Veteran Detroit Red Wings goaltender Jimmy Howard of Ogdensburg, NY is set to retire at age 36 according to Elliotte Friedman of Rogers Sportsnet on Saturday. Howard had spent 14 years as the Red Wings goaltender, but did not win the Stanley Cup with Detroit in 2008 as he only played four regular season games that year.
Howard was a free agent in the offseason as the Red Wings decided not to renew his contract, and go with Thomas Greiss of Fussen, Germany, and Jonathan Bernier of Laval, Quebec instead. Red Wings General Manager Steve Yzerman signed Greiss to a two-year contract worth $7.2 million from the New York Islanders in the offseason.
There was some speculation that the Edmonton Oilers were extremely interested in acquiring Howard. The Oilers General Manager Ken Holland was very familiar with him during their time together in Detroit. However, at 36 years of age, Howard is more comfortable with coaching minor hockey than being in between the pipes.
The Oilers are in desperate need to improve their goaltending. Mikko Koskinen has been inconsistent after three games to start the 2020-21 NHL regular season (1-2, 4.04 goals against average, and .892 save percentage). Meanwhile, Mike Smith was controversially re-signed by Oilers management after his horrendous performance in game one of the Stanley Cup qualifier on August 1, a 6-4 Oilers loss to the Chicago Blackhawks. Smith has since gone on long-term injury reserve to start the 2021 NHL season.
During his NHL career, Howard had a record of 246 wins, 196 regulation losses, and 70 losses in extra time. He also had 24 shutouts (including five in 2012-13, which led the NHL), a goals against average of 2.62, and a save percentage of .912. A two-time all-star in 2012 and 2019, it was a struggle for Howard in 2019-20. He was on a Red Wings team clearly rebuilding, and he only posted a record of two wins, 23 regulation losses, two losses in extra time, a goals against average of 4.20 and a save percentage of .820.