It’s official: Detroit signs ‘workhorse’ Howard to six-year, $31.8 million deal

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It took a while, but the ink is finally dry.

On Tuesday, the Detroit Red Wings announced they re-signed G Jimmy Howard to a six-year deal, one that will keep Howard in the Motor City until 2019.

“Jimmy is one of our most valuable players who is entering the prime of his career,” Detroit GM Ken Holland said. “He gives a chance to win every night.

“He’s worked hard and become better every year. He’s a workhorse who can play the majority of the 82 games.”

Howard, 29, was rumored to be “very close” to agreeing to an extension with the Wings last week. TSN’s Aaron Ward reported the deal would be around $5.3 million annually.

Update: The Associated Press confirms — $31.8 million over six years, $5.3 million per.

Howard took over Detroit’s starting goalie gig in 2009-10, and hasn’t looked back.

The former University of Maine standout posted stellar numbers last season, achieving career highs in shutouts (six) and goals-against average (2.12) while posting 30-plus wins (35) for the third time in his career.

After a slow start this year, Howard has heated up. His numbers now sit at an impressive 17-12-6 with a .920 save percentage and 2.31 GAA. He also has three shutouts, two off the NHL lead.

With this new deal, Howard joins Johan Franzen, Henrik Zetterberg and Niklas Kronwall as Wings secured through 2019.

It’s also worth noting that even with the salary cap going down to $64.3 million next season, the Red Wings would still have a healthy amount of flexibility going into the summer, according to CapGeek.