The last time goaltender Jimmy Howard was involved in a contract negotiation with the Detroit Red Wings, he admittedly was distracted to the point where it affected his performance.

That was two years ago. It won't happen again, Howard vowed.

“It was a learning experience last time,'' Howard said. “It was the first time I've ever been through something like that, and it took a toll on me.

“Now it's the furthest thing I'm thinking about. You don't have time to think about it.''

Howard said his agent and the Red Wings have had preliminary talks about an extension. Howard, who turns 29 on March 26, is in the final season of a two-year deal that has a salary-cap hit of $2.25 million.

Both sides are hoping to get a deal done before the end of the regular season. Howard would be eligible for unrestricted free agency, which begins on July 5 this year.

“This is where I'd love to be,'' Howard said. “I got a lot of great friendships within this dressing room. We've had a lot of great success, and I enjoy playing here.''

What is Howard's market value? He has a career record of 116-58-21, with 11 shutouts, a 2.44 goals-against average and .916 save percentage in the regular season.

That is similar to the St. Louis Blues' Jaroslav Halak (112-67-21, 24 shutouts, 2.42 GAA, .918 save percentage) and Anaheim Ducks' Jonas Hiller (121-93-15, 15 shutouts, 2.56 GAA, .917 save percentage).