Iced Up Youngsters: Jimmy Howard


So you’re 25, you’ve been in the minors for a few years, and your NHL dream is slipping away. All of a sudden, you’re the starting goalie in Hockeytown, and the last line of defense for the team that is the closest thing to a dynasty that the NHL has had in the last 20 years. This was the reality for Jimmy Howard, of the Detroit Red Wings, last season.

Career Stats (Win-Loss-GAA-SV%-SO)

  • 2005-2006: 1 – 2 – 2.99 – .904 – 0
  • 2007-2008: 0 – 2 – 2.13 – .926 – 0
  • 2008-2009: 0 – 1 – 4.10 – .857 – 0
  • 2009-2010: 37 – 25 – 2.26 – .924 – 3

Can’t really judge his improvement because he didn’t really play at all until last season.  But as a guy with little NHL experience, thrust into the starters role, he flourished.

Profile: While part of the US National Team Development Program, he lead Team USA to a gold medal in the U18 World Championships. He then played for the University of Maine for three seasons, making one Frozen Four appearance.  While he was there, the Red Wings drafted him in the 3rd round of the 2003 NHL Entry Draft.  After college, he was assigned to Detroit’s AHL affiliate, the Grand Rapids Griffins.  He helped the team to a franchise record 12 game win streak, while occasionally being called up for a few games with the big club.  In 2009 he finally earned a spot in the NHL, and was set to be Chris Osgood’s backup. That didn’t last long, as he won the starting job and carried the Red Wings into the playoffs.  After a first round, 7 game upset over the Coyotes, the Wings were eliminated by the San Jose Sharks in 5 games.  Still, his regular season was good enough to earn him a Calder Trophy nomination (best rookie).  He finished second to Buffalo’s Tyler Myers.

What makes him special?: He’s not really that young, just a bit inexperienced.  You can’t tell that from the way he plays, however.  Most good, young goalies, are successful because of their reflexes and athleticism.  Older goalies usually stay around because they learn to play angles better, and pucks just hit them. Check out Howard, and notice that he plays a bit like an old head.  He’s not flopping around too often, and is usually in the right position to stop the puck. Of course, when need be, he can still flash the glove or stack the pads.  He’s good at reading the play, and anticipates where the puck is headed, so he can throw himself into position to stop deflections and one timers.  He doesn’t go down early, exposing himself to snipers that love to roof it.  His rebound control can be a bit better, but it seems that most pucks land in front of him, allowing him to remain in a good spot to to make 2nd and 3rd saves.  He was a relative unknown, and considered a weak spot for the Red Wings.  The Sharks didn’t have much of a problem with him in the playoffs.  He’s going to to have to stay consistent, and prove himself all over again this season.

Jersey Worthy?: Still a bit early to tell.  He plays for a damn good team, so his numbers will generally be pretty good.  Still, as successful as Detroit has been, they’ve also had a bit of a goalie carousel.  They keep trying to bring people in to replace Osgood, and yet he always stays around. I’d wait a bit to see if the Wings commit to Howard, before telling people to get his sweater.

Hate Factor: Like most goalies, it’s pretty low.  Not much to say about him; he’s not in a position where he can throw many dirty hits.  If I see him taking liberties with his stick when guys skate by, or taking shots at people parked in his crease, then my opinion might change.  But that’s a rare nowadays.

Previous Features:


PK Subban

Drew Doughty

Carey Price

John Tavares

Steven Stamkos

Dustin Byfuglien

Tyler Myers

Paul Stastny

Niklas Backstrom

Tuukka Rask

Bobby Ryan

Milan Lucic

Brandon Dubinsky

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