Ken Holland: I wasn’t going to be keeping Petr Mrazek

In the aftermath of the Detroit Red Wings trading goaltender Petr Mrazek to the Philadlephia Flyers in exchange for conditional draft picks, fans are learning that one of their two goaltenders was definitely going to be wearing a new uniform.

It was just a matter of time until when and who it was, and now we’re finding out why it was ultimately Mrazek on the move.

With his contract set to expire this summer, Holland wasn’t going to be giving him an extension at his current salary, or even a raise. With Jimmy Howard on the books for another season at a nearly $5.3 million cap hit, the team wasn’t going to be carrying nearly $10 million worth of goaltending on the roster.

“(Mrazek) is not the goalie I’m keeping because we have to qualify him at $4 million this summer,” Holland said. “All I can do is watch games and makes assessments based upon what I see.”

With the Flyers in need of help in the crease following injuries to both Brian Elliott and Michal Neuvirth, Holland decided to make the move late Monday night rather than wait until the following week’s deadline.

“I’m not sure what’s going to happen in the next 25 games,” he said. “I don’t have a crystal ball. I can’t read the future as to how everyone is going to play, but certainly at this stage, right now, Petr is playing very well. Certainly, that will be part of the reason why Philadelphia had interested and we made the decision to acquire a draft pick.

Could I have waited three, four, five more days? I guess, but (Flyers general manager Ron Hextall) told me that he wanted to acquire a goaltender yesterday. I can’t wait until Saturday or Sunday.”

Mrazek appeared to be Detroit’s goaltender of the future, and he went through stretches of sheer brilliance that made Howard expendable, but his contract made him difficult to move.

However, Mrazek’s play suddenly dipped and became inconsistent in February of 2016. He never fully regained the swagger he played with, and despite a recent stretch of better play, Holland isn’t speculating too much on why the plan for Mrazek to be the full-time starter went awry.

“Certainly, I’ve got ideas. Sometimes I’ve got ideas I think about certain situations I can’t tell you people. I don’t think it’s fair to all the people involved. I like Petr. I think this summer he really dug in. He understood that he was in competition with Jimmy Howard coming into this season. Certainly, when we signed him two years ago, the thought, the plan, the hope was that he was going to take this team over and play 60 games a year and we were going to go on that direction.”

The Red Wings continue their home stand on Thursday night against the Buffalo Sabres at Little Caesars Arena.

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