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Red Wings finally make Jimmy Howard’s contract extension official

Updated 10x at 4:09 PM: Almost a week after the news broke, the Detroit Red Wings officially announced that they've signed Jimmy Howard to a 6-year contract extension:

Capgeek's got the contract pegged down as a $31.8 million deal with a $5.3 million-per-season cap hit.

Update: Via RedWingsFeed, the NHL Network announced the deal, too...

 

And...

Update #2: TSN is trying very hard not to say, "Neenner neener, we had it first" here:

The Detroit Red Wings announced on Tuesday that they have signed goaltender Jimmy Howard to a six-year contract.

"We're extremely pleased to have Jimmy under contract for the next six seasons," said Holland. "He's entering the prime of his career and over the last four years has gained a tremendous amount of regular season and postseason experience.  He's developed into a top-tier NHL goaltender and is a very important part of our team moving forward. Jimmy is one of our leaders and we look forward to watching him elevate his game to the next level in a Red Wings sweater."

The 29-year-old netminder had a chance to explore free agency this summer, but told the Detroit Free Press last week that he never considered taking that route.

"I wanted to be here. I get along great with everyone here," Howard told the Free Press last week. "I believe in this organization. I just want to be here and get the job done."

Update #3: Jimmy's apparently left-handed:

Update #4: MLive's Brendan Savage confirms..

Jimmy Howard and the Detroit Red Wings agreed today on a six-year contract extension that will pay the veteran goaltender $31.8 million and keep him with the club through the 2018-19 season.

The new deal is worth $5.3 million per season and more than doubles Howard's current salary of $2.25 million.

Howard, Detroit's second-round pick (64th overall) in the 2003 NHL entry draft, is in his fourth full season with the Red Wings.

In 36 games this season, he has a 17-12-6 record, 2.31 goals-against average and .920 save percentage with three shutouts.

In 228 career games with the Red Wings, the 29-year-old Howard has a 127-66-25 record, 2.39 GAA and .917 save percentage with 14 shutouts.

"It's an exciting time for myself and my family and we're excited to be here for four more years," Howard said before boarding the Red Wings plane for Wednesday night's game in Calgary.

Four more years? Ah well, I guess you can be bad at math when you've hit the jackpot.

Update #5: From the Macomb Daily's Chuck Pleiness:

“It’s one of those things where I’ll treat everyone to dinner,” Howard said. “It’s an exciting time for myself and my family and we’re excited to be here for six more years.

“It’s still sort of surreal,” Howard added. “I still can’t believe it’s happening. It’s been a long road, a long journey with a lot of ups and down, especially with being in the American League for four years and learning to become a professional. Everything sort of panned out for me.”

Howard was in the final year of a deal that paid him $2.25 million a season.

“Everyone would want to finish their career with the team that they started with,” Howard said. “To be able to be drafted by the Wings when I was 18 and still be here and part of the organization at 29 is pretty special.”

Howard, 29, was drafted by the Wings in 2003 (second round, 64th overall) and the team spent time grooming him in the minors before bringing him up when he was out of options.

“Howie has worked hard and the organization has confidence in him,” Wings coach Mike Babcock said. “It’s important for us. We need good goaltending. Just how much parity there is, we need him each and every night and he’s been excellent for us.”

Update #6: Via RedWingsFeed, Ken Holland had some interesting things to say to the Free Press's George Sipple about the deal:

“Not only do I think he’s a really good goaltender, for our organization, it’s stability,” said Wings general manager Ken Holland. “It’s a really, really important position. We’ve got a player that wants to be here, that’s grown up through our system, has gotten better every year.”

Holland said Howard is in the prime of his career.

“If you look at the contract that we signed, we’re going to wake up in a year and maybe there’s going to be eight or 10 goaltenders that are going to make more than Jimmy Howard,” Holland said. “We got a number that Jimmy felt comfortable, that we felt comfortable with. We obviously gave some term. In order to get, you gotta give. This deal for us and for Jimmy, gives him security, gives us security, stability.

“In the next year, we’re going to wake up and it’s going to be a real good cap number in relation, a fair cap number, in relation what other people in the league are making.”

Update #7: I don't know who's poop list I got on, but I haven't received the Wings' press relase regarding Howard yet. The Windsor Star's Jim Parker has received the press release:

The Detroit Red Wings and goaltender Jimmy Howard officially agreed to a new six-year deal for a reported $31.8 million Tuesday.
The deal locks up the 29-year-old Howard through the 2018-19 season and more than doubles his current salary of $2.25 million to $5.3 million a season.

