While admitting that his time with the Detroit Red Wings is at an end, goaltender Jimmy Howard said that he isn’t ready to retire, suggesting that “someone is going to have to tell me I can’t play anymore,” according to a report from Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman.
An unrestricted free agent on Oct. 9, the 36-year-old Howard admitted that he was “probably not” going to return to Detroit after a disastrous season in which Howard had career lows with a 4.20 GAA and a .882 save percentage in 27 appearances. Some of those struggles could be attributed to playing for one of the worst teams in NHL history which finished with a 17-49-5 record last season. Howard has played with the organization his entire 14-year career since he was taken in the second round of the 2003 NHL draft where he has averaged a solid .912 save percentage over those years.
However, Howard told Friedman that he doesn’t want to end his career the way it did and wants another chance to prove his value. The veteran has been training for two months and has discussed moving away from his family for a year if he can’t get a job close to home.
It’s been clear for several months that Detroit is ready to move on from their long-time goaltender and intends to put more responsibility on Jonathan Bernier and bring in another goaltender without throwing a significant amount of money at one of the top free agents.
As for Howard, the veteran will have to hope that he can get a team to give him a chance to win the backup role with their franchise, which becomes even more challenging as many teams are starting to put more faith on goaltending tandems.