Various sources reported earlier today the Detroit Red Wings are very close to re-signing goaltender Jimmy Howard to a six-year, $31.8 million contract extension.

Jimmy Howard very close to re-signing with Red Wings.

Jimmy Howard very close to re-signing with Red Wings.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Red Wings have yet to make an official announcement, but Howard acknowledged the two sides were “really close” to a deal. Barring an unforeseen collapse in negotiations, this appears as good as done. If so, his new contract will be worth average annual cap hit of $5.3 million, pushing their payroll to just over 52.5 million invested in 18 players, with Valtteri Filppula, Damien Brunner, Danny Cleary and Ian White to re-sign or replace, plus young RFAs Jakub Kindl and Brendan Smith to re-up.

It’s a worthwhile investment by the Red Wings. Howard’s been with the organization ever since they drafted him back in 2003, and he’s been their starting goalie since 2009-10, winning 35 or more games in each of his first three seasons.  They know his strengths and weaknesses, know what he’s capable of, and obviously didn’t believe they could find a better option via free agency or the trade market. Considering most goalies tend to hit their prime in their thirties, the Wings were wise to invest in the 29-year-old Howard over six years.

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