The Malik Report
by George Malik on 02/28/11 at 03:16 PM ET
Latest update at 2:18 PM: Per Paul, ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun, TSN’s Bob McKenzie, Yahoo Sports’ Nicholas J. Cotsonika and others, the Red Wings have signed their biggest unrestricted free agent-to-be, Jimmy Howard, to a ridiculous bargain of a 2-year contract extension.
Howard will supposedly earn $2.25 million per season for the next two years, which is quite the master stroke by Wings GM Ken Holland as Howard leads the NHL in wins this season and has posted 67 wins over the past two seasons. I’ll update this post with the MSM’s reports on this as soon as they roll in.
“He’s won almost 70 games for us in two years,” general manager Ken Holland said. “He was runner-up as rookie of the year last year. We’re very pleased to be keeping him in a Red Wings uniform.”
Update 12:35 PM: Holland to Khan:
The Detroit Red Wings have signed goaltender Jimmy Howard to a two-year contract extension worth $4.5 million.
“We’re pleased to get him signed,’’ general manager Ken Holland said. “His prime years are ahead of him. He had a great rookie year. He’s got 30 wins this year.’‘
More Holland on Howard: “He had a great rookie year. He’s got 30 wins this year.’‘
Update 12:42 PM: Yahoo Sports confirms as well.
Update 12:43 PM: Fox Sports Detroit’s Trevor Thompson confirms from Howard:
#RedWings Jimmy Howard told me he’s “very happy” with new deal & will likely have to buy a team dinner, or “whatever else Draper dreams up!”
Update 12:46 PM: More from Holland via Khan:
“I like that he’s a workhorse. He’s a guy we can put in net night after night,’’ Holland said. “I like that he’s 27, coming into his prime. We drafted him, we developed him, we watched him grow as a goaltender.’‘
Holland said the timing of the deal, just before today’s NHL trade deadline, was just a coincidence. He said he was was prepared to wait until after the playoffs to get a deal done but he’s glad they’re not running the risk of having Howard distracted by his contract situation the rest of the season and in the playoffs.
“It’s out of the way, put to bed, no potential for distractions,’’ Holland said.
“Both sides feel good about it,’’ Holland said. “We’re hoping Jimmy will continue to grow and we’ll do a deal bigger than this one (next time).’‘
Update 12:53 PM: NHL.com confirms.
Per the Sporting News’s Craig Custance:
Red Wings goalie Jimmy Howard has signed a two-year contract extension worth a total of $4.5 million, a team source confirmed with Sporting News. Howard would have been an unrestricted free agent this summer and it’s a completely reasonable salary cap hit for a young goalie who has given plenty of indication he’s capable of leading the Red Wings on an extended playoff run. In another show of confidence in Howard, the Red Wings passed on Ty Conklin who was available on waivers.
Update 12:55 PM: More from Duff:
Howard #s confirmed - 2 yrs, $2.25 mill/yr. Holland: “I like that he’s a workhorse, a guy we can put in net night after night.”
Holland said it was just a fluke that Howard pact came down on #nhl trade deadline day. Been working on it hard since December.
Holland on Howard: “I like that he’s 27, coming into his prime. We drafted him, we developed him, we watched him grow as a goaltender.’‘
Update 1:06 PM: USA Today’s Kevin Allen weighs in:
The Detroit Red Wings’ signing of a two-year contract extension with No. 1 goalie Jimmy Howard for $2.25 million a season is an important move for a franchise that already has several star players with lucrative deals.
Howard could have been an unrestricted free agent this summer, and the Red Wings might have turned elsewhere had Howard demanded too much money.
Update 1:10 PM: Here’s Chuck Pleiness’s report:
“We’re pleased to get him signed,” Wings general manager Ken Holland said. “His prime years are ahead of him. He had a great rookie year. He’s got 30 wins this year. In less than two years he’s been in net for 70 Red Wings wins.”
“I like that he’s a workhorse,” Holland said. “He’s a guy we can put in net night after night. We drafted him, we developed him, we watched him grow as a goaltender.
“Both sides feel good about it,” Holland added. “We’re hoping Jimmy will continue to grow and we’ll do a deal bigger than this one (next time).”
Holland said they’re not close to signing anyone else. Defenseman Jonathan Ericsson is the other notable unrestricted free agent.
“I’m open to talks,” Holland said. “It’s a cap world, it’s all about numbers for both sides. We’ve got some other potential unrestricted free agents who’ve done a nice job. I’m comfortable waiting until the end of the playoffs.”