“We’re extremely pleased to have Jimmy under contract for the next six seasons,” Red Wings general manager Ken Holland said. “He’s entering the prime of his career and over the last four years has gained a tremendous amount of regular season and postseason experience.”

Detroit’s second-round pick in 2003 out of the University of Maine, the six-foot, 220-pound Howard spent the majority of his first four pro seasons with the club’s American Hockey League team in Grand Rapids, Mich. before taking over the No. 1 job in Detroit in 2009-10.

He went 37-15-10 in his rookie season with a 2.26 goals-against average and .924 save percentage in 63 games to become just the fourth goaltender in team history to record 30 or more win his rookie season joining Terry Sawchuk, Roger Crozier and Glenn Hall.

In 228 career regular-season games for the Red Wings, Howard boasts a 127-66-25 record with a 2.39 goals-against average and .917 save percentage.

“He’s developed into a top-tier NHL goaltender and is a very important part of our team moving forward,” Holland said. “Jimmy is one of our leaders and we look forward to watching him elevate his game to the next level in a Red Wings’ sweater.”

Update #8: Here's the Detroit News's Gregg Krupa's article about Howard's contract extension, updated with quotes:

Asked how deeply he would be touched — when he has to buy dinner for his teammates, as is customary around the NHL with big signings — Howard just laughed.

"Eventually, it will be one of those things where I treat everyone to dinner."

Six more years of regular starts will rank Howard among the top goalies in the history of the Red Wings. Of course, that factors in the goalie merry-go-round that Jack Adams ran for years in Detroit, as coach and general managers, with terrific goalies like Harry Lumley, Terry Sawchuk and Glenn Hall seemingly in-and-out of town, willy-nilly, despite their performances. However, Howard said it is far too early to think in those terms.

"I haven't given that any thought, whatsoever," he said. "It's just an exciting time for me and my family, and we're excited to be here for six more years.

"It's still sort of surreal," he said, of his career as he begins to approach would be the midpoints for most goalies. "I can't believe really that it's happening. It's been a long road, a long journey with lots of ups and downs, especially being in the American (Hockey) League for four years and learning to be a professional You know, everything's sort of panned out for me."

Update #9: MLive's Brendan Savage interviewed Holland about the extension...

 

 

And amongst what Holland had to say to Savage...

"If you go back nine months, with Nick Lidstrom retiring and Brad Stuart deciding to leave, we're a little bit in transition," Holland said at Joe Louis Arena. "We're trying to compete for a playoff spot at the same time we're trying to transition, bring some younger people in.

"Jimmy is 29 years of age. Not only do I think he's a really good goaltender, for our organization it's stability. It's a really, really important position. We brought (back) a player who wants to be here, who has grown up through our system. He's gotten better every year. He competes every day in practice. So now you lock down that No. 1 position.

"He's one of our most valuable players. He gives us a chance to win every night. He's a workhorse. In an 82-game schedule, he can play 65-70 games if we needed him to. He's gotten better every year. Again, he's one of our most important, most valuable players and in the prime of his career."

...

"If you look at the contract that we signed, we're going to wake up in a year and maybe there's eight or 10 goaltenders that are going to make more than Jimmy Howard," Holland said. "We got a number that Jimmy felt comfortable with and we felt comfortable with. In order to get, you got to give.

"It gives him security, it gives us security, stability. In the next year, we're going to wake up and it's going to be a good cap number, a fair cap number, in relation to what the other people in the league are making. That's to me how you identity where it fits in.

"It's an important day to me because we got somebody locked up that's really important, at a number that he feels good about, that we feel good about, that we can work with."

Quoth the coach:

"He's played well," said coach Mike Babcock. "I don't know who's our MVP. I don't know if that's (Henrik Zetterberg) or (Pavel Datsyuk) or him.  I watch Howie every day in practice and he battles and he competes and he battles in the games. He takes it personal, which I like to see."

Update #10: Via RedWingsFeed, ESPN's Barry Melrose weighs in on the deal:

Filed in: | The Malik Report | Permalink
 

Comments

topshelf14's avatar

Good signing. Hope he can get a few playoff round wins under his belt. Got to love the homegrown talent the Wings show loyalty too.

Posted by topshelf14 from Detroit, MI on 04/16/13 at 01:38 PM ET

bezukov's avatar

Jimmah

Posted by bezukov from the kids are alright. on 04/16/13 at 01:45 PM ET

RWBill's avatar

That’s a good signing.  He’s stolen a few games this year.

He and everyone on the team need to pick up their focus and consistency now through The Night of the Living Dead.

