Over the last few seasons, there has been much talk about the Detroit Red Wings’ goaltending situation.
Petr Mrazek, the club’s fifth-round pick in 2010, has been developing into a solid starting goalie, while 32-year-old Jimmy Howard’s play has been below league-average since 2012-13. But while this season marks the first in which Mrazek has made over $1MM (he signed a two-year, $8MM contract in July), Howard has been making a shade under $5.3MM since 2013-14, the year after his numbers began to slide. Howard has an additional two seasons remaining on his contract.
The Red Wings have been trying to trade Howard for a while now, but have obviously been unable to find any suitors thanks to his cap hit. But as of right now, Red Wings GM Ken Holland may be glad about that. Howard has only allowed 3 goals in 4 appearances this season, with a 2-1-0 record and league-highs in GAA and SV% (0.86 and 0.974, respectively). Meanwhile expected starter Mrazek is 4-4-1 with a 0.904 SV% and a GAA over 3. Mrazek has lost three in a row, and Howard will be starting on Sunday versus the West-leading Edmonton Oilers.
It’s still early in the season, but Howard has helped keep the Red Wings in playoff contention; they’re currently in the first wildcard position in the Eastern Conference. Detroit will need Howard to keep up his stellar play if they want to avoid missing the playoffs for the first time since 1989-90.
- The Blue Jackets laid a 10-0 beating on the NHL-leading Canadiens Friday night, the first game with a 10-goal differential since 2002-03. On January 11, the Washington Capitals beat the visiting Florida Panthers by a score of 12-2. Then-Capitals forward Jaromir Jagr scored a hat-trick and added 4 assists against his future team. There are only two other players from that game still active in the NHL: Jay Bouwmeester and Roberto Luongo.
- It was the first 10-0 shutout win since 1996, when Trevor Kidd and the Calgary Flames shut out the Tampa Bay Lightning.
- Finally, John Tavares will have a new line-mate when his Islanders host the Oilers. Gritty forward Cal Clutterbuck will get a chance to play with his captain on the first line, alongside Josh Bailey. It’s a curious choice, seeing as Clutterbuck has only 1 goal and 5 points this season, and his career high of 34-points came back in 2010-11. It’s still more than big-name free-agent signing Andrew Ladd, who has only 1 assist so far. The Islanders have lost four of five, but hope to bounce back against the Oilers, who have dropped three in a row. Speaking of blowouts and the Islanders hosting the Oilers, Edmonton’s previous visit to Brooklyn was an ugly 8-1 win for the home side.