According to Ansar Khan from Mlive.com, the Red Wings are closing in on a 6 year contract extension worth an estimated $5.3MM per year with 29 year old goalie Jimmy Howard.
The Red Wings absolutely needed to lock up Howard, after the recent familiar faces like Thomas Holmstrom and Nicklas Lidstrom retired and question marks all over the Defense, Howard has become a fan favorite and marketing tool for the organization.
What this means in the short term is that the Red Wings are set in the net with a starter and work horse for the next few years. But, don’t expect in year 5 and 6 for Howard to still be an elite goaltender.
This deal may be a year or two longer than Ken Holland would have liked, but the extra years were needed to keep Howard’s salary cap number down and to keep a strong goaltender in the net. But, with the Wings history with Chris Osgood, Jimmy Howard, Dominik Hasak, Curtis Joseph and so on, they are not afraid to have two starting goaltenders on the team, and that is what they are expecting to have in two or three years with Petr Mrasek, the young Czech goalie in Grand Rapids.
This is a good deal for Jimmy Howard and a fine deal for the Red Wings, who don’t have to try and overpay for a goalie for a couple of years while hoping Mrasek can develop quicker, they can sit back and wait a little longer and allow him to learn under Howard and possibly take over in the final year or two.