Posted by RWBill from the open bar on The Hasek. on 04/16/13 at 01:50 PM ET

peiz11's avatar

I like the deal. A little long maybe but that’s nitpicking. Guy is solid and like some said last week, he is that step below elite…this is step below elite level money.

Posted by peiz11 from Minneapolis on 04/16/13 at 01:53 PM ET

ChowYunCat's avatar

Passionate, great teammate, and DONG. Worth it.

Posted by ChowYunCat on 04/16/13 at 01:58 PM ET

SYF's avatar

Thank you, Jimmy, for believing in us.

Posted by SYF from Zata's Epic Viking Beard on 04/16/13 at 02:32 PM ET

moocat's avatar

Wait…Jimmy’s a lefty? Photo mirrored?

Posted by moocat on 04/16/13 at 02:38 PM ET

Avatar

I have major reservations about this signing which I’ve detailed previously.  People will either agree, or not.  I hope I’m wrong.  I hope everything we’ve seen about pay structures the past three years is just a mirage.  I hope this contract won’t turn into a major problem in rebuilding the team.

One thing needs to be absolutely clarified here and now, however: There will be no more blaming the guys in front of him for any future failures.  When you are one of the highest paid guys at your position and a higher paid guy than all but one or two other guys on the club, you don’t get to blame other people for not getting it done.

What, did the d not completely lock down the right side and someone slipped through to get a glorious shot on you that you didn’t save?  Too bleeping bad, James.  You’re a 5.3 mil a year player now.  Make the save.

What, did the team not score 3+ goals for you every night so the team lost in a playoff round where you had okay but not great numbers?  Too bad, James.  You’re a 5.3 mil a year player now.  Make 2.5 goals a game work.

For him, starting really soon, there aren’t going to be any more excuses allowed.

Posted by HockeyinHD on 04/16/13 at 03:03 PM ET

Mandingo's avatar

One thing needs to be absolutely clarified here and now, however: There will be no more blaming the guys in front of him for any future failures.  When you are one of the highest paid guys at your position and a higher paid guy than all but one or two other guys on the club, you don’t get to blame other people for not getting it done.

Posted by HockeyinHD on 04/16/13 at 03:03 PM ET

When has he ever done that?

Posted by Mandingo from The Garage on 04/16/13 at 03:28 PM ET

Nathan's avatar

Passionate, great teammate, and DONG. Worth it.

Posted by ChowYunCat on 04/16/13 at 01:58 PM ET

Uh, what?

Posted by Nathan from the scoresheet! on 04/16/13 at 03:42 PM ET

Bugsy's avatar

When one checks comparables using capgeek, the contract doesn’t look too bad:
http://www.capgeek.com/comparables/?player_id=310&year_id=2013

Posted by Bugsy on 04/16/13 at 04:18 PM ET

Bugsy's avatar

Also, if the criteria is save percentage with equal or more games played, only Lundqvist and Niemi are better. If you lower the bar to 30 games (Howard’s played in 36 games), add in Rask and Dubnyk:
http://espn.go.com/nhl/statistics/player/_/stat/goaltending/sort/savePct/year/2013/seasontype/2
He’s #7 in shots faced.

Posted by Bugsy on 04/16/13 at 04:24 PM ET

statelouis26's avatar

The signing is not good but it’s not the end of the world.  Salary amount is a touch high but the contract term makes it absolutely crazy and makes no sense.  IMO Jimmy is a good goalie not a great goalie.  Why sign him for 6yrs?  What’s the point of even having goalie prospects?  It doesn’t matter if the Wings develop their players for a long time, players like Mrazek who are in the minors will not take 6 years to be ready.  Moreover, they probably will not wait 6 years.  What happens to Mrazek, Paterson, Coreau, etc.?  Good luck moving Jimmy if somebody is ready and better than him in a few years (see Luongo).  The move overvalues Howard and is shortsighted.

That’s a good signing.  He’s stolen a few games this year.
Posted by RWBill from the open bar on The Hasek. on 04/16/13 at 01:50 PM ET

The Wings goal scoring has been pathetic this year and Jimmy has got no support in that area.  However, you said Howard has stolen a few games this year as in plural.  What games exactly has he stolen besides the one at the beginning of the season against LA (even where he gave of the lead late in the 3rd)?

Posted by statelouis26 from Detroit, MI on 04/16/13 at 05:21 PM ET

ChowYunCat's avatar

Uh, what?

dong
/dôNG/
Verb
(of a bell) Make a deep resonant sound.
Noun
The deep resonant sound of a large bell.
A2Y Informal Howard with a magnificent save.

