Howard or Bernier suffer an injury.
“We feel with the two goalies we have, if we were to have an injury, we feel the third goaltender position is very important,” Yzerman said of Pickard. “We wanted to put a goaltender with some experience to partner with Larsson. A guy who is a good leader, high character and a good work ethic, and we believe he (Pickard) fits the bill.
Larsson will be paired with Pickard with the Griffins, and he’s ready for the opportunity to make a name for himself in the pro ranks.
“I know it’s a good opportunity,” said Larsson of the Wings’ goaltending depth chart. “There are still two great guys up there but they’re getting older. But I’m not looking at the NHL next year. For me, I want to make that AHL team (in Grand Rapids) and I want to get as many games as possible to develop and in future years, maybe get an (NHL) opportunity.”