Report: Wings, Howard close to new contract

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The Detroit Red Wings are getting close to locking up their starting goalie to a long-term contract, according to an MLive.com source.

The source says Jimmy Howard, a pending unrestricted free agent, is on the verge of receiving a six- or seven-year deal with an annual salary that would more than double the $2.25 million annual salary he’s making now.

Howard, 28, is 10-7-4 with a .914 save percentage in this shortened season. His .920 save percentage in 2011-12 put him in the upper echelon of the league’s regular starters and earned him his first NHL All-Star nod.