Mar 28, 2013; San Jose, CA, USA; Detroit Red Wings goalie Jimmy Howard (35) during the game against the San Jose Sharks during the third period at HP Pavilion. The San Jose Sharks defeated the Detroit Red Wings 2-0. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

Jimmy Howard Re-signs with Wings: What It Means

Fans can let out a deep breath, especially since this has dragged on for well over a week. The Red Wings have re-signed goaltender Jimmy Howard to a six-year, (reportedly) $31.8 million deal with an average cap hit of $5.3 million.

There may be screams of outrage from some at such a high price. In the past ten years, the Red Wings have spent a total of $3 million on their goaltending (give or take quite a few million, but you get the point: The Wings have spent a minimal amount on their goalies). With how much Howard has carried this team in the past two seasons, everyone should have known that he was going to get a pay increase.

Can you imagine a Red Wings team without Howard? Since the 2009-2010 season, he’s been the goaltender of choice. He’s been the solid one in the net. He’s been solid after playing back-to-back games because Ty Conklin and Chris Osgood just couldn’t get it done as backups. And he’s been doing that again this year – to an extent – because Jonas Gustavsson went down with an injury. Petr Mrazek proved his worth in a few starts that showed there may be an awesome tandem in net in the near future with Howard.

Jimmy Howard has grown up in the Red Wings’ organization. He’s been taken through the loops of being called up and sent back down (though not as many times as some…). We’ve watched him struggle. Remember how terrible he was in that game over in Sweden? I had no faith in him at that point, after seeing him play one game. He proved his worth later in the season, stating time and time again to the press that all he needed to prove himself to the fans was one solid game. That game came and went and he’s been proving himself for quite some time now.

This Red Wings team is in the midst of reconstructing itself, and for the first time, you can really see it. While the future of the reconstruction may look uncertain, one fact remains clear: This team will be rebuilt around Jimmy Howard. And he must like what he sees coming up the pipeline if he plans on sticking around for six more seasons.

Some fans are outraged at the price increase. Personally, I think this number is fine, albeit a bit on the high side. Optimistically, I was hoping for $4.5 million, maybe $5 million. But think about it – if we signed Howard for $5 million, what could you really do with that extra $300,000? It’s not going to get you a Marian Hossa-type signing in the off-season. Try not to freak out too much.

His cap hit of $5.3 million is less than both Jonathan Quick‘s and Ilya Bryzgalov‘s. His statistics this season are a .917 save percentage and a 2.41 GAA, identical to his career statistics. And that’s without Nicklas Lidstrom playing on the blue line. This shows how dependent we have become on solid goaltending for each and every game.

If Howard stays consistent over the next few years as the salary cap more than likely increases, this will be a smart move by Ken Holland and the Red Wings organization.

Can’t we just leave it at this?


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