The Detroit Red Wings know their season will likely not end in a playoff appearance. Backup goalie Petr Mrazek is increasing his trade value coming up to the deadline. The team has two goalies with him and Jimmy Howard that have starting goalie experience and that will fetch a haul of picks and prospects.
— Helene St. James (@HeleneStJames) February 1, 2018
Petr Mrazek Trade Value Increasing
The Ostrava, Czech Republic native had a nightmare start to the season and was getting limited starts after Howard had taken the number one spot. Mrazek has found his form in the early part of 2018 and has gone 4-1-1 in his last six games. He even posted shutouts against the Chicago Blackhawks on January 14th and the New Jersey Devils on January 22nd.
He currently is 6-5-2 this season with a 3.01 goals against average and a .906 save percentage. However, his stats have trended upward since the start of the new year.
Many think Detroit coach Jeff Blashill is showcasing Mrazek for a trade, but he told the media that he’s still looking to make the postseason. However, Mrazek’s good play is making him more enticing to teams that are in the market for a goalie.
Blashill, who is a former goaltender, said that Mrazek’s confidence has returned after the shaky start of the season. He was thought to be the goalie of the future before his letdown of a 2016-17 campaign. His flair and body language from his breakout season two years ago have returned.
Last season saw Mrazek regress as he went 18-21-9 with a 3.04 goals against average and a .901 save percentage. He was made available to the Vegas Golden Knights in the expansion draft but was not selected.
He has worked hard to get into the regular rotation and chip away at some of Howard’s playing time.
“When you’re more confident as a goalie, the puck sticks to you a little bit more,” said Blashill when he talked to the media on Wednesday. “You play under control, especially him. He plays under control.”
The Market for Petr Mrazek
One of the main issues is the lack of a market for goalies. Many of the teams contending for a playoff spot aren’t in need of a starting goalie. The New York Islanders are an obvious candidate but haven’t made any overtures about looking for a netminder.
The Isles are another team on the borderline of a playoff spot and they’re not a lock. General manager Garth Snow could end up being a seller instead of a buyer at the Feb. 26 trade deadline.
Another team that’s a longshot is their old rival the Chicago Blackhawks. However, Corey Crawford has returned to practice and a move may not be needed. The Blackhawks also might be a seller at the deadline if they fall further behind in the Western Conference playoff race.
What it Means for the Future
Management is going to have to make a decision this offseason on what the fate of Mrazek and Howard will be. The Wings have almost $10 million tied up between the two goalies and they’d love to free up some money to attract potential free agents.
Mrazek is worth $4 million dollars and he becomes a restricted free agent at the end of the season. Howard’s cap value is $5.29 million dollars and becomes an unrestricted free agent at the end of the next season. Detroit can either qualify Mrazek or he’ll become an unrestricted free agent if they don’t. The move may be one of Ken Holland‘s last as the team’s general manager.
He may not be a Red Wing in the 2018-19 season, but his improved play is making him a valuable commodity in the trade or free agent market.
DETROIT, MI – DECEMBER 09: Petr Mrazek #34 of the Detroit Red Wings looks on from his net during the third period while playing the St. Louis Blues at Little Caesars Arena on December 9, 2017 in Detroit, Michigan. St. Louis won the game 6-1. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)