NOTE: The views expressed in this EDITORIAL do not necessarily reflect the views of Detroit Sports Nation or a majority of its writers and should not be misconstrued as such. The views contained within are the views of the author and the author alone.
On Sunday, November 5, Petr Mrazek looked good in net for the Detroit Red Wings with a 4-0 shutout in Edmonton. Mrazek stopped all 36 shots he faced in his best performance of the season. But all that became a distant memory four days later.
FILTHY FERLAND, WHAT A MOVE! MICHEAL FERLAND DANGLES PETR MRAZEK OUT OF HIS SKATES AND SCORES TO PUT THE FLAMES UP 3-0! pic.twitter.com/TO74gWU3Y3
— NHL Daily 365 (@NHLDaily365) November 10, 2017
In Thursday’s loss to the Calgary Flames, Mrazek allowed five goals on 33 shots in his 150th NHL game. The Wings lost 6-3 on Thursday, ending their Canadian road trip and bringing the team’s record to 8-8-1.
“There were a few times when we had the puck on our stick in our own zone and the next thing you know they have the puck and the puck’s in our net. There were a few of those tonight. On the road, you can’t let five goals in and expect to win,” Mrazek said after the game.
The loss brings Mrazek’s record to 2-3-1 this season — with only one quality start. As his performance continues to disappoint, it begs the question: Does Petr Mrazek have a future in Detroit?
Back in June, the Red Wings exposed Mrazek for the draft expansion, protecting veteran goaltender Jimmy Howard instead. This came as no surprise, Mrazek having finished the 2016-17 season with a .901 save percentage and 3.04 goals against average after starting the year with high expectations.
Mrazek’s two-year contract is up at the end of this season and many question whether or not Ken Holland will offer him an extension for the 2018-19 season (and if he even deserves one). While we have Howard for two more years, he’ll be 35 when his contract is up. Howie signed a six-year, $31,750,000 contract with the Wings in 2013 and is unlikely to see a comparable offer at age 35.
So what does all that mean for Detroit’s goaltending future?
Howard’s history has been plagued with injury and his future with the team is unclear. Meanwhile, Jared Coreau has been clutch in the AHL with the Grand Rapids Griffins but didn’t show much promise in 14 starts with the Wings last season (.887 save percentage, 3.46 goals against average). So does that make Mrazek the easy choice? Absolutely not.
Mrazek had his chance to serve as the Red Wings starting goaltender last year. Twice. And he blew it both times. It’s time for Detroit to put their confidence behind Jimmy Howard’s resurgence and name him full-time starting goalie as he finishes out his contract.
Take Mrazek out of the picture and you’ve got Coreau waiting in line to step in at backup goaltender. Despite his inconsistency last season, I think he could bring his AHL success to the NHL level given the opportunity.
So, to recap: Mrazek goes, Howard starts and Coreau backs him up.