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Holland Reportedly Holding Out For First-Round Pick In Potential Howard Trade

Howard's increasing his value by the game.

November 29, 2018 - 12:06 pm

Not that he wants to leave, but Jimmy Howard might be playing his way out of Detroit. The veteran goalie has been steady since the start of the season, and even better of late, boosting his trade value to the point where Ken Holland could be inclined to pull the trigger. 

According to Frank Seravalli of TSN, Howard is already drawing interest on the trade market from the likes of the Blues and the Penguins. Both teams have been held back thus far by shoddy goaltending, particularly the Blues, who got a first-hand look at Howard Wednesday night when he made 33 saves in a 4-3 Red Wings win. 

Howard owns a .922 save percentage over 18 appearances, which ranks 16th in the NHL and ninth among goalies with at least 15 games played. He's in the final year of his contract that carries a $5.3 million cap hit. He turns 35 in March. 

According to Seravalli, Holland is hoping to land a first-round pick. 

"GM Ken Holland tried to move Howard two years ago, but the term on his contract made him a difficult sell. Now Holland is believed to be holding out in an attempt to get a first-round pick in return, a price he may well fetch between now and the Feb. 25 deadline. Sometimes the best trades are the one you don’t make," Seravalli reports.

If Howard keeps playing the way he has of late, a first-rounder isn't out of the question. He's 5-1-1 with a .934 save percentage and a 2.24 goals against average in his last seven games. 

The Blues, who have been trying to get over the hump in the Western Conference for years, have been known to spend big for help in net. They sent first- and third-round picks to the Sabres at the 2014 deadline as part of a deal for veteran Ryan Miller. Much like Howard, Miller was 33 years old at the time and a pending free agent. 

It bears mention that St. Louis does not have a first-round pick in the 2019 draft, as they traded it to Buffalo in the offseason in the Ryan O'Reilly deal. 

In a recent interview with 97.1 The Ticket, Holland acknowledged that Howard is someone who could be dealt at the deadline, but said he wants to see how things shake out over the next couple months. In short, the Wings aren't trading him anytime in the near future. 

"I don’t think it does any good to start the rumor mill. The rumor mill’s going to start churning on its own," Holland said. "We’ve got a number of veterans whose contracts are expiring between now and the end of the year, so let’s see what the next 40 games bring, let's see how we’re playing."