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Maine Sports Hero of the Week

Earlier this month, former University of Maine goalie Jimmy Howard was named to his third NHL all-star team. He also made the team in 2012 and 2015, however, was injured for the game in 2015. This year, the game will be played on January 26 in San Jose.

Despite the fact that the Red Wings are struggling this season, Howard has put up some solid numbers. He has played in 33 games for the Wings this year and is 13-13 with a 2.78 goals against average and a .915 save percentage.

There has been a lot of talk this season that Howard would be traded at the NHL deadline. In fact, TSN has listed Howard, along with former Black Bear Gustav Nyquist, among their top-10 ‘trade bait list.” Howard and Nyquist are both unrestricted free agents, however, in recent days word has come out that the Red Wings are setting a very high asking price for each and will probably look to resign both. There have also been reports that if Howard is traded, the Red Wings could look to resign him after the season.

The awards that Howard won and the records that he holds from his collegiate days at Maine are impressive. He still holds NCAA records for save percentage (.956) and goals against average (1.19) in a season. I am not sure however that people realize what an impressive NHL career he has amassed.

Howard currently ranks ninth all-time among American-born goaltenders in career games played with 494. Just eight American-born goalies have played in 500 or more career games and Howard is closing in on them. He is ahead of some greats who had impressive careers including Guy Hebert, Tim Thomas, and Garth Snow. He is 141 games played ahead of former Black Bear Ben Bishop. His 234 career NHL wins rank eighth among American-born goaltenders.

I recently had a chance to listen to a podcast with former Black Bear and current teammate Gustav Nyquist. Jokingly during the podcast, they asked Nyquist if Howard was as big a legend at the University of Maine as he thinks that he was. Nyquist, saying that he knew Howard would probably hear the podcast at some point said no, that he thought that Ben Bishop was a bigger legend with a laugh.

I think that I’d have to disagree. Jimmy Howard is for sure a legend in Black Bear Nation and I can’t wait to watch Howard in the all-star game next weekend!

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