|(7/25/17) Howard will enter next season as Detroit's starting goaltender, TSN reports.|
Two key factors heavily influenced Howard's return to the starter's role after the wheels fell off during the 2015 Stanley Cup playoffs. For one, he turned back the clock last season with career bests in GAA (2.10) and save percentage (.927), despite being limited to 26 games because of groin and knee injuries. Meanwhile, Petr Mrazek -- an aggressive backstop who's eight years younger than Howard -- went the completely opposite direction with a 3.04 GAA and .901 save mark over 50 contests, ending up exposed to the Golden Knights in the expansion draft (though Vegas took forward prospect Tomas Nosek instead). A true professional, it appears that Howard never complained about his role even when demoted, which is a stark contrast to alleged character concerns involving Mrazek. Consider drafting the veteran as a mid-tier backstop who reportedly could log 50-plus games if he stays healthy.