Detroit — The Red Wings are the only organization Jimmy Howard and Darren Helm have known in their pro careers.
But it appears that might be changing this offseason — and both appear fine with that.
Howard is potential trade bait and Helm can be an unrestricted free agent July 1, but both sounded as if their Red Wings careers might be over.
Joining the two are potential unrestricted free agents Kyle Quincey, Brad Richards and Drew Miller — all of whom are questionable to return — as the Red Wings embark on a summer of change.
Howard and Petr Mrazek split the workload until late December, when Mrazek’s performance took off while Howard slumped.
Howard blamed himself, saying he didn’t play well enough in late December and lost his job to Mrazek, but added that a trade is a distinct possibility.
“I’ve considered it but we’ll see what happens,” Howard said when asked whether he might have played his last game with the Red Wings. “It’s part of the business (being traded) . A lot of people go through it. If that were to happen, it happens.”
Howard has three more years left with a salary cap just over $5 million per season, and understands if general manager Ken Holland looks to trade Howard with Mrazek likely the starting goaltender heading into next season.
Holland said it might have been a luxury to have two goaltenders of this quality on the roster, and it might be best for the organization and players involved to look for a trade at the entry draft.
Along with the obvious financial considerations, Helm wants to find out what his role would be heading into the future.
“There were situations I definitely wasn’t happy with this year, when those situations arose,” Helm said, not expanding on what those situations were. “I want to see why that happened as often as it did and make sure I find a place where it won’t happen as often.”
Said Holland: “I have interest in Helmer coming back but it takes two to tango.”
Quincey would love to return but understands not winning usually brings changes to the lineup.
“A veteran told me in Colorado (where Quincey once played) once we’re in the business of winning and teams that win stay together,” Quincey said. “It’s uncertainty right now (around the Red Wings).”
Miller suffered tears to his knee Jan. 10 and underwent season-ending surgery.
Miller is in the process of rehabilitation and was aiming to return in early June had the Red Wings kept playing.
“So far so good, everything is on the right path,” Miller said. “The knee is feeling a lot better.
“It’s one of those years you kind of want to forget. But the good thing is the knee is coming back stronger and my ACL has been torn or partially torn for 10 years so it’ll be good to come back stronger and I’m definitely motivated.”
Miller would like to return to the Red Wings but “I have to get myself healthy and cleared (to play) and then we’ll go from there.”
Coach Jeff Blashill would like someone with NHL experience to replace assistant coach Tony Granato, who moved to become head coach at Wisconsin.
“One thing Tony certainly provided was great experience in the NHL as a player and coach,” Blashill said. “He could give you a lot of perspective as you manueuver through the NHL and there’s no question experience will be a big factor.
“I’ve got a list of names but I’m still gathering names.”
There’s a possibility Blashill will reshuffle responsibilities once a new assistant is hired.
“We’ll look at everything,” Blashill said. “(It’s about) how can we be better and how we can make ourselves more productive next year?”
Johan Franzen (concussion) continues to be hindered by headaches and complications resulting from his concussion.
Franzen played the first two games this season, before being set back with the concussion problems which began in January 2015.
“I know that sometimes he’s driving down and he turns around and goes home,” Holland said. “He’s doing OK but I don’t know if he’s doing great.”
Red Wings players who have committed to their respective countries for the upcoming world championships include: Pavel Datsyuk and Alexey Marchenko (Russia), Tomas Jurco (Slovakia), Teemu Pulkkinen (Finland) and Dylan Larkin and Luke Glendening (United States).
Danny DeKeyser has been invited by Team USA but isn’t sure if he’ll accept because he’s getting married this summer.
Tomas Tatar will have an MRI on a sore shoulder that will keep him from playing in the world championships.
…Justin Abdelkader will skip the tournament to continue healing a dislocated finger April 1 against Minnesota. Abdelkader said it might be up to two months before the finger is completely healed.
…Evgeny Svechnikov, the 2015 1st-round pick, will report to Grand Rapids later this week joining defenseman Joe Hicketts and defenseman Vili Saarijarvi, who also recently turned pro.
The Griffins are leading their best-of-five first-round 2-0 over Milwaukee.