Where there's smoke, there's fire.
And folks, there's been a bit of smoke on a trade scenario that would bring Detroit Red Wings veteran goalie Jimmy Howard to the Columbus Blue Jackets before the February 25 trade deadline.
The Athletic's Aaron Portzline brought up Howard as a potential trade target during a Twitter thread on Tuesday night.
Weve talked at length about #CBJ needing a goaltender in return if Bobrovsky is moved before trade deadline, how one move could require a second. A name to keep in mind in the scenario is Jimmy Howard, who is in his final contract year with the #RedWings. Quality veteran. 6/6
— Aaron Portzline (@Aportzline) February 5, 2019
His colleague at The Athletic, Pierre LeBrun, shared similar sentiments in his notebook ($) the day prior.
If the Blue Jackets decide to move pending UFA netminder Sergei Bobrovsky (who has a full no-move so he’d have to okay any trade), no question GM Jarmo Kekalainen would want some insurance in net. Howard would fit that bill perfectly, depending on the cost, of course.
It's not often that two separate NHL insiders (one local and one national, to boot) both publish thoughts this similar without there being a something to it, so it's a situation worth monitoring over the next couple of weeks. That said, other insiders have pointed to Jonathan Quick as a potential fit as well, so Columbus could be lining up a few options.
Still, Howard would be a quality replacement for Bobrovsky. The 34-year-old netminder has been a full-time NHL starting goalie for the last decade, having spent his entire NHL career with the Red Wings, and he's been a quality player for the majority of that time. His goals saved above average – essentially the goalie version of baseball's Wins Above Replacement – is at a solid 8.04 this season. Sergei Bobrovsky's performance this season, for reference, has been negative, at a -7.54.
Howard has posted strong numbers on a mediocre Red Wings team this season, with a .916 save percentage, earning a spot on the Atlantic Division's all-star team. Like Bobrovsky, he's set to become a free agent this summer.
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