There may be some major changes planned in Hockeytown this summer and two players that could very well be on the way out are now backup goalie Jimmy Howard and underachieving winger Tomas Tatar.
Wings general manager Ken Holland told the Detroit Free Press he has “thought about it lots” when asked if Howard would be dealt at some point over the summer.
The 32-year-old netminder has three years remaining on his contract, which carries an annual cap hit of $5.3 million. With Petr Mrazek taking over No. 1 duties, there’s just no room for Howard in the crease heading forward.
“I’m going to get to the draft, I’m going to talk to a lot of people, see what’s out there,” Holland told the Free Press.
Howard spoke to media and is already accepting the fact he may have played his final game for the Red Wings.
“I’ve made a lot of great friends here, but that’s the nature of this business,” he told the Free Press. “Sometimes you have to pack up and leave.”
As for Tatar, the Wings were hoping the 25-year-old sniper could build on a career season where he netted 29 goals during the 2014-15 campaign. That just wasn’t the case as Tatar was shuffled around to different lines all year long before finding himself on the fourth unit with Joakim Andersson and Andreas Athanasiou.
Once a promising piece of the Red Wings’ future plans, Tatar — who will be an RFA in 2017-18 — is now considered trade bait for Holland this summer.
“It would be really tough to change the jersey but it’s a part of this job,” Tatar told reporters this week. “Maybe some team will need you more than this team.”
Tatar, who admitted to playing through a shoulder injury during the playoffs, said he felt more pressure to be an elite goal producer after inking a three-year $8.25-million deal with the Wings in 2014.
— Detroit Red Wings (@DetroitRedWings) April 25, 2016