Detroit didn't want him to become a free agent this summer, and
he was content with the contract offered by the storied franchise.
"We drafted him, developed him and have watched him become an
NHL goalie that was good enough to be the runner-up for rookie of
the year last season," general manager Ken Holland said. "He's a
workhorse who you can put in net night after night.
"He'll win over 70 games in two years for us and at the age of
27, we think he's coming into his prime."
Howard, 26, leads the NHL in victories, entering Monday night's game
on the road against the Los Angeles Kings with a 30-12-3 record. He
was 37-15-10 last season in his first year as Detroit's No. 1
Howard has a 2.79 goals-against average and a
.908 save percentage. Last season, he had a 2.26 GAA and a .924 save
Detroit drafted him in the second round of the 2003 NHL draft
after he starred for three seasons at Maine, and gave him time to
develop with the AHL's Grand Rapids Griffins.
The native of Ogdensburg, N.Y., was eligible to possible cash in
on his success on the open market in July, but chose to stay in
"We talked in December and after going back and forth, we
decided we'd get a deal done now or wait until the summer to talk
again," Holland said.
The Red Wings didn't acquire a player from another team before
Monday's 3 p.m. ET trade deadline.
"We like our team," Holland said. "We made the conscious
decision last summer to spend almost all of our cap space and I
think that has helped us win some games because we had the depth in
place to help us compete even when we had some injuries.
"If we're playing our best hockey at the right time, I like our