 

Posted by ChowYunCat on 04/16/13 at 05:55 PM ET

peiz11's avatar

The Wings goal scoring has been pathetic this year and Jimmy has got no support in that area.  However, you said Howard has stolen a few games this year as in plural.  What games exactly has he stolen besides the one at the beginning of the season against LA (even where he gave of the lead late in the 3rd)?

There have been a couple in the last two weeks where the Wings would have been down 5-0 if it wasn’t for Jimmah doing his thing. 

As to the idea of having goalie prospects, I see what you’re saying but who knows what they will be. In 4 years, it’s going to be nice to have a solid veteran goaltender. Personally, I like having proven commodities rather than not lock him up because we have “prospects” who may or may not have what it takes to be dominant at the NHL level.  They can be patient, just like a guy named Jimmy Howard was.

Posted by peiz11 from Minneapolis on 04/16/13 at 06:01 PM ET

mrfluffy's avatar

Look at that Jimmy with the ink and paper.

Posted by mrfluffy from Long Beach on 04/16/13 at 06:04 PM ET

Hootinani's avatar

ood luck moving Jimmy if somebody is ready and better than him in a few years (see Luongo).  The move overvalues Howard and is shortsighted.

You’re comparing Howard’s 6 year contract, which takes him to 35, to Luongo’s 12 year deal, that takes him to 43? Really?  Other than the cap hit, these contracts are in no way similar.

Luongo couldn’t be moved because A) Vancouver overvalued him, B) The term is still crazy, and C) the new rules punishing holders of backdiving contracts if the player retires before its completion are prohibitive.  If he had a contract like Howard’s, Toronto, or even Florida, would have snatched him up in a heartbeat, assuming Vancouver wasn’t trying to bend one of those team over the table to get him.

In 4 of 5 years, if he continues to play as well as he does now, Howard’s contrract will not impede a trade if it becomes necessary.  Not to mention, who the hell knows how Mrazek and Paterson are going to turn out.

Posted by Hootinani on 04/16/13 at 06:13 PM ET

OlderThanChelios's avatar

I like Howard because he’s a “battler” when there’s chaos around the net. I don’t like Howard because even a high school player could score on him in a breakaway. So, stop the damn breakaways and the signing is probably a good one – although it’s for two more years than I’d personally like to see.

If I’m Mrazek and I read about this signing, I’d be pretty depressed. This dooms him to at least four years as nothing more than a back-up (beginning in 2104). Not a lot of motivation for the guy to think of the Wings as his long-term “home.”

Posted by OlderThanChelios from Grand Rapids, MI on 04/16/13 at 08:01 PM ET

Bugsy's avatar

Few more thoughts
1. When Lidstrom was the strongest player in the back, they paid him. When Howard is the strongest player in the back, they paid him.
2. Even given the number of years debate, only one goalie has played more games than Howard. Mrazek can certainly come up and take some of that load if it’s not Monster. The Wings certainly can trade from strength if need be, but goalies do get injured, too. We’ve seen a number of “prospects” flail.
3. Looking back at the Capgeek link I posted above, sort the columns by age, number of years, salary, cap hit,  etc. Most of the 20-something year old goalies have 4-7 year contracts. The salary and years aren’t out of line. Heck, they can trade Howard if they have to, with a decent contract like this, but hopefully not.

Posted by Bugsy on 04/16/13 at 08:33 PM ET

statelouis26's avatar

There have been a couple in the last two weeks where the Wings would have been down 5-0 if it wasn’t for Jimmah doing his thing. 
Posted by peiz11 from Minneapolis on 04/16/13 at 06:01 PM ET

That’s fair but I would consider stealing a game where Howard wins the game by himself.  The key being WINS rather than just keeping the Wings in it, giving them a chance to win, or keeping the team close.  He’s pretty big money now.

Anytime I ask someone to point out a specific game or instance nobody can provide one to refute my statement.  The answer is always,“I can remember Jimmy stood on his head a couple games this year.”  Answer the question and you plainly refute my point.  I called out E for throwing the puck up the middle still and many said they did not remember any instance this year.  I specifically mentioned the LA game where he threw it up the gut several times.  It’s like somebody arguing that Denard Robinson has a good arm but can’t cite to a particular game against a legit opponent where he showed that throwing proficiency (that’s b/c he’s never had such a game lol).  Sorry for the rant Peiz, it’s not necessarily directed at you.

