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Report: Red Wings very close to re-signing Howard

Apr 11, 2013, 10:35 AM EDT

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It looks like Jimmy Howard will be the Detroit Red Wings’ starting goaltender for years to come.

Howard is scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent this summer, but the Red Wings are close to inking him to a six-year contract, according to TSN’s Aaron Ward.

The deal will reportedly pay Howard something in the ballpark of $5.3 million annually. That represents a major, though not unexpected, jump from the $2.25 million he was owed in 2012-13 before the lockout began.

The 29-year-old has emerged as one of the NHL’s top goaltenders. He’s in his fourth season as Detroit’s starter and, despite a shaky start to the season, has a 2.41 GAA and .917 save percentage in 33 starts.

If the length of the deal is accurate, Howard would join Johan Franzen, Henrik Zetterberg, and Niklas Kronwall as members of the Red Wings’ core that are secured through at least the 2018-19 campaign.

It’s also worth noting that even with the salary cap going down to $64.3 million next season, the Red Wings would still have a healthy amount of flexibility going into the summer, according to Cap Geek.

That will allow them to also re-sign 29-year-old forward Valtteri Filppula should they wish to do so.

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