The Detroit Red Wings are likely to miss the National Hockey League playoffs for the third straight year, their longest post-season drought in 35 years. As of Feb. 26, 2019, the Wings had the third-worst record in the NHL. On the plus side, they’re in prime position to land one of the top three spots in the league’s draft lottery. The team appears to be planning for the future by trading veteran players for draft picks this year and next. They dealt forward Gustav Nyquist to the San Jose Sharks for picks in 2019 and 2020. They also acquired a young defenseman and a draft pick from the Washington Capitals for defenseman Nick Jensen.
General Manager Ken Holland may have wanted to deal more players before the Feb. 25 trade deadline, but found no takers. One player who could have brought a nice return is goaltender Jimmy Howard. The 35-year-old net-minder has played his entire career with Detroit, and appears likely to stick around for a couple more seasons.
Helene St. James covers the Wings for the Detroit Free Press. She says there was no market for Howard this year because all the Stanley Cup contenders are set for goaltenders. She also says Holland will likely sign Howard to an extension after this season, because there are no NHL-ready goaltending prospects in its minor league system.
Click on the audio player to hear the conversation with WDET’s Pat Batcheller.