Posted by Hootinani on 04/16/13 at 06:13 PM ET

Yes I am comparing Howard’s contract to Luongo’s.  1)  The Wing’s overvalued Howard.  He wasn’t going anywhere, he said so himself.  There was no reason to sign him to a 6yr rather than a 4 yr.  It does not advance any conceivable purpose.  It’s fair to say that the Wings solidified the position so they don’t have to worry about it for a while but why not give him 4yrs and re-sign him again if he continues to be good?  Whether or not you agree, it’s at the least a moderate risk to believe that Jimmy will continue to play at the same level for that period and not sustain injury.  2) Luongo has a significantly longer term than Howard but the situation could….could… be similar in say 2 years if Mrazek is ready (and cheaper and better).  4yrs and $20 left on a contract would probably not be easy to move, especially a goaltender.  Schneider’s emergence made Luongo a problem.  The same might be said Mrazek or Paterson in a few years.  The Howard contract was shortsighted.  3) You’re right that nobody knows how Mrazek or Paterson will turn out.  That’s the problem.  If they don’t, it still doesn’t explain why Howard could not just be re-signed in a few years instead of handed 6yrs.  Moreover, if Holland had an eye towards the future when giving the contract, b/c he obviously didn’t, he would have accounted for the possibility of a scenario in which a goaltending prospect is better than Jimmy and should be given the reins.  How wonderful is a $5.3M backup?

Posted by statelouis26 from Detroit, MI on 04/16/13 at 10:04 PM ET

George Malik's avatar

1. Yes, Jimmy’s left-handed. He’s ONE OF US big surprise

2. Look, gang, I know the deal’s about $300,000 more than we’d like per season, and that it’s a year too long, but the reality of the situation is pretty simple:

It’s market value for a goaltender who can stop pucks on a regular basis.

Just as any defenseman who can skate in a straight line is going to get about $3.5 million (20+ points? $4 million-plus!) and anyone who can score a point every other game can earn $4 million these days, the market is *#$%@& up, and it will “bear” a $5 million contract for a starting goaltender, regardless of whether he’s a “top ten” or “top five” netminder.

I would certainly like to go back to the days when Robert Lang was considered ridiculously overpaid putting up 50 points and earning $4 million eight years ago, and people thought that Brad Stuart’s extension at $3.75 million a season was a ridiculous overpayment four years ago, but those figures have become relative bargains in no small part because the Vancouvers and especially the Anaheims and Phoenixes of the world are handing out that kind of money.

It is what it is. Howard will not be untradeable if Petr Mrazek develops into a starter before the end of the deal.

Posted by George Malik from South Lyon, MI on 04/16/13 at 10:18 PM ET

statelouis26's avatar

Posted by George Malik from South Lyon, MI on 04/16/13 at 10:18 PM ET

Sorry George, I jumped off the Holland wagon after the trade deadline.  Don’t like the term, too much uncertainty.  It would benefit the Wings to have some flexibility in that regard.  Just about everybody thought Franzen deal would work out great.  Nonetheless, to each his own in the world of an armchair GM.

Posted by statelouis26 from Detroit, MI on 04/16/13 at 11:04 PM ET

Bugsy's avatar

statelouis, your opinion is reasonable, and I was expecting 4-5 years myself, but the Wings have tended over the years to reward loyalty (maybe a bit too much). You could look at the Tigers and the contract they gave Prince Fielder for example, as wondering if they were bidding against themselves vs. “going the extra mile”. If one thing can be said about Ilitch, though, is typically he’ll spend a bit more/give more years rather than less.

Posted by Bugsy on 04/16/13 at 11:19 PM ET

OlderThanChelios's avatar

Does this contract include a No Trade Clause? If it doesn’t, it’s something the Wings can live with. If it does, this contract (like Franzen’s) just plain sucks.

Posted by OlderThanChelios from Grand Rapids, MI on 04/17/13 at 12:16 AM ET

George Malik's avatar

Capgeek hasn’t added a “lock” to his contract so it doesn’t look like it…Yet.

But even “modified NTC’s” = player has to submit list of teams to which he’ll be traded. There’s no such thing as an ironclad no-trade clause anymore.

Posted by George Malik from South Lyon, MI on 04/17/13 at 12:27 AM ET

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The Malik Report is a destination for all things Red Wings-related. I offer biased, perhaps unprofessional-at-times and verbose coverage of my favorite team, their prospects and developmental affiliates. I've joined the Kukla's Korner family with five years of blogging under my belt, and I hope you'll find almost everything you need to follow your Red Wings at a place where all opinions are created equal and we're all friends, talking about hockey and the team we love to follow.