Detroit Red Wings goaltender Jimmy Howard will miss at least a week with a groin injury suffered last night against the New Jersey Devils. Howard sustained the injury midway through the first period and was replaced by Petr Mrazek. Detroit placed Howard on the injured reserve this morning.
Howard has been a pleasant surprise for the Red Wings, who entered the season with Mrazek penciled in as the de facto starter. A quarter of the way through the season, however, paints a different picture. Both goalies have platooned—each playing 11 games—but Howard’s numbers are far better than Mrazek at the moment. Howard has posted a spectacular .943 SV% and a 1.76 GAA. Conversely, Mrazek has a .901 SV% and a 3.16 GAA.
Howard’s success comes at a time when Detroit will have to choose which goaltender to protect in the expansion draft. The rules require that a team only protect one goaltender. The common wisdom suggests that Detroit protects Mrazek—he’s younger and costs less—but Howard’s continued success coupled with a disappointing season from Mrazek could cause the organization to reconsider. Considering his recent performance, Howard may be an ideal candidate to take the starter job with the Golden Knights next season.