Coming into the season I had this feeling Howard was really going to struggle. During preseason he was loosing the puck, not controlling his rebounds, and seemed to be unfocused. Then the season began...
Howard has easily changed my thoughts on him this season. I've always been a big doubter but I can assure you I fully believe Jimmy Howard is not only a capable NHL starting goaltender, but among the top 15.
Goalies seem to be rather inconsistent, sometimes having remarkable seasons and coming back down to earth or even getting lost in obscurity. This is something I can't see happening to Jimmy. He has refined his approach to the position, making himself look huge, playing the puck carrier aggressively and always being squared up. His athleticism seems to have improved as he is making some extremely tough saves which rely on elite reflexes and all this combined has put him into the discussion of top 5 goalies for this young season.
Here is what I predicted for Jimmah:
Here are his stats to date:
It's very noticeable my expectations were low. Apparently so were the NHL's.
Let me get this out of the way first, I really do not enjoy anything about the all-star game. It's a boring "game" nobody wants to play hard in at the risk of injury. There is nothing that even remotely resembles defense and Bettman likes to throw the suspension card around if you plan on not attending. It's ugly, it's not enjoyable, and the fan voting is outrageous.
That said, the NHL gets to pick which players go on the ballot and if that player isn't on it you have to write them in thus making there chances of making it remote.
Howard was left off the ballot, which at the beginning of the season might have been understandable. But as the season has gone on, Howard has proven himself, only to be left off for 18 other starting goalies. 18! There are only 30 starting goalies in the league... Goalies like Halak and Reimer were put on and a goaltender amongst the best statistically was left off.
For these reasons, if you are frequent reader of Red Wings material, I'm sure you have seen the motion going around of #VOTEJIMMAH. Go to the NHL All-Star voting page and write-in the home-grown talent.
Spread the word and do your part!
Here is a list of the past Predictions&Portraits:Filppula
Player Predictions (No portraits, yet!)
Red Wings Season Prediction