While Red Wings goalie Jimmy Howard became only the fourth rookie goalie in franchise history to post a 30-win season, there's another reason he should be considered the leading candidate for the Calder Trophy. Without him, the Red Wings might not have even qualified for the Stanley Cup playoffs.
It's a fact that all of us are familiar with. Admittedly, I thought that the one game that Jimmy played in during the 2008-2009 season was his last shot (a loss to Pinky's Wild), but Detroit decided to send away Ty Conklin instead...even though he wanted to stay. Well that turned out to be a great decision...nothing against Conklin, but who knows what would have happened with the saddle on him for 25 straight games.
Howard's 25 consecutive starts were the most by a first-year goalie since Connie Dion suited up for 26 straight in 1943-44. He made quite the turnaround, too, after his opening-night debacle in St. Louis on Oct. 3 when he allowed five goals on 32 shots in a 5-3 loss.
Remember that game? Tyler from The Triple Deke may...
ST. LOUIS BLUES 5 - 3 DETROIT RED WINGS
Jimmy Howard sucks. There's your recap.
I of course remember that game...having paid my way on over to Stockholm only to see the Wings drop both of those games. I remember thinking that Howard looked really solid...aside from the two soft goals that he let in.
But back to what NHL.com had to say, because the kid obviously turned things around over the course of the year...check these stats out:
Howard appeared in 63 games during the 2009-10 regular-season, finishing with 37 wins (tied for eighth in the NHL), a 2.26 goals-against average (fifth), a .924 save percentage (fourth) and three shutouts.
This puts him in company with some pretty impressive names:
Howard joined Hall of Famers Glenn Hall (30 in 1955-56), Terry Sawchuk (44 in 1950-51) and Roger Crozier (40 in 1964-65) as the only first-year goalies in Detroit to win 30-plus games.
Crozier was the last Red Wing to win the Calder Trophy. Zetterberg got screwed.
Go get 'em Jimmah!