Thursday, April 11, 2013

Howard's 6-Year Deal Has Risks

Jimmy Howard signed a deal worth $5.3 million a year today with the Detroit Red Wings, a move meant to keep Jimmah in Detroit for the next six years. The Red Wings have certainly locked up a very capable goaltender that has stole some games in this lockout shortened season.

But here's the thing; we all have questions on if the deal was good or bad. As we've pointed out before, his cap hit is tenth most among starting NHL goalies, which means he is at the bottom of the top third of the highest paid goaltenders in the NHL. That mad sense, right? Keep up with me.

A $5.3 million cap hit isn't a concern at all because the Red Wings have a buttload of cap space. The only thing that might be a concern is the length of the deal. Is $5.3 million a good deal right now? Of course. Howard has played well and earned a big pay raise. He is a clear cut starting goalie that has made the all star game already. He is a goalie that the team has to be comfortable with in their time of retooling.

However, do you really want a 35 year old Jimmy Howard making $5.3 million per season? Obviously that is yet to be seen, but my thinking is that a 35 year old had better be a stud - think Marty Brodeur. You don't see a ton of very successful 35+ goaltenders anymore; most are in their twenties.

What you have to keep in mind is that he doesn't have to be in Detroit the next six years if things don't go well. If Ken Holland is still around maybe he will actually make a move, although it's doubtful. The Red Wings also still have some pretty decent prospects between the pipes in Grand Rapids' Petr Mrazek, Saginaw's Jake Paterson and the potential signing of Northern Michigan's Alex Coreau. If they step up, they paly, no matter Jimmy's cap hit.

The bottom line is if they didn't give Howard what he wanted and he left, the Wings were uber screwed. None of those guys are ready to play yet and Jonas Gustavsson is basically a nightmare in net. Do you see any great free agent goalies out there? Probably not. Actually, definitely not.

On the open market Howard would have got a lot more than $5.3 million. I'd say the Red Wings got him for a bargain. Get ready for six more years of Jimmy.