Jimmy Howard close to new deal

DETROIT -- Jimmy Howard and the Red Wings are finalizing the last details on a new contract that would keep the goalie in Detroit long term.

"It's close," he told ESPN.com.

Howard confirmed with reporters that it's a six-year deal, with TSN reporting that it's worth about $5.3 million per season.

As the Red Wings have battled to stay in the playoff chase through injuries and a revamped defense, Howard has been one of Detroit's most consistent performers. He's 16-12-4 with a .917 save percentage and 2.41 goals-against average this season.

He was set to become an unrestricted free agent this summer after signing a two-year, $4.5 million contract in 2011.

The new contract comes with a healthy raise and a commitment from the team that could keep the 29-year-old New York native with the Red Wings late into his career.

"It definitely means a lot," he said. "[I] started my career here, being drafted almost 11 years ago this June. It definitely means a lot to stick around here."