The Detroit Red Wings are coming off of what was, objectively, a catastrophic season for the franchise. The team had arguably the worst season in the organization's history and the worst part of it all was that there were not a great many bright spots amidst all that losing. Perhaps the player who suffered the most however was long time Red Wings goaltender Jimmy Howard who, at 36 years of age, had the worst season of his career in the National Hockey League.
To be blunt Howard's numbers were abysmal and were nowhere near the level that one would expect of an NHL caliber goaltender, but it seems fair to suggest that those numbers were significantly impacted by just how poorly the team in front of him played. That being said Howard did lose his job to career backup goaltender Jonathan Bernier, a much young and much cheaper option for the Red Wings moving forward. Thus many believed that the lifelong Red Wings goaltender would simply walk away after this terrible season, especially given his status as a free agent, but Howard recently revealed that he intends to continue his career in the NHL.
“I want to keep playing,” Howard told The Detroit News while discussing his future. “This year left such a bitter taste in my mouth. I want to go out there and show people I can still play in this league – I know I’m capable.”
It sounds like the disaster that was this most recent season hasn't diminished his drive to win at all, and in fact one could argue that it sounds like Howard wants to go out on a more positive note. I can hardly blame him for not wanting this to be the last thing in the minds of the fans that he played in front of for all these years in Detroit, but Howard acknowledged that his time in Detroit may have already come to an end. That of course means that for the first time in his career the Red Wings veteran is considering playing outside of Detroit, although it wouldn't be his first choice.
“Absolutely,” said Howard, of whether he’d like to finish his career in Detroit. “I love this state, this city, and this city is home to us now. I would want to finish my career a Red Wing.
“But at the same time, I’ve been around this game long enough to realize there comes a time when you have to separate ties. If that’s the way it’ll have to go, I’ve mentally prepared for that. My wife and I have talked about it a little bit, and if that’s going to be the case, it’ll have to be the case.”
In spite of the fact that the writing seems to be on the wall for Howard in Detroit it does feel a little surprising to hear him make that statement. Is there a team out there that would be willing to use him as a veteran backup option behind their starter? Something tells me at least one team may be willing to gamble on a bounce back from Howard, especially if he has a better team in front of him.