The Stanley Cup is the ultimate prize for goalie Jimmy Howard something he’d love to be part of bringing to the Red Wings organization.

But this season there’s the added nugget of attempting to make the U.S. Olympic hockey roster and being part of the national team in the Sochi Olympics in February.

It’s an honor Howard would feel deeply about.

“When you put that jersey on you’re representing an entire country not just one organization” said Howard who will be among a deep pool of goaltenders competing for a U.S. roster spot. “There’s nothing else like it.”

Howard’s push toward an Olympic spot would benefit the Red Wings also as the U.S. national team will likely go with the goaltenders playing their best hockey heading into the Olympic tournament.

Signed to a six-year contract extension worth $31.8 million last season Howard 29 has cemented his position as the No. 1 goalie and a leader on the roster.

Howard tied for the league lead with five shutouts last season with a 21-13-7 record and 2.13 goals-against average and .923 save percentage (both ninth in the league) and is now being mentioned as one of the top 10 goalies in the NHL.

“It was like that all season Howie gave us a chance to win (a game).” defenseman Niklas Kronwall said.

Few positions on the U.S. Olympic team are as deep as the goaltending.

Along with Howard East Lansing native Ryan Miller (the 2010 U.S. silver-medal- winning standout) Jonathan Quick (Los Angeles’ 2013 Conn Smythe-winning goalie) and Ottawa’s Craig Anderson (league leader in both goals-against and save percentage) and Cory Schneider (New Jersey) are battling for roster spots.