MLive’s Ansar Khan reports that Detroit Red Wings goalie Jimmy Howard is slated to return for Saturday’s contest against the Pittsburgh Penguins. Howard was shelved with a lower body injury but Detroit’s bye week was a fortuitous opportunity for the veteran net minder to recover. Howard told DetroitRedWings.com’s Dana Wakiji that he’ll be ready for tomorrow’s game. In his last six starts, Howard has been 4-2 with a .952 save percentage, and a main reason the Red Wings have seen their fortunes trend up. Though they’re still out of the playoff hunt (and will stay that way most likely), Howard has been excellent for a team short on defense and elite talent.
- Khan takes questions in a mailbag next, indicating that he doesn’t expect any hitches as they did when Andreas Athanasiou held out as an RFA. Khan continues, writing that the Red Wings have $10MM with Mike Green and Petr Mrazek set to be free agents. With the cap rising as well, Khan doesn’t foresee any issues getting the important younger players, namely Dylan Larkin, Anthony Mantha and Athanasiou. Martin Frk and Tyler Bertuzzi are both in their final year of a contract but will come at a lower price than the aforementioned three.
- In another question, Khan writes that Henrik Zetterberg might have one season left before a new captain will have to be named. He sees Justin Abdelkader being the next Red Wing to wear the C while Larkin a future captain as well. Larkin was an alternate captain while playing in the World Juniors last May, but it wouldn’t be crazy to think that Larkin could be the next in line. Steve Yzerman was named captain at the ripe old age of 21, which just happens to be Larkin’s current age.
- The Detroit Free Press’ Helene St. James has a mailbag of her own, and gives her thoughts on the future of general manager Ken Holland. She believes he will still be around, either in the GM chair or as an adviser. She also believes that Larkin will be the first of the three young building blocks (Larkin-Mantha-Athanasiou) to be re-signed by Detroit.