from Helene St. James of the Detroit Free Press,
Howard, 36, was signed to a one-year extension last season by then-general manager Ken Holland with the mindset that if Howard played well, he’d be back for another season. That won’t happen – Howard, 36, struggled in 2019-20: 2-23-2 with a 4.20 GAA and .882 save percentage.
There isn’t anybody in the system ready to spell Bernier. Calvin Pickard, signed by Yzerman last summer to serve as a third-string goalie, appeared in three games with the Wings, posting a 5.46 GAA and .797 save percentage. None of the prospects are remotely close to ready for NHL action – Filip Larsson, 21, considered the organization’s top goalie prospect last summer, struggled so much his first year of pro hockey he spent more games (10, posting a 2.72 GAA and .910 save percentage) with Toledo in the ECHL than with Grand Rapids (seven, posting a 4.01 GAA and .843 save percentage) in the AHL.
Yzerman could look at trading for a goaltender, but the players he has that would interest another team are key parts of the rebuild. A more likely option is to use free agency.
Braden Holtby, who backstopped the Washington Capitals to the Stanley Cup championship in 2018, headlines the list of goalies who are eligible to become unrestricted free agents this offseason. Holtby was selected in the fourth round of the 2008 draft, when the Wings wasted their first-round pick on goalie Tom McCollum, who played a grand total of three NHL games.