DETROIT — As the trade deadline approaches, the Wings made move and it was to lock up their No. 1 goalie for the next two seasons.
Jimmy Howard will be with Detroit for the next two seasons at $2.25 million per.
“We’re pleased to get him signed,” Wings general manager Ken Holland said. “His prime years are ahead of him. He had a great rookie year. He’s got 30 wins this year. In less than two years he’s been in net for 70 Red Wings wins.”
Howard will turn 27 next month.
“I like that he’s a workhorse,” Holland said. “He’s a guy we can put in net night after night. We drafted him, we developed him, we watched him grow as a goaltender.
“Both sides feel good about it,” Holland added. “We’re hoping Jimmy will continue to grow and we’ll do a deal bigger than this one (next time).”
Howard’s deal coming as the trade deadline of 3 p.m. looms was ‘fluky’ according to Holland.
Holland said they were prepared to wait until after the playoffs to get a deal done. Now any risk of a distraction the rest of the season and in the playoffs is gone.
“It’s out of the way, put to bed, no potential for distractions,” Holland said.
Howard was scheduled to an unrestricted free agent on July 1.
Holland said they’re not close to signing anyone else.
Defenseman Jonathan Ericsson is the other notable unrestricted free agent.
“I’m open to talks,” Holland said. “It’s a cap world, it’s all about numbers for both sides. We’ve got some other potential unrestricted free agents who’ve done a nice job. I’m comfortable waiting until the end of the playoffs.”
Of note, Holland said it’s highly unlikely he’ll make a trade today.