EDITORIAL: It’s a no-brainer, the Red Wings must protect Petr Mrazek

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NHL: Petr Mrazek 3
Mar 3, 2017; Calgary, Alberta, CAN; Detroit Red Wings goalie Petr Mrazek (34) stops a shot by the Calgary Flames during the first period at Scotiabank Saddledome. Mandatory Credit: Candice Ward-USA TODAY Sports

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Now that the Detroit Red Wings have been eliminated from playoff contention for the first time in 25 years, we can look ahead to the expansion draft.

The Red Wings can choose one of two options: 1) Protect seven forwards, three defensemen, and one goalie, or 2) Protect eight skaters (forward or defensemen) and one goalie.  Players that have no-movement clauses must be protected as well. First- and second-year players will be exempt towards the list of protected players. [To read more about the rules of the expansion draft click here.]

Detroit must choose to protect one of their two goalies, Jimmy Howard or Petr Mrazek. When the time comes, they need to protect the latter Mrazek.

NHL: Petr Mrazek 2
Mar 3, 2017; Calgary, Alberta, CAN; Detroit Red Wings goalie Petr Mrazek (34) stops a shot by the Calgary Flames during overtime at Scotiabank Saddledome. The Flames won 3-2 in overtime. Mandatory Credit: Candice Ward-USA TODAY Sports

Mrazek, 24, is still young and has the ability to develop, while already posting a modest .914 save percentage in his young career. Howard, 32, has too posted some solid numbers overall in his career, but just has not been able to stay healthy enough. And this year is no exception, after being out of action for nearly three months.

Mrazek has had a down season this year, recording a .902 save percentage and a 2.99 goals against. With that said, he has performed well in the playoffs when called on. Over two playoff stints with Detroit, his GAA is well under 2.00 per game and he’s stopping just over 93 percent of shots on net. He certainly did his part in

Howard has proven time-and-time again that he can’t win a big game when called on. Over seven seasons with Detroit, Howard has registered a 2.58 GAA and a .918 save percentage in the playoffs. Last year alone against Tampa in the playoffs, his goals against was a tick under 4.00. and the save percentage dipped to .891.

Mrazek is also the cheaper way to go, he’s signed through next season for $4.15M. Howard meanwhile still has two years left on his current deal after this season and is tabbed to make $9.25M over those two years.

This summer should be interesting with the expansion draft, but it should also be fun to watch everything unfold.