The 2017-18 Detroit Red Wings are just plain bad. In fact, this is the worst Motor City hockey team to take the ice in quite some time. This year is quickly becoming a lost cause and a Red Wings rebuild is the only logical answer. With that in mind, it is unfortunate how Detroit is utilizing once goalie of the future, Petr Mrazek.
Detroit Red Wings Misusing Petr Mrazek
Once upon a time, all signs pointed to Mrazek usurping Jimmy Howard as Detroit’s starting netminder. In 2015-16, the former fifth-round pick put forth a stellar season, cementing himself as the Red Wings face in net for both the present and future. Then, 2016-17 happened and doubt in Mrazek overcame the franchise, questioning whether their original thoughts on him were accurate. He played close to the same number of games as 2015-16 but his numbers were worse across the board.
To say that Mrazek has bounced back this season would be a complete lie. In fact, it’s not a stretch to say he has been awful. In seven starts, he is a measly 2-4-1 with a .888 save percentage and 3.73 goals against average. However, the Red Wings still must provide the 25-year-old netminder with more opportunities.
Time to Showcase Petr Mrazek
Of the two Detroit netminders, Mrazek has been the worst. However, the 33-year-old Howard has been given more than triple the amount of starts. Even if his seven starts have been poor, Jeff Blashill needs to provide Mrazek with more chances to see what the organization truly has in him.
Now in rebuild mode, even if they want to deny it, the Red Wings need to start looking at the future. Howard’s future with the organization only goes as far as the summer of 2019, due to his age and inconsistent play. Mrazek’s time with Detroit could be even shorter because he becomes a restricted free-agent this summer. However, it would be in the Red Wings best interest to give him ample opportunity to prove whether or not he is worth keeping around.
As was mentioned before, Mrazek is only 25. There is still time for him to turn his career around and he possesses the necessary raw talent to do so. In order for this to happen, the netminder has to be playing in his fair share of games. Unfortunately, Blashill and the Red Wings are not providing him with enough in-game experience up to this point. On that contrary, the only thing Detroit is demonstrating, in regards to Mrazek, is that they have given up on him.
Attempt to Increase Trade Value
If the Red Wings have indeed given up on Mrazek as the team’s future netminder, there is still a good reason to play him more. What is that reason? To hopefully garner trade interest and increase his value.
It has been said countless times but in case you didn’t hear, the Red Wings need to go through a rebuild. In a rebuild, team’s must try to acquire assets, whether it be draft picks or prospects, to put them in a better position for a bright future. If Mrazek can somehow turn his season around, a team in need of a goalie could attempt to trade for him. However, turning his season around can only happen with more playing time.
Nothing to Lose
Any hope for a successful 2017-18 season in Detroit should be gone. It is now time to play for the future. Wins and losses for the rest of the season don’t really matter. It’s all about examining the talent you have and deciding what to do with it.
To this point, the Red Wings have handled Petr Mrazek all wrong. They could still have a talented goaltender on the roster or a decent trade chip. However, Detroit will never know if they don’t start playing him more.
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