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HOWIE AND BIG RIG RETURN TO WINGS


GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – The Detroit Red Wings, affiliate of the American Hockey League’s Grand Rapids Griffins, re-signed goaltender Jimmy Howard and defenseman Jonathan Ericsson to three-year contract extensions on Monday.

Howard, 24, has played the majority of the past three seasons in Grand Rapids and ranks among the Griffins’ all-time goaltending leaders with 141 games played (2nd), 8014:52 minutes played (2nd), a 2.72 goals against average (10th), 69 wins (2nd), 10 shutouts (T2nd), 3,634 saves (2nd) and a 0.909 save percentage (9th). During that time, the Syracuse, N.Y., native also earned a 1-4-0 record and 2.56 GAA in eight games with Detroit.

Detroit’s first choice in the 2003 NHL Entry Draft, Howard was named the AHL Goaltender of Month for December last season after posting the best numbers of his career for a calendar month. He went 7-5-1 with two shutouts, a 1.72 GAA and a 0.939 save percentage for the Griffins. That performance also helped Howard earn a spot on the PlanetUSA squad at the 2008 AHL All-Star Classic in Binghamton, N.Y.

Ericsson, 24, has posted 63 points (15-48—63) and 185 penalty minutes through 136 games with the Griffins over the past two seasons. In 2007-08, the Karlskrona, Sweden, native tallied a career-high 34 points (10-24—34) to rank second among Griffins’ defensemen and seventh overall on the club, while also maintaining a plus-4 rating, good for second on the team.

Howard’s partner in a Griffins sweater at the AHL All-Star Classic, Ericsson placed second in the hardest shot contest during the skills competition with a 100.1 mph blast. The 6-5, 220-pound blueliner also notched an assist during the game.

Detroit’s 10th choice, 291st overall, in the 2002 NHL Entry Draft, Ericsson made his NHL debut with the Wings on Feb. 22, 2008 at Calgary and scored his first NHL goal just four nights later at Edmonton, accounting for his lone point in eight games with the parent club.

Both Howard and Ericsson served as “black aces” during the Red Wings’ run to the 2008 Stanley Cup championship.



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