Could the Detroit Red Wings trade Jimmy Howard this season? Will the Winnipeg Jets trade Dustin Byfuglien or Andrew Ladd?
Can Jimmy Howard win back his job?
MLIVE.COM: Ansar Khan reports Detroit Red Wings goalie Jimmy Howard is expected to be highly motivated to win back the starter’s job he lost to backup Petr Mrazek in last spring’s playoffs. The Wings decided not to trade Howard and his $5.2 million cap hit this summer because they want to see if Mrazek can carry the load over a full season. Khan believes the Wings won’t move Howard this season as long as they’re in playoff contention, preferring to keep him as insurance. If Mrazek fully establishes himself as their starting netminder, the Wings could try to trade Howard next summer.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Considering the limited depth in potentially available goalies in next summer’s UFA market, there could be several suitors for Howard if he hits the trade block. If Martin Jones fails to pan out for the San Jose Sharks, or Cam Talbot with the Edmonton Oilers, or Robin Lehner with the Buffalo Sabres, Howard could become an option for those clubs. The Toronto Maple Leafs could also give him a look if they lose confidence in Jonathan Bernier.
What will the Jets do with Byfuglien and Ladd?
NHL.COM: Patrick Williams reports Winnipeg Jets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff must deal with the expiring contracts of team captain Andrew Ladd and defenseman Dustin Byfuglien. The duo are eligible next summer for unrestricted free agency. “Will the Jets retain Ladd and Byfuglien? One of them? Neither? If they do trade Ladd or Byfuglien, or both, do they do it before this season?”, asks Williams, who notes Cheveldayoff will be under considerable pressure to re-sign the duo if the Jets are in playoff contention.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Despite the Byfuglien trade buzz earlier this summer, I doubt he or Ladd will be dealt before the start of the season. If the Jets are out of playoff contention by the trade deadline, that’s when I’ll put more stock into the Byfuglien trade rumors. Ultimately, I believe the Jets will re-sign Ladd and let Byfuglien depart via free agency. They have the blueline depth to offset Byfuglien’s departure, but cannot replace Ladd’s leadership, let alone his experience and skills at left wing.