Currently, Jimmy Howard is the best goaltender on the Detroit Red Wings. Now that might now be saying much, but it is the truth. Though his .908 save percentage and 2.83 goals against average don’t scream Vezina Trophy, it is still better than what Petr Mrazek has brought to the ice thus far.
At 33-years-old, Howard does not have much more time in net for Detroit. In reality, his tenure with the team that drafted him is probably over in the summer of 2019. The rebuilding Red Wings need to start looking at who will be the go-to netminder of the future.
Of course, free agency is always an option. However, it is becoming more common for teams to rely on their prospect pool, especially with franchise far away from contending. Let’s take a look at some players inside the Red Wings organization that can fill the void in net after Howard’s departure.
Detroit Red Wings Goaltending After Jimmy Howard
The 19-year-old, Filip Larsson, was selected in the sixth round of the 2016 NHL Entry Draft by Detroit. Currently, the Stockholm, Sweeden native tends goal for the Tri-City Storm of the USHL.
Larsson is having an impressive first season in net for the Storm. In 18 games, the netminder is posting a .946 save percentage, 1.45 goals against average, and has five shutouts. In addition, Larsson has been selected to represent his country in this year’s International Ice Hockey Federation World Junior Championship.
Although he his a few years away from suiting up for the Red Wings, Larsson comes with a lot of promise and potential. He has decided to go the college hockey route and will continue to develop his skills for the University of Denver in 2018-19. Larsson is most certainly a goalie prospect to keep an eye on in the upcoming years.
Joren Van Pottelberghe
Joren Van Pottelberghe was taken in the fourth round of the 2015 NHL Entry Draft. Then 20-year-old Zug, Switzerland native is currently manning the crease for HC Davos of the NLA in Switzerland.
In his second season with HC Davos, Van Pottelberghe is putting together a mediocre performance. Through 17 games, he has recorded a 2.98 goals against average and a .904 save percentage. To be frank, the young netminder’s numbers to this point are far less impressive than what Larsson has accomplished. However, he is still young and could surprise the franchise.
The Red Wings signed Kaden Fulcher to a three-year entry-level contract after liking what they saw in their summer development camp. The 19-year-old Fulcher is in his third season with the Hamilton Bulldogs of the Ontario Hockey League.
After shakey numbers his first two seasons in the OHL, Fulcher is making progress. He has 2.77 goals against average, .903 save percentage, three shutouts in 28 games. The verdict is still out on the Brigden, Ontario native but Detroit’s management clearly sees some potential in the youngster.
The sample size for Keith Petruzzelli is still quite small. He was selected in the third round of the last summer’s draft and currently plays college hockey at Quinnipiac University.
In his six games this season, Petruzzelli has been less than stellar, recording a 3.95 goals against average and .860 save percentage. However, his performance just a year prior with the Muskegon Lumberjacks of the USHL was far better. Where he was drafted suggests that Petruzzelli most certainly has the potential to start in net for the Wings someday. Just like every other goalie prospect, only time will tell.