Monday the Red Wings made it official by announcing that they extending the contract of starting goaltender Jimmy Howard. The financials for the contract was what was speculated on a few weeks back which was a 6-year deal for $31.8 million dollars and an annual cap hit of $5.3 million dollars going forward.
Now of course like in just about any contract situation with a player (especially a goaltender) the extension had it’s detractors. But in Jimmy Howard’s case, the hate towards the extension and Jimmy Howard in general is totally baseless. Not to mention the deal given to Howard came at an absolute discount considering Howard’s numbers throughout his still young career.
Through 228 games Howard has a record of 127-66-25 with a 2.39 GAA and .917 save percentage. That all includes Howard’s 17-12-6 record this season with a .920 save percentage and 2.31 GAA which has essentially kept the Red Wings in the playoff hunt despite their inability to score goals.
But what about Howard’s horrible playoff numbers?
Well Howard currently has a 2.63 GAA which yes isn’t as good as his regular season number but it’s certainly not awful. This is also considering his .915 save percentage which is slightly better than his regular season mark.
Still not convinced? Or maybe you think Jimmy Howard’s $31.8 million dollar deal is $32 million more than he’s worth which was one of the nonsensical statements I heard yesterday… Well let’s see how Howard matches up to some of the best in the NHL, money and state wise.
Henrik Lundqvist (New York Rangers)
Regular Season: 2.26 GAA, .920 SV%
Playoffs: 2.31 GAA, .917 SV%
Salary: 6-years/$41.25M (2014)
Pekka Rinne (Nashville Predators)
Regular Season: 2.35 GAA, .920 SV%
Playoffs: 2.41 GAA, .916 SV%
Salary: 7-years/$49M (2019)
Ryan Miller (Buffalo Sabres)
Regular Season: 2.59 GAA, .915 SV%
Playoffs: 2.47 GAA, .917 SV%
Salary: 5-years/$31.2M (2014)
Roberto Luongo (Vancouver Canucks)
Regular Season: 2.51 GAA, .919 SV%
Playoffs: 2.53 GAA, .916 SV%
Salary: 12-years/$64M (2022)
Carey Price (Montreal Canadiens)
Regular Season: 2.55 GAA, .915 SV%
Playoffs: 2.84 GAA, .907 SV%
Salary: 6-years/$39M (2018)
Jaroslav Halak (St. Louis Blues)
Regular Season: 2.41 GAA, .917 SV%
Playoffs: 2.42 GAA, .923 SV%
Salary: 4-years/$15M (2014)
Jonathan Quick (Los Angeles Kings)
Regular Season: 2.32 GAA, .914 SV%
Playoffs: 2.12 GAA, .926 SV%
Salary: 10-years/$58M (2023)
Antti Niemi (San Jose Sharks)
Regular Season: 2.34 GAA, .917 SV%
Playoffs: 2.84 GAA, .905 SV%
Salary: 4-years/$15.2M (2014)
Corey Crawford (Chicago Blackhawks)
Regular Season: 2.41 GAA, .913 SV%
Playoffs: 2.41 GAA, .912 SV%
Salary: 3-years/$8M (2014)
Marc-Andre Fleury (Pittsburgh Penguins)
Regular Season: 2.65 GAA, .910 SV%
Playoffs: 2.68 GAA, .904 SV%
Salary: 7-years/$35M (2015)
Niklas Backstrom (Minnesota Wild)
Regular Season: 2.42 GAA, .917 SV%
Playoffs: 2.55 GAA, .911 SV%
Salary: 4-years/$24M (2013)
All numbers are over the course of the respected players career. The salary also reflects the players current deal and the year in which the said contract expires. I also invite skeptics to look closely at all the deals but Ryan Miller and Carey Price’s in particular.
Now for one I’m not saying Jimmy Howard is the best goaltender in this group… he’s not. However there’s not denying Howard’s numbers (regular season and playoff) and how comparable to these current stats around the league. With that said there’s absolutely no doubt that IF Jimmy Howard were to hit the open market he would make more than the $31.8 million he was given by the Wings. I’m looking at something closer to $6 million per season for Howard.
Sure the Wings are in a different position than what they were in a couple years ago. They’re younger, more inexperienced and maybe less talented. However what Howard will be able to do during the course of his new deal (which takes him right through the prime of his career) is provide the Wings with a solid goaltender behind a young and developing blue line. The money given the Howard also enables the team to use the roughly $13 million dollars left over to address some other needs and give goaltending prospect Petr Mrazek time to further develop his skills in the minors.