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Red Wings sign Jimmy Howard to 2-year deal

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Jimmy Howard will be able to afford more monocles and tophats next year as he gets a new, richer contract.
Jimmy Howard will be able to afford more monocles and tophats next year as he gets a new, richer contract.

Some news out of LA today as the Red Wings get ready to play the Kings tonight. The Detroit front office has signed goalie Jimmy Howard to a 2-year deal worth $4.5 million, reports's Ansar Khan. Howard, who will turn 27 on March 26, leads the NHL in wins this year with 30 and has already moved to 13th all-time for the franchise in wins.

Jimmy Howard

#35 / Goalie / Detroit Red Wings



Mar 26, 1984

Current contract: $717k

New contract: 2 years, $4.5 million

2010 - Jimmy Howard 47 2686 30 12 125 2.79 1354 1229 .908 2

What this means:
There has been a bit of speculation, although nothing really substantial, that Howard would eventually be the back-up to another goalie brought in this off-season. At $2.25 million a season, that seems highly unlikely and with the way Howard has played in his first two seasons in the league, it seems even more unlikelier (I know, I'm shocked that's a word too). This deal is a sign of confidence that the management has in Howard and how they plan to use him beyond this season. Howard's contract will not only solidify his spot on the team in the future, but it will surely give him confidence heading down the stretch knowing that he has a place to call home next year.

Follow the jump for more on the new deal for Jimmy Howard and the Red Wings.

How does it affect the cap?
This year, Howard makes about $717k and Chris Osgood makes $1,416,667. A lot of folks are expecting Osgood to hang them up after this year (his contract is expiring, he's 38 years old) but if he comes back, the Wings would have at most $3,666,667 tied up in goaltending, compared to this year's number of $2,133,334. In comparison to what some other teams spend, that is still an incredibly low number. Now with Howard's new contract, $46,808,712 is already on the board for next year's season. The cap is expected to increase this offseason and the Wings will potentially need to re-sign/replace 8 players. The low number committed to goaltending allows Ken Holland to have quite a bit of money to play with in the off-season.

My take:
I like this deal. At first I was a little hesitant because the jump from $717k to $2.25 million is very drastic, but considering that all that Jimmy Howard seems to do is win games, I like it. He'll never be a guy that puts up ridiculously low numbers, but playing on a team that can score as much as the Red Wings can, he doesn't have to. What Howard is is a solid, inexpensive solution that has the potential to become a big time goalie. I think he's still a little raw in a lot of areas, but it's things that can be remedied through experience and coaching.