The Detroit Red Wings decided to close the curtains on a decade-long era, announcing last month that goaltender Jimmy Howard officially would not be offered a contract.
Despite having to endure the poorest statistical season of his NHL career last year with the Red Wings, Howard stated that he has no intention of hanging up the pads just yet, and wants to continue to play.
While nearly every goaltender that was on the free agent market has been snatched up, there are still some viable options for teams looking for some veteran depth in their crease.
The Blackhawks moved on from long-tenured veteran Corey Crawford, who helped lead them as a starter to two Stanley Cup titles (2013, 2015). GM Stan Bowman, who is reportedly feeling some heat from his own players, announced that the team will be going with career backup Malcolm Subban and the unproven young Collin Delia in the crease this year.
However, bringing aboard Howard for a season on a cheap contract could provide veteran depth and mentorship to both Subban and Delia, who are both 26 and largely unproven in the NHL.
Of course, a move to another Original 6 team is contingent on what the Bruins intend on doing with long-tenured starter Tuukka Rask, who abruptly left his team’s playoff bubble in controversial fashion. The Bruins have also been reportedly exploring trade options.
Should Rask not return, the Bruins would likely be willing to go into the season with veteran Jaroslav Halak as their starter. Howard would be able to provide 25-30 games in relief of Halak, and of course, it would only require a cheap one-year deal.
With the Ducks set in the starter’s position with John Gibson, it remains to be seen whether or not they’ll elect to bring back 40 year old veteran Ryan Miller.
Should they decide to part ways with Miller, Howard would be able to provide 25-30 games in relief of Gibson, who appeared in only 51 games last season.
Red Wings fans, do you envision Howard continuing his career with any of these teams?