When someone has a hot hand as a goaltender, it doesn’t matter if your name is Ken Dryden or Patrick Roy. You can very easily be replaced. In the case of Petr Mrazek, he was the presumed starter for the Red Wings and it looked like Jimmy Howard was going to stay as his back up.
As Howard continued to impress, it became more and more obvious that the Wings weren’t going to play favorites. They were going to stick to the hot hand no matter what. Howard played a fair amount of games at the beginning of the season as Mrazek floundered.
Now it looks like Mrazek is playing like his normal self. Howard is returning from injury and the Wings are about to have a decision to make.
Are they really going to end up choosing the aging Howard over the emerging Mrazek? Crazier decisions have been made by this front office.
Young, solid goaltending is so hard to find. Even if you believe Mrazek is a back up, for his money and his age, you have to take the risk. Looking back at his stats even in Junior, he has always been solid. Posting good numbers with the Ottawa 67’s.
His .899 sv% isn’t indicative of who he is as a player and the Red Wings should know that. Players have up and down years, especially when they involve injuries. Consistency for goaltenders is important. Mrazek hasn’t had anything like that.
A lot of the decision making is going to involve the money being paid the goalies too. Between Howard and Mrazek, they are nearly being paid $ 10 million. While they have been good this year, they can’t continue to spend that much moving forward. It cripples them elsewhere, even if the team doesn’t spend their money efficiently. They should at least be able to give themselves an opportunity to improve.
You know you’re getting an athletic, successful goaltender in Mrazek. Why look elsewhere if he is truly on the block.
If you don’t believe these are consistency issues and just something that Mrazek will always deal with, then you’ll want to star far away. Considering his history throughout multiple leagues, it doesn’t seem like that is the case. He may have an issue with over pursuing pucks but that happens so few and far between it shouldn’t be a real worry.
He might have a bit of Jonathan Quick in him that way. He is athletic as all get out but can you take the head scratching moments with that? It could be frustrating for some coaches and it is a main reason why the Wings have switched between Howard and him.
What a buyer may need in this case is patience and games to burn. A rebuilding team may end up being a better choice.
Potential Trade Partners
A lot of teams that are on the cusp of the playoffs need goaltending. The Stars need goaltending like nobodies business. The Blues need similar help. The Wings though know they hold all the power and will use it to their advantage. It is unlikely that they commit to Howard long-term. They’ll need someone to blow them out of the water to move Mrazek, poor season and all.
They won’t trade within the division either leaving very few options. It is more likely that they hold onto him and see what the markets say this summer with the Vegas Golden Knights in the mix.