Red Wings goaltender Jimmy Howard was among those with a decent chance to be dealt by Monday’s trade deadline. Instead, he stayed put as GM Ken Holland told reporters, including Ted Kulfan of The Detroit News, that there was little to no interest in the 34-year-old as the trade market for goaltenders was virtually non-existent.
With that option now off the table, Holland indicated that the plan now is to resume discussions regarding a potential contract extension. Those talks are expected to occur over the next few days.
What will undoubtedly hurt Howard here is his recent struggles. In 2019 (a span of 17 appearances), he has posted a save percentage of .884, a rating that would be considered well below average for a backup netminder. The veteran was quite sharp over the first couple of months but has tapered off since then which presents a question for Holland and the Red Wings – which version will they get next season (and potentially beyond)?
Howard is in the final season of his current contract which carries a cap hit of just over $5.29MM. Considering his play as of late, the direction of the team and the fact they already have Jonathan Bernier ($3MM) locked up for two more years after this one, it stands to reason that Howard will need to take a pay cut on his current deal. Both sides have previously expressed their desire to get a new deal done with the expectation of a multi-year pact being required but given Howard’s recent play, it will be interesting to see if they ultimately settle on a one-year deal. He will be 35 by then so Detroit would have the ability to offer performance bonuses in a one-year contract which may be the best course of action here.