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Detroit Red Wings Goalie Jimmy Howard Deserves Every Penny of His Six-year $31.8 Million Contract Extension

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Detroit Red Wings Goalie Jimmy Howard Deserves Every Penny of His Six-year $31.8 Million Contract Extension

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Detroit Red Wings goalie Jimmy Howard is having a great year despite suspect defense in front of him …

COMMENTARY | While Detroit Red Wings general manager Ken Holland may have stood pat at the trade deadline, he did secure a vital part of the Red Wings' future.

Goalie Jimmy Howard got a six-year $31.8 million contract extension on Tuesday, April 16, and the 29-year-old certainly has earned it.

In his first three full seasons with the Red Wings, Howard has racked up at least 35 wins and a save percentage of at least .908 each season.

Last season, he had a GAA of 2.12 and a save percentage of .920. He was in the running for the Vezina trophy until a late-season injury derailed any hopes of capturing that title.

Howard hasn't been as dominant in the playoffs (13-15, 2.65 GAA), but with just 28 postseason games under his belt, he is just starting to gain playoff experience.

Just think where the Red Wings would be this season without Howard. Most likely in the cellar of the Western Conference looking up instead of fighting for a playoff spot.

Howard has steadily improved during the past four seasons, and he has proven he deserves to be the No. 1 guy in Detroit.

Being the starting goalie for any hockey team comes with a lot of pressure, especially in a city like Detroit where expectations are high every season. Howard has performed admirably under the pressure, and it will be exciting to see him develop as he enters the prime of his career.

He was a little slow coming out of the gate this year, but when the Red Wings were hit with a rash of injuries to begin this season, Howard remained the one constant they could count on game after game.

Even when he wasn't at his strongest at the beginning of the season, many of the goals he allowed were because his defense hung him out to dry. He does get paid to keep the puck out of the net, but there is only so much he can do when the Red Wings were giving up two to three breakaways or odd-man rushes per game.

Howard has the ability to keep his team in games and steal games when the offense isn't producing.

It's unfortunate Jonas Gustavsson was not able to give Howard a lot of competition this year, but Petr Mrazek will be on the Red Wings roster soon anyway.

Howard has answered the call and become a work horse for the Red Wings. Pay the man his money.

Tom Mitsos is a Michigan native who covers the Detroit Red Wings for the Yahoo! Contributor Network. He also is a high school sports reporter at MLive Media Group. You can find Tom on Twitter @tom_mitsos.

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