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Why the Blues don’t need Jimmy Howard in their lives

NHL: St. Louis Blues at Detroit Red Wings Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

It’s a time honored tradition in St. Louis with the Blues. The starting goaltender isn’t playing up to expectations, the team is playing like garbage as a unit, so an alarm sounds to go out and acquire a goaltender. Why not, right? It’s like going to the grocery store for seven things and getting a six pack of beer even though you already have 48 cans in the fridge.

Just do me a favor and say no to Jimmy Howard.

The Detroit Red Wings lifer who plays the air drums in his locker before a game starts would have been a solid idea a few years back when he was one of the best goalies in the Western Conference, but these days would just resemble an excuse in net.

The St. Louis Blues are a mess. They can’t play suitable defense. The goal-scoring is down. The special teams rank in the top ten in the league, but haven’t been able to lift the fog on their overall play. Several players are missing in action, injured, or are developing an above-the-neck condition called “don’t care enough.” It’s getting ugly and Howard won’t help.

The soon-to-be 35-year-old goaltender’s 2.70 goals against average ranks 26th in the NHL, and his save percentage of 92.2% ranks in the upper teens in the NHL. He hasn’t recorded a shutout, and he does play for an equally problematic team. However, why would you expect his play to improve at all behind the Blues’ regrettable defense? Howard would definitely fare worse.

Goaltending isn’t the main issue right now for the Blues. Over the past couple weeks, Jake Allen has looked better and more assured in net. He’s not allowing 4 to 5 goals a game and finishing with a save percentage of 89% or less that often. While I am not a fan of his play overall, swapping him out for Howard wouldn’t move the needle much for the team.

I know what you will say next. What if the Red Wings take Allen in exchange for Howard? Let me present an easy retort: why in the world would they want Allen? He makes $4.35 million this season, which is more than Howard’s base salary of $4.25 million. Howard’s cap hit this year is $5.3 million, so I get the idea to shed the rest of that. But make a move to shed Howard’s salary and take on Allen’s contract, which runs through 2020-21 and carries a total cap hit of $8.7 million the next two seasons. It makes no sense.

But, wait, Detroit will ask for a prospect in return to balance out the deal. If Doug Armstrong even thinks about including Robert Thomas or Jordan Kyrou, he should just drive his car down to the Poplar Street Bridge and jump into the Mississippi. Swim east and don’t stop until you hit a big rock. Armstrong should just buy a 99.1 Joy FM bumper sticker and ride the Loop Trolley for a few days, and then buy season tickets to the XFL team coming to town.

The Blues shouldn’t part with anything resembling a decent prospect in order to let Howard tend goal. Did he really impress you this week when the Blues put a few goals past him? I saw a guy who was over the hill yet avoiding Suckville for a few more months. I’ll pass.

Let’s play devil’s advocate for a minute. If Detroit will take on Allen’s contract and wants someone like Zach Sanford as well? Red Wings get a 24-year-old prospect and a goaltender who couldn’t be much worse than Howard. The Blues get rid of Allen’s contract and lose a prospect, but they aren’t in such dire need of left wingers as they are for good defensemen. If that was the case, I’d think about it.

But I doubt Detroit takes that deal, so I’ll stay in reality and just tell you Howard isn’t a good play. As Art Lippo would admit, the Howard acquisition would be good for a Twitter line brawl and nothing else. There are other ways to start Twitter meltdowns though. Just talk about politics or religion. Much easier than making a trade.

The Blues play in Colorado tonight. The Avalanche are red hot, so I expect a 4-2 Blues win to further torture the St. Louis fan base into thinking this team is worth a damn this season.