DETROIT – Should the Detroit Red Wings try to move goalie Jonathan Bernier ahead of the NHL trade deadline (Feb. 24)?
Bernier somehow has a .908 save percentage and 10 wins this season while backstopping the messy, lowly, downright lost Red Wings. Since returning from injury, his past two starts have gone as follows:
- Feb. 1 vs. New York Rangers: 30 saves, 1 goal against, .968 save percentage.
- Feb. 3 vs. Philadelphia Flyers: 28 saves, 2 goals against, .933 save percentage.
The Red Wings as a team, meanwhile, were shut out in both of those games. It’s possible this team will never score again. They lost 1-0 to the Rangers, then 3-0 to the Flyers. What does a guy have to do to get some goal support? You hate to see this.
On Jan. 12, I wrote this about Bernier as possible trade bait for GM Steve Yzerman:
“Sure, they could trade him, but I don’t know if there is any reason to even touch that situation right now. There is no point in moving Bernier and risking having absolutely zero goaltending the rest of the season. Remember, Jimmy Howard has not been healthy and his contract is up at the end of this season. I think Yzerman has to wait to see what he has then.”
I am changing my mind. If you can get one pick, move him if there is even a slight possibility of doing so. He’s under contract through 2021 -- $3 million cap hit this season and next. I don’t disagree with what I wrote a few weeks ago -- if you trade Bernier you absolutely are risking having zero goaltending. But, today, I don’t care. I don’t think anyone should care. Put six skaters on the ice for the rest of the season with an empty net, see if I care. Poor Dylan Larkin would be rushing from end-to-end to make saves. Wait, that’s kind of what he does already.
Trading Jimmy Howard?
As for Jimmy Howard, I guess he is healthy now. Regardless, this has been an extremely unforgiving season for the 35-year-old. His save percentage is sub-.900 for the first time in his career as a starter. He only has 2 wins (20 losses). With his 1-year contract done after this season (he does not have a no-trade clause), he’s got to be thinking about heading to a contender, no? This could be his last shot at being a Stanley Cup champion.
But who would take Howard? Well, I’d look for a team who suffers a goalie injury or who needs a backup to take some of the load off of a starter before the playoffs arrive. I think Howard still has the fire and determination to be a very good NHL goalie. He could play that role.
As I’ve said before, pay attention to how this month plays out, specifically for teams’ goaltending situations. Howard could be a great option for someone in a bind.
The trade deadline is 3 p.m. Feb. 24. That’s a Monday.
- Here’s the Red Wings schedule. For some reason they are required to keep playing.
- The 10 worst Detroit Red Wings seasons in history -- this season is getting closer and closer to the worst ever.
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