The Detroit Red Wings are giving goaltending prospect, Jimmy Howard, all the confidence in the world even though is has not one but two battles on his hands this upcoming year. Howard will earn $600,000 if he makes the club or $200,000 if he is assigned to the Grand Rapids Griffins of the AHL. He will not have to clear waivers if sent down. He will also earn a set salary for the remaining two years of the 3 year contract that was signed if he plays for the Wings or Griffins. This is a smart move by Kenny Holland because Howard does not have to worry about any contract talk for the next few years. He will now have to prove that he belongs. His first battle with be to make the big club, if he doesn't do that, he will still have a good battle in Grand Rapids with new Swede goalie, Daniel Larsson, who is signed for the next 2 years. Holland has not only locked up some good goaltending when you include the #1 pick from this years draft, but it also allows some good trade bait if needed. I look forward to seeing how this unfolds.
The Red Wings also inked Defenseman, Jonathan Ericsson to 3 year contract. It averages around $900,000 over the next three seasons. Like Howard, if Ericsson does not make the big club, he will not have to clear waivers. I really liked what I have seen from this big Swede. He reminds me of a mixture of Andres Lilja and Nick Kronwal. I would think that Ericsson could join the club full time next year but for sure by the 3rd year of his contract.