Monday, September 21, 2009

In Depth- Jimmy Howard

News is pretty slow today, so let's take a moment to focus on Detroit netminder, Jimmy Howard. There is a lot of uncertainty and doubt surrounding Jimmy, who is primed to take over riding shotgun to starter Chris Osgood. But why? All this kid has done is win, at all levels of hockey except at the NHL, where he hasn't had any significant shot to this point...

The Early Years...
While with the U-18 USA National Team Development Program in 19 games, Jimmy posted a 15-4-1 record with 4 shutouts and a 1.90 GAA in over 1,100 minutes played. He was named USA Hockey goaltender of the year in 2002.
He split time between the USHL and NAHL of the USA National Team Development Program, going 8-8-0 with 2.44 GAA in over 800 minutes played.
The College Years...
This was Howard's first year playing for the University of Maine. He posted a ridiculous 14-6-0 record with 3 shutouts and a 2.45 GAA in over 1,150 minutes played. He earned a spot on the 2003 Hockey East All-Rookie Team and was named the 2003 Hockey East Rookie of the Year. This was the year he was drafted in the 2nd round 64th overall by the Detroit Red Wings.
This season was far from a step back coming off an impressive freshman year. Howard posted a 14-4-3 record with 6 shutouts and an amazing 1.19 GAA while playing over 1,300 minutes. He was selected to the 2004 Hockey East First All-Star Team as well as the 2004 NCAA East Second All-American Team. His 1.19 GAA and save percentage (.954) are both withstanding NCAA records.
Howard played in 39 games in his final season with Maine, posting a mediocre 19-13-7 record but still boasted an impressive 1.92 GAA with 6 shutouts in over 2,300 minutes played.
The Professional Years...
Jimmy stormed onto the AHL scene his rookie season with the Grand Rapids Griffins, where we went 27-6-2 in 38 games played. His 2 shutouts, 2.58 GAA in over 2,100 minute played earned him a spot on the 2006 AHL All Rookie Team. He also played in 4 games for the Red Wings, posting a 1-2-0 record with .904 save percentage in over 200 minutes played.
He spent this entire season in Grand Rapids. He played in 49 games, going 21-21-3 while posting 6 shutouts with 2.70 GAA average in over 2,700 minutes played.
His workload in Grand Rapids increased, however his numbers dipped. He played in 54 games, but had his first under .500 record for a regular season going 21-28-2. He only had 2 shutouts all season and his GAA climbed to 2.83. He also played in 4 games for the Red Wings going 0-2-0 though he had a more than respectable save percentage at .926 with a 2.13 GAA in nearly 200 minutes played.
Last season saw Howard turn his play in Grand Rapids around a little bit. With a smaller workload and the up-and-coming Daniel Larsson nipping at his heels, Howard posted a 21-18-4 record in 45 games played. He recorded a .920 save percentage, notched 4 more shutouts and and brought his GAA down to 2.54 in over 2,600 minutes played. He let in 4 goals in a losing effort against the Minnesota Wild in his only game played for the Wings last season.
Regardless of what you think, Jimmy Howard has put in the time and effort to earn his spot as Chris Osgood's backup this season, the last of which he is on contract with the Red Wings. Some (myself included) have speculated that the injection of young goaltenders (Larsson, McCollum, Pearce) into Detroit's system is a symptom of Ken Holland and the like losing faith in Jimmy. Well there's no better put-up, or shut-up time than contract year when a player has spent his nearly his entire professional career in the minors. Hopefully, the upturn in his numbers from 2008 to 2009 will continue, and Jimmy will be the goalie that we had all hoped he would be when he was drafted way back in 2003.
Give him a chance.



  2. Look what just happened during my NHL10 career:

    It's just a stupid game... right?