Is Jimmy Howard now just a very expensive insurance option for the Detroit Red Wings? MLive’s Ansar Khan writes that the Red Wings were unsuccessful in trading their backup goaltender in the offseason and are now, for a lack of a better word, stuck with Howard and his very expensive contract. Khan argues that Howard provides stability in net, as the veteran netminder helped last season when Petr Mrazek struggled down the stretch. Though Mrazek supplanted Howard in the playoffs to reclaim his job, Howard still played that instrumental role in getting the Red Wings into the playoffs. Khan warns that consistency has been a concern with Howard, as well as his health. Should the Wings not unload him during the season, Khan expects Howard to be exposed in the expansion draft. If he isn’t selected, a buyout may be considered, along with shopping the New York native.
In other Red Wings news:
- Red Wings blog Winging in Motown has a piece about the line chemistry between forwards Gustav Nyquist and Tomas Tatar. Last season, the two forwards–considered by many to be the necessary goal scoring future of the Red Wings–took a step back. Nyquist it seemed took the brunt of the blame, as he failed to score more than 20 goals for the first time in his career as a full time player. The article, chock full of detailed statistical analysis, argues that the two could actually be quite good together should they be given an opportunity with a talented centerman (Dylan Larkin comes to mind). The statistics show that their uptick in production while separated was influenced heavily by who was on their respective line and revealed that Tatar benefitted greatly from a lot of time with Pavel Datsyuk as a linemate.
- With the news that Henrik Zetterberg would bow out of World Cup of Hockey due to a knee injury, the Windsor Star’s Bob Duff expounded a bit on how this affects the Red Wings. Writing for Hockeybuzz, Duff reports that the timetable for his return is not known and that the Red Wings scheduled an MRI to find the extent of the damage. Duff writes that the news couldn’t be worse for the Red Wings, who already lost Pavel Datsyuk to retirement and Niklas Kronwall to an injury of his own. Duff quoted Red Wings general manager Ken Holland as saying that Zetterberg would wait a couple of weeks before seeing if he could participate in training camp.