Kulfan: Jimmy Howard optimistic about Wings’ future, critical of own performance during 17-18 season

The Detroit News’s Ted Kulfan shares a locker room clean-out day article this afternoon, speaking with Jimmy Howard regarding the Wings’ underwhelming 2017-18 season performance.

Howard was optimistic about the team’s future, but he didn’t spare himself from criticism regarding this season’s struggles:

“I don’t think it’s too big,” Howard said of how far the gap is for the Red Wings to return to contention. “There’s probably some people out there who’ll probably say a lot (bigger gap), but I don’t think it’s necessarily that big of a margin.

“There’s quite a few reasons why (there were) so many one-goal losses (27). All of us as a group, whether it was not making a smart play or me not coming up with a save, it falls on our shoulders to figure it out.”

Howard was, arguably, one of the Wings’ best players the first half of the season, keeping the Red Wings on the brink of the playoff line.

He was forced to play more games with backup Petr Mrazek not playing well, and then after Mrazek was traded and Jared Coreau struggling after was recalled from Grand Rapids. Howard’s statistics dipped as a result.

His 60 games played were the most since he played 63 games in back-to-back seasons in 2009-10 and 2010-11.

Howard was 22-27-9 last season, with a 2.85 goals-against average and .910 save percentage. The losses and GAA were career highs. The save percentage fell considerably from the previous season (.927).

“Statistically, probably no,” Howard said of whether his season was good enough. “Far from it. In this league you want to be somewhere around the .920 save percentage and I wasn’t there.”

Kulfan continues, noting that the Red Wings will probably sign an interim back-up to help Howard along next season…

Published by

George Malik

My name is George Malik, and I'm the Malik Report's editor/blogger/poster. I have been blogging about the Red Wings since 2006, when MLive hired me to work their SlapShots blog, and I joined Kukla's Korner in 2011 as The Malik Report. I'm starting The Malik Report as a stand-alone site, hoping that having my readers fund the website is indeed the way to go to build a better community and create better content.

22 thoughts on “Kulfan: Jimmy Howard optimistic about Wings’ future, critical of own performance during 17-18 season”

  1. The 2016-17 stats of 2.10 GAA and a .927 SV% was just the result of a small sample size. Howard started just 24 games last year. That was the smallest sample size since he became a regular in 2009. So if you consider 2016-17 as an anomaly due to a small sample size, then here is Howard’s trend:

    2013-14 = 2.66 with .910
    2014-15 = 2.44 with .910
    2015-16 = 2.80 with .906
    2016-17** = small size
    2017-18 = 2.85 with .910

    So we have 24 starts in 2016-17 in which he posted some pretty great numbers, sandwiched around 200+ appearances in which he appears to have some very mediocre numbers. His own words mentioned a .920 threshold and he’s consistently below that.

    But he has lots of character…

    1. FS, But he (Howard) has lots of character…

      You sure about that?

      Will he help or hinder a Rebuild team with no Defense?
      Maybe better to go with a low cap goalie.

      Anyway how did Mrazek stats work out?

      Done yet, just kidding

      1. I think you are right. It’s better to look at how both goalies performed in front of the same D.

  2. Mrazek is the goalie that could get Ken a pick. Howard couldnt. Based on Mrazek’s performance, he wasn’t the answer for the team if/when they were ready to get good again. Mrazek has been below average, Howard has been average. Actually who has the numbers for average goalie performance the past 5 or 10 yrs. TIA

    1. Mrazek looked visibly disturbed when Elliott got the start. At least based on his body language.

    2. What a tough game to watch if ya hate Pittsburgh.

      Mrazek certainly hasnt earned anything given to him up to this point. I think it takes another game before you go to a guy that has a 3.22/.891 since coming over.

      Gotta figure Kenny is laughing his pants off right now. Hes not too bad at taking advantage of desperate GMs after all (Smith, Tatar, Ott trades)

      1. Really? Elliott was terrible. Mrazek had no chance on either goal. But either way, Philly’s defence is awful. This is why I kept laughing at folks who would look at the boxscore, see Mrazek had given up 3 or 4 and concluded that he was bad. Wasn’t usually the case.

        As for Kenny. Sure some nice trades lately. But he botched Green. Wasted a 3rd on Sadowy. Gave away Nosek when expansion was an opportunity to shed a bad contract. So he’s not exactly excelling at roster mgmt.

        1. But either way, Detroit’s defence is awful. This why I kept laughing at folks who would look at the boxscore, see Jim Howard had given up 3 or 4 and concluded that he was bad. Wasn’t usually the case.

        2. Nobody wanted Mrazek. I genuinely believe that line–the Wings would have moved him had there been interest. It’s George McPhee who was smart in snagging Nosek.

          We can blame Ken Holland for a lot of things, but I don’t understand why everything under the sun that happens badly to the Wings involves Holland farting on the exchange.

          1. George McPhee who was smart in snagging Nosek.

            IMO, he should not been put on the Wings list. Bad gamble or just a bit dumb. It was an easy way to try and dump someone he now has to dump in the rebuild.

            A good ,young ,cheap .versatile, bottom 6 player.

            Still bugs me, LOL Not sure what Holland was thinking and never will. That is a problem for most Wings Fans, a lot of guessing

          2. After McPhee orchestrated getting Fleury…why would he want Mrazek at $4M+?? That’s not how you construct a roster in a cap world. So people are free to conclude that Mrazek was available for free and left unwanted…but maybe when we exposed a cheap versatile young Nosek, McPhee believed that fit his roster better. This was not an exercise of selecting the most desirable asset from each team…it was about constructing a roster which McPhee has done incredibly well. Nosek should have never been exposed whereas we wasted a spot on Abby whom no GM would ever want. Kenny botched the whole process.

          3. Man, that frederick olausson trade. What waste of assets. Could have had x player instead. Kenny sucked even in 02!

          4. I’ve figured that instead of getting brow beaten for every viewpoint that even slightly goes against the FS narrative, I’ll just turn off my notifications.

  3. Elliott was terrible. Mrazek had no chance on either goal. But either way, Philly’s defence is awful.


    Petr gave up only 2 goals both to Crosby, who defeated Flyers by himself, natural hat trick and Hot!!

    Elliott was really poor in this one!!

    1. @SethRorabaugh
      Dave Hakstol said his first instinct is to start Brian Elliott in Game 2.

      You know what they say about your gut…

      I’ve never trusted Elliott; his best years were in St. Louis with a crazy good defense that was great in shot suppression. The problem remains though that the Flyers have no goalies to trust. At all.

      Elliott just blew chunks in 2 of his 3 games since coming back.
      Neuvirth injured and hasn’t played a full game in who knows how long.
      Mrazek…see above.
      Alex Lyon is a rookie with no experience.

    2. The first goal against Mrazek ricocheted off several players and magically appeared on Crosby’s stick with an empty net. The second was a high deflection with a screen.

      Starting Elliott again is basically handing the Series to Pitt. But he’ll be on a short leash this time.

Comments are closed.