Update 1:26 PM: More from St. James:
“He was a big part of us making the playoffs last year, his rookie year,” Holland said. “He’s a young goalie, and we feel he’ll continue to grow.”
The announcement comes on the same day as the NHL’s trade deadline, which hits at 3 p.m. Holland has had conversations with a few general managers, but the Wings have only $570,000 in salary-cap room, so any move would have to be dollar in, dollar out. They’d like to add an inexpensive veteran defenseman—but that’s the same thing nearly every other team is looking for today.
“If we don’t do anything, I like our team,” Holland said. At 38-18-6, the Wings are third overall in the NHL and second in the Western Conference.
Update 1:30 PM: Take this quip from Sportsnet’s Chris Nichols at face value:
The best part of owning a Detroit goalie in salary cap pools is the great stats per dollar ratio. Two more years of Howard at $2.2M per.
Expanded: I’m still particularly interested to see if Daniel Larsson, who has 2.51/ .918 splits in the Swedish Elite League so far, might return to North America next season to back up Howard while Thomas McCollum continues to develop in the AHL.
Update 2:07 PM,: The AP’s Larry Lage says that the Wings’ organization is finally confirming the deal.
Update 2:10 PM: Finally ,per DetroitRedWings.com’s Bill Roose:
Monday, the team announced that goaltender Jimmy Howard has received a two-year contract extension. According to general manager Ken Holland, the new deal is worth $2.25 million per season. Howard, who leads the NHL in wins this season with a 30-12-3 record, would have been an unrestricted free agent on July 1.
“He’s a workhorse,” said Holland in a phone interview from Los Angeles where the Wings are set to play the Kings tonight at Staples Center.
“He had a tremendous year last year,” Holland said. “He’s really just coming into his prime. We’ve developed him and watched him grow since he was 19-years-old, and we like him, and that he has the ability to grow even more as a goaltender.”
“I think he had a great season going this year until the middle of December, until the wheels started to fall off with all of the injuries,” he said. “We haven’t played as well defensively, and I think Jimmy’s stats reflect that. But he’s a guy who wins games.”
“Last thing we wanted to do with a young goaltender was to negotiate right up until playoff time,” he said. “Yesterday we finalized this and now there are no distractions, and for us it’s good for planning. We have a guy in goal going into the ’11-12 season. We know what we’ve got. We like what we’ve got. And it’s a workable cap number for us, because we want to keep our pieces together.”
Regarding the Wings’ veteran UFAs-to-be (Osgood, Draper, Modano, Eaves, Miller, Ericsson, Salei)...
“In the case of some of the older guys I’m not really going to worry about until the end of the season,” Holland said. “In a lot of case, the first choice – by a country mile – is to stay in Detroit.
As for any deadline moves…
“I think it’s highly unlikely that we’ll do something, for a number of reasons,” Holland said. “First off, the team has played at a high level. We have the third-most points in the league and the first or second best road record in the league. We’re starting to get people healthy, but we made a plan last summer that we were going to spend much of our cap space and hope that the team would play at a high level and that we wouldn’t have to be active at the trade deadline.”
Update 2:18 PM: Here’s what Holland had to say to the AP’s Larry Lage:
“We drafted him, developed him and have watched him become an NHL goalie that was good enough to be the runner-up for rookie of the year last season,” general manager Ken Holland said. “He’s a workhorse who you can put in net night after night. He’ll win over 70 games in two years for us and at the age of 27, we think he’s coming into his prime.”
Howard leads the NHL in victories, entering Monday night’s game on the road against the Los Angeles Kings with a 30-12-3 record. He was 37-15-10 last season in his first year as Detroit’s No. 1 goalie. Howard is giving up 2.79 goals a game and his save percentage is .908 after having a 2.26 GAA last season and a .924 save percentage. Detroit drafted him in the second round of the 2003 NHL draft after he starred for three seasons at Maine and gave him time to develop with the AHL’s Grand Rapids Griffins. The native of Ogdensburg, N.Y., was eligible to possible cash in on his success on the open market in July, but chose to stay in Detroit.
“We talked in December and after going back and forth, we decided we’d get a deal done now or wait until the summer to talk again,” Holland said.
The Red Wings didn’t plan to acquire a player from another team before Monday’s trade deadline.
“We like our team,” Holland said. “We made the conscious decision last summer to spend almost all of our cap space and I think that has helped us win some games because we had the depth in place to help us compete even when we had some injuries. If we’re playing our best hockey at the right time, I like our chances.”
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