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Being the goalie in Detroit automatically means you are under pressure. Last season, Jimmy Howard signed a new contract with the team, which will now up the pressure even more.
The new contract (six years, $31.8 million) now has him among the 10 highest-paid goalies in the league. With that boost in money also comes added pressure. As is often the case, the next goalie waiting in the wings is always alluring to fans. Petr Mrazek has played great in the minors so far, as he led the Grand Rapids Griffins to the Calder Cup after being called up during the season. He was also impressive in his two-game stint with the Wings. Any struggles from Howard will lead to more calls for Mrazek.
Now, of course those calls are nowhere near happening right now. However, with the bigger contract, the microscope over Howard becomes more intense.
He has been among the league leaders in wins in each of the last four seasons and in most seasons has also highly ranked in save percentage and goals-against average.
Regardless of what reality may be, the expectations are always high in Detroit. Howard seems too often to be ranked just below the elite goalies in the league. With the bigger contract, he now needs to step into that category.