Why Jimmy Howard Should Have Been In The Vezina Discussion, But Has No Chance of Winning

Nick Seguin
January 04 2017 06:42AM

Last season, fans were calling for Jimmy Howard to be traded. His mediocre play as the Red Wings starting goaltender had been holding the team back for the last couple of years. And, when he fell to injury, backup Petr Mrazek rose to the occasion, posting a .951 SV% and 1.31 GAA through January and the first half of February.

Now that the Wings had a young goalie with a high ceiling, there was no need for the aging Jimmy Howard and his $5.3 million cap hit. Unfortunately, his contract doesn’t come off the books until 2019-20. Due to this, Howard was deemed “untradable”.

As it turned out, this was a blessing in disguise for the Red Wings. Jimmy Howard has been the strongest player on the team with stats that rank him with the best goalies in the league. Before falling to an MCL Sprain that is keeping him out 4-6 weeks, he was making a strong case for himself as a Vezina Trophy candidate.

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Danny DeKeyser's Slow Start and What It Means For the Red Wings

Nick Seguin
December 16 2016 02:07PM

In their predictions for the 2016-17 season on NHL.com , only two of their twenty “experts” penned Detroit into a playoff spot. If you had asked the majority of the Red Wings fan base, they would have said that the boys in red would secure a Wild Card spot, but fall once again in the first round. The season so far has been much, much worse than anyone had anticipated.

This awful start to the season has been somewhat of a puzzle. Their possession is the worst it’s been in years. They’re not getting shots off and when they do, they are low quality shots. Their scorers are not scoring. Their powerplay has been abysmal. But what’s driving all this poor play? There are many players underperforming on the team and they’ve all received their fair share of critique. Some of it has been well-earned, but most of it is purely an emotional response.

So instead of rattling off an angry hot take supported by surface numbers that don’t say much, I’d like to take a deeper look into one of the team’s players who had some of the highest expectations placed on him: Danny DeKeyser.

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The Detroit Red Wings Need To Shoot More

Nick Seguin
December 07 2016 06:48PM

It’s the oldest lesson in the book. I can still hear the voice of my minor hockey coach echoing off the empty cinderblock walls of South Windsor Arena: “If you don’t shoot the puck, you can’t score!” This did not mean that you should take the puck coast-to-coast every shift and take a weak shot from the blue line. It was more a message about capitalizing on your opportunities.

As I watched the Detroit Red Wings in their game against the New York Islanders on Sunday night, I couldn’t help but remember that old lesson. It’s something that Red Wings head coach Jeff Blashill should be preaching to his team this season. They currently rank 28th in the league in SF/60 and 29th in the league in Shot Differential per Game. If there’s one thing the Red Wings need to do more of, it’s shoot.

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The Decline of Niklas Kronwall

Nick Seguin
August 25 2016 04:38PM

Times were good back in 2009: the Detroit Red Wings were defending Stanley Cup champions; Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg had established their status as The Eurotwins; Detroit had a legitimate top-6 defense corps headed by team captain Nick Lidstrom; and Niklas Kronwall was at the top of his game.

At 28 years old, Kronwall played an 80 game season and broke the 50-point barrier. He had 94 hits, 106 blocks, and was named an NHL All-Star for the first time. Soaking up the leadership from vets like Chris Chelios and Brian Rafalski, Kronwall was touted as the man who would take the reigns from Lidstrom one day on the blueline.

Unfortunately, the skates were too big to fill. In Kronner’s defense, though, it was Lidstrom. He was irreplaceable.

And Kronwall didn’t do too bad in the years following Lidstrom’s retirement. In the lockout shortened 2012-13 season, he put up 29 points in 48 games and in 2013-14, he recorded 49 points in 79 games. He was named an All-Star both years and ranked top-15 in Norris voting. He was by no means the best defenseman in the league, but he was the best defenseman on the Red Wings.

This is no longer the case as Kronwall has entered a decline that I don’t think he’ll be coming out of.

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