DETROIT - Petr Mrazek could be a potential expansion draft selection for the new Las Vegas Golden Knights after Jimmy Howard grabbed back the starting job in Detroit.
That's according to The Hockey News' Matt Larkin, who has 25-year-old Mrazek listed among 15 goalies Vegas could pick up. Here's what Larkin says about Mrazek's potential of getting picked up in the expansion draft:
Hard to believe he was a legitimate Vezina Trophy contender halfway through the 2015-16 season. This season he got badly outplayed by Jimmy Howard, enough so that Mrazek isn’t guaranteed to start for Detroit going forward. Howard is eight years older and more expensive, but David Coreau and his $612,500 cap hit aren’t exempt from the expansion draft anymore. What if GM Ken Holland decides to go scorched earth and exposes Howard and Mrazek? It wouldn’t be the worst idea.
He means Jared Coreau, not "David." Whoops.
Speaking of Coreau, the Red Wings brought up the 6-foot-6 goaltender from Grand Rapids to start in 14 games this past season. He went 5-4-3 with a terrible 3.46 GAA and .887 save percentage. However, he did post two shutouts and is a legitimate option for backing up Howard.
Meanwhile, Mrazek's season went from bad to worse. He finished with a losing record (18-21-9), a .901 save percentage and 3.04 GAA. To be fair, the Red Wings' season went from bad to worst, so it's hard to pin everything on the goalie.
Mrazek eventually lost his starting spot to Howard, who ended up posting his best career save percentage (.927) despite a mid-season injury. By the end of the season, there was no doubt Howard was the Red Wings' No. 1 goalie, leaving Holland with some decisions to make. Or does it?
It's becoming more common for NHL teams to carry two "starting" goalies, splitting the time between them. You never know when one might go cold or get hurt, such as Howard's case. Just look at the Pittsburgh Penguins: Matt Murray stole the starting job from Marc-André Fleury and guided the Penguins to another Stanley Cup championship last year. Fast-forward to a year later and Murray is hurt before the puck drops in game one of the playoffs. An experienced Fleury stepped in and the Penguins never skipped a beat.
The Red Wings will be able to protect just one of their goalies in the expansion draft. If Holland is looking to drop salary, then Howard should remain unprotected. Of course, that doesn't mean Vegas will pick up him. They'll have plenty of options. Mrazek, though, is relatively young and most definitely has his best years ahead of him. He could be a steal for Vegas, and no one knows this better than the Red Wings GM.
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