The Detroit Red Wings are set at the goalie position for several more seasons, as the team announced on Monday that Jimmy Howard came to terms on a six-year contract extension.
It's Official: Red Wings sign goaltender Jimmy Howard to six-year deal.— Detroit Red Wings (@DetroitRedWings) April 16, 2013
Financial terms of the contract have not yet been released.
On the season, Howard is 17-12-6 with a 2.31 goals-against average, a save percentage of 92.0 and three shutouts.
He has been a major reason why Detroit remains in the postseason race and currently would qualify as the eighth seed in the Western Conference if the season ended today. While this certainly isn't one of the stronger Red Wings units in recent memory, Howard has kept the team in contention, especially down the stretch.
His value to the squad is clear, as Detroit's general manager noted:
Ken Holland: "Jimmy is one of our most valuable players who is entering the prime of his career.He gives a chance to win every night."— Detroit Red Wings (@DetroitRedWings) April 16, 2013
Howard has spent the entirety of his seven-year career with the Red Wings and has been excellent since taking over as the starter in 2009. Coming into this season, he posted three straight seasons with at least 35 wins and had a career-high six shutouts and 2.12 goals-against average last year.
At 29 years of age, Howard has a lot of hockey left in him, and the Red Wings were wise to lock him up for the long term rather than let him test the free-agent waters this summer. Howard would have been an unrestricted free agent and Detroit likely would have found itself in a bidding war to retain his services.
Instead, the team doesn't have to worry about who will be manning the goal for quite some time.