Rant Sports Top 100 NHL Players: No. 62 Jimmy Howard
While only drafted in the third round of the 2003 NHL Entry Draft and spending many years with the AHL‘s Grand Rapids Griffins, Howard holds more Stanley Cup rings than elite goalies like Pekka Rinne or Henrik Lundqvist. Granted, this is because the Red Wings chose to give him a 2008 championship ring even though he didn’t play enough games to qualify to have his name engraved on the Cup but that doesn’t diminish his overall greatness.(Source: Wikipedia)
A couple of things which stand out about Howard are his quick reflexes and uncanny ability to track the puck. This is often put on full display, as was shown at least a few times during both his first NHL win vs the Vancouver Canucks and first career shutout against the Tampa Bay Lightning in 2009.
Howard’s statistics, though not the absolute best in the NHL, are still rather impressive. During 2009-10 he finished 37-15-10 with a save percentage and GAA ranking among the league’s top five–all while only being the starter for the last half of the season. This also earned him a Calder Trophy nomination as the league’s top rookie, though he ended up finishing second to Buffalo’s Tyler Myers.
During the 2010 postseason Howard was tested early and often. He withstood the test and was able to lead the Red Wings past the Phoenix Coyotes to the second round in his first seven game series. Unfortunately, the San Jose Sharks ended the teams season there. However, his playoff numbers weren’t too bad as he posted a 2.75 GAA and .915 save percentage.
Another thing Howard is known for would be letting opponents know he won’t allow them to easily push his teammates, or team for that matter, around. This part of Howard became famous when he grabbed the Pittsburgh Penguins‘ Sidney Crosby from behind, putting his glove in Crosby’s face after Crosby cross-checked the Red Wings Henrik Zetterberg during a March 2010 game.
Either way, it seems as if injuries (he had a nagging groin problem and broken finger during 2011-12′) might be the only thing to stop him from continually putting up outstanding numbers and maybe even becoming a finalist, or even winning, the Vezina or William M. Jennings Trophy. Also, if the Red Wings make it to another Cup final Howard will likely be the one to lead them there!
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