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Howard: Deal to remain a Wing is close

Goalie hopes to sign six-year extension by end of the weekend

Thursday, 04.11.2013 / 12:51 PM ET / News
By Bill Roose  - Managing Editor | DetroitRedWings.com
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Howard: Deal to remain a Wing is close

Jimmy Howard
Goalie - DET
RECORD: 16-12-4
GAA: 2.41 | SVP: 0.917
DETROIT Jimmy Howard is close to becoming the foundation for the Red Wings’ future.

On Thursday, the veteran goaltender confirmed that he and the organization are on the verge of finalizing a six-year contract extension that could wind up being worth a reported $5.3 million.

“It’s really, really close,” Howard said. “We’ll see. You never know. Hopefully by the end of the weekend.”

Howard said only “the little stuff” remains before the deal is settled, which will make Howard the fourth Wings’ player signed through the 2018-19 season, joining Johan Franzen, Niklas Kronwall and Henrik Zetterberg.

Howard is the only goalie in team history to win at least 35 games in each of his first three seasons. He has a 16-12-4 record this year, his fourth season between the pipes. And while the 29-year-old Syracuse, N.Y., native struggled early on this season, but he’s rebounded enough to produce a 2.41 goals-against average with a .917 save percentage in 33 starts.

“Howie has worked hard and the organization has confidence in him,” 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.”

Howard has been a workhorse since his rookie season when he became just the fourth goalie in franchise history to record 30-or-more wins in his freshmen season, joining Terry Sawchuk, Roger Crozier and Glenn Hall. Behind 37 wins and a 2.26 GAA, Howard was the runner-up to the Calder Trophy in 2010, which went to Buffalo defenseman Tyler Myers.

Since then, Howard has been an All-Star and has won 126 career wins. He is just two wins shy of catching Tim Cheveldae (128), who is No. 5 all-time in franchise victories.

Howard could have become an unrestricted free agent in the summer, but he said wanted to stay in Detroit.

“I wanted to be here,” said Howard, who will start tonight in a crucial game against the San Jose Sharks. “I get along great with everyone here. I believe in this organization … It feels good, I mean I’ve worked really, really hard, paid my dues in the minors and really became a professional. To see it pay-off here shortly is a good thrill for my family and I.”

Follow Bill Roose on Twitter | @Bill_Roose

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EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 WSH 49 36 9 4 161 110 76
2 FLA 51 31 15 5 141 112 67
3 TBL 51 29 18 4 137 118 62
4 NYR 51 28 18 5 146 132 61
5 BOS 51 27 18 6 149 136 60
6 NYI 49 26 17 6 134 121 58
7 DET 51 25 18 8 125 130 58
8 NJD 52 26 20 6 117 118 58
9 PIT 50 25 18 7 129 128 57
10 CAR 53 24 21 8 129 141 56
11 PHI 49 23 18 8 117 128 54
12 MTL 52 24 24 4 137 141 52
13 OTT 52 23 23 6 142 164 52
14 TOR 50 19 22 9 116 134 47
15 BUF 52 21 26 5 119 137 47
16 CBJ 54 21 28 5 135 168 47

STATS

2015-2016 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
D. Larkin 50 17 18 23 35
H. Zetterberg 51 9 25 2 34
T. Tatar 50 14 16 -3 30
G. Nyquist 51 14 13 -4 27
J. Abdelkader 51 14 12 -4 26
P. Datsyuk 36 6 18 10 24
M. Green 45 3 17 -8 20
N. Kronwall 45 3 14 -10 17
D. DeKeyser 47 6 8 10 14
R. Sheahan 50 7 6 -15 13
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
P. Mrazek 18 10 4 .931 2.06
J. Howard 7 8 4 .904 2.89