Jared Coreau is a unique case for the Red Wings. Signed as a free agent in 2013 after playing his junior year of college at Northern Michigan he now finds himself the go-to-guy in Grand Rapids ahead of goalies like Thomas McCollum (1st round pick) and Jake Paterson (3rd round pick). He has the tools NHL teams look for when drafting a goalie. He’s 6’5″ yet praised for his athleticism, he’s mentally tough and seems to rebound successfully from poor outings and is capable of stealing games for his team. He cracked our top 10 due to Detroit’s current goalies situation which, as we’ll talk about later, may send him up to the big club sooner than later.
By the numbers
One thing is for sure, Coreau has been the victim of some bad teams in his time. This may account for why he stayed off scouts radars through his draft year and even well into his college career. Despite having the physical attributes teams gush over, those numbers simply weren’t anything that would capture their attention. Even still, once he finally got up to the Griffins as a regular, he managed to keep his save percentage above a .920 and his goals against below a 2.50, despite sharing starting duty with McCollum. When Howard went down to injury this past season, the team opted for the more experienced McCollum to play backup over Coreau so we still have yet to see Coreau in an NHL game.
Coreau had a rough go down the stretch last season and ended up losing the net to McCollum for the playoffs despite a great year. That was until game 4 of the series vs the eventual Calder Cup winners, the Lake Erie Monsters, when Coreau came in as relief down 4-1 in the second, on the brink of elimination, and ended up getting the win with a 6-5 comeback victory and an incredible performance from the young net minder. The Griffins forced a game 7 after going down 3-0 in the series but lost despite Coreau’s best efforts, posting a .949S% and a 1.89GAA in those 3.5 games. Once again, Coreau had claimed top spot on the Griffins.
Coreau and McCollum have battled hard for the net for two years now and despite McCollum’s seemingly superior skill-set, Coreau has thrived where McCollum has stumbled. In the face of adversity and desperation, Coreau has shined. Like his predecessor Mrazek, he’s able to bounce back after a poor start or a soft goal and last years playoffs proved he could come up big when his team needed him most. He has the size, he has the athleticism and now he’s shown he has the mental game to succeed as a future NHL goaltender.
With the emergence of Mrazek as Detroit’s #1 goaltender and the rumours of Howard being traded or selected in an expansion draft, Coreau makes a lot of sense to take the backup goaltender role in the NHL fairly soon. The team has him locked up for very cheap until 2018, which would align perfectly with the timeline most would put on a potential Howard trade or expansion draft selection (more likely). Should Mrazek keep the job in Detroit and Coreau steal the net full-time in Grand Rapids this upcoming season, the Red Wings could very well slot Coreau in comfortably to the backup position down the road. He’d be cheaper than veteran NHL alternatives and he’d gain great experience with limited starts on a team with a light travel schedule who already have a young stud goalie who can handle most of the workload. The Griffins would still have McCollum and Paterson in the AHL and have also drafted a goaltender 7 (!) of the last 11 years. From the ECHL, to the AHL, all the way up to the NHL, the Wings system would be more than covered with the guys already selected by the team.
The best part in all of this is that Detroit doesn’t need a stud goaltender. With the way Mrazek is trending this early in his career, they have lots of time to develop a stable and steady hand behind him, which is exactly what Coreau can be. Maybe he steps up and steals some games in the event of an injury or a dip in the starters play, regardless, Jared Coreau is a cap-friendly solution to a fairly good problem to have.