Detroit Red Wings: Jimmy Howard Eyeing Contract Extension

DETROIT, MI - OCTOBER 22: Jimmy Howard #35 of the Detroit Red Wings makes a stick save against the Carolina Hurricanes during an NHL game at Little Caesars Arena on October 22, 2018 in Detroit, Michigan. The Hurricanes defeated the Wings 3-1. (Photo by Dave Reginek/NHLI via Getty Images)
DETROIT, MI - OCTOBER 22: Jimmy Howard #35 of the Detroit Red Wings makes a stick save against the Carolina Hurricanes during an NHL game at Little Caesars Arena on October 22, 2018 in Detroit, Michigan. The Hurricanes defeated the Wings 3-1. (Photo by Dave Reginek/NHLI via Getty Images) /
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Goaltender Jimmy Howard is eyeing a contract extension with the Detroit Red Wings.  It would be in the organizations’ best interest to pump the breaks on that for the time being.

The Detroit Red Wings have had many ups and downs to start the season, but Jimmy Howard has stayed very even-keeled between the pipes for the Wings. The rebuilding Wings have more often than not left Howie to be buried with shots and pressure while his mates are scrambling with defensive zone coverage.

The Detroit Red Wings have been led by their special teams this season.  The power play is providing the majority of the scoring opportunities, while the club continues to struggle during its five on five play.

Howard is a big reason the penalty kill is off to a top ten league-wide start. If you would have told me in August that the Detroit Red Wings would be in the top ten in power-play and penalty kill efficiency through the first month, I would have likely laughed out loud.  That is where they currently sit.  The NHL’s ninth-ranked PP and the NHL’s tenth-ranked PK.

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The Detroit Red Wings allow on average 35 shots a game, that comes as no real surprise.  I don’t think anyone expected the Wings to be some defensive juggernaut.  Howard though in a “contract year” has been up for the task.  He has often been the Wings best player night in and night out.

He has been clearly able to outplay Jonathan Bernier who Ken Holland and company brought in as stability and a form of motivation to push Howard.  It seems to of worked.  Through his first 11 starts, Howard has posted excellent numbers.

Forget the win/loss record, remember the team he is playing behind.  Howard has also improved tremendously defending his goal through shootouts.  At one time it seemed like he couldn’t stop a beach ball during the skills competition, he has since turned those opportunities into a stength.

Howard is 4-5-2 with a 2.93 goals against average and a .917% save percentage. For comparison purposes, Jonathan Bernier is 1-3-0 posting a 4.20 goals against average and a very disappointing .873% save percentage. Quite a significant difference between the pair to this date.

What does this mean?  Howard actually in a contract year could serve as a viable trade chip for the franchise.  The only year of his contract that he doesn’t have a famous Kenny Holland no-trade clause attached to it.

Everything seems to be lining up perfectly until I read an article by Ansar Khan of Mlive.com stating Howard’s play will earn him a contract extension.

"The Red Wings are happy with Howard, and Howard is happy in Detroit. That is why the sides are sure to agree on a contract extension this season. The Red Wings are committed to keeping Howard. He likely will receive a multiyear contract, and the tandem of Howard and Jonathan Bernier will be manning the nets in Detroit for a couple more seasons."

Let me just say one thing.  Yes, he is playing well, but it would be a bad move to sign him to a multi-year deal during the season.  It is amazing how people forget his recent couple of injury-plagued seasons.  Signing a soon to be 35-year-old goaltender to a “multi-year” deal would just be foolish.

I am a Howard fan; I am a Detroit Red Wings fan, but just because I like individual players doesn’t mean it makes sense for the organization to make specific roster moves.  Ken Holland needs to do what is best for the organization.

Holland should find a trade partner if can, or ride out the season and negotiate a SHORT-term deal with Howie at the conclusion of the season if no goaltending prospects are prepared to make the jump.  One more thing, who is to say the Wings couldn’t trade Howard to say the LA Kings who are in need of immediate help and still re-sign him on July.1/2019?

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Someone needs to remind Ken Holland that we are rebuilding and if we can acquire more draft choices it will benefit us in the future over a 35-year-old netminder.