Maine goalie Jimmy Howard has signed a professional contract with the Detroit Red Wings and will not return for his senior season. Howard played in 82 career games for Maine with a 1.84 goals against average and a .931 save percentage along with a school record 15 shutouts. He was Detroit’s second round draft choice in 2003.
“Naturally I am disappointed that Jimmy will not be back with our team this season, but I am also very proud of Jim and excited for his future with Detroit,” said head coach Tim Whitehead.
“I have been dreaming of playing in the National Hockey League all of my life, and to get one step closer to that goal is special,” said Howard. “I really enjoyed my three years at Maine. Playing in front of the greatest fans in college hockey is something that I will never forget. It has been a priviledge to wear the Maine sweater. I wish all my teammates the best this season.”
Last season Howard played in 39 games with a 1.97 goals against average and a .921 save percentage. He posted six shutouts on the season, including four against Hockey East opponents, giving him a conference record nine career shutouts. He was named the Hockey East Defensive Player of the Week four times and Hockey East Goalie of the Month in January. Following the season he earned Hockey East Honorable Mention honors.
In 2003-04, Howard recorded six shutouts in 22 games played and posted an amazing 1.19 goals against average and .956 save percentage, both of which set NCAA single-season records. He was named a second team All-American, Hockey East first-team all-conference and Hockey East Goaltending Champion. Howard set Hockey East regular season records with a 1.15 GAA and a .953 save percentage. He was named Hockey East Defensive Player of the Week four times and Hockey East Goalie of the Month three times.
As a freshman in 2002-03, he played in 21 games with a 2.45 GAA and a .916 save percentage on the way to being named Hockey East Rookie of the Year. He set the Maine record for consecutive scoreless minutes with 193:45 and had three shutouts. Howard was named to the Hockey East All-Rookie Team and earned Hockey East Rookie of the Week honors three times, Defensive Player of the Week once and Rookie of the Month once.