The fourth edition of my Red Wings prospect profile series will examine a hopeful future star between the pipes: Petr Mrazek.
Goaltender – Czech Republic – Age 22
6-foot-1, ~185 pounds – Catches Left-handed
Drafted 141st Overall in 2010 NHL Entry Draft
Strengths / Weaknesses
+ Athleticism, Competitor, Vision
– Size, Rebound Control
Petr Mrazek is your typical athletic goalie that has to rely on vision and instincts because of small stature. Most the time in the crease he shows solid use of conventional goalie techniques, but it’s when Mrazek gets caught in awkward situations and has to make the spectacular saves that he shows his true potential.
What makes Petr Mrazek a possible starter (and perhaps even future star) in the NHL is his quick reflexes and anticipation of where the puck is going to end up. His lateral side-to-side movement stands out right away when watching any of his highlight clips. He’s excellent at reading the situation, reacting, and making the save any way possible.
But, at the same time, Mrazek also knows his limits. He plays an aggressive hybrid type of goaltender that goes into the butterfly stance early, but with his athleticism can transition out of it in a hurry to make the sprawling saves. This leads me nicely into his area needing improvement.
Because of his inexperience and youth, he sometimes tries to do too much. For example, instead of making an easy save Mrazek can occasionally make the easy saves look ten times harder than they should be. It’s these types of chances that often lead to him giving up juicy rebounds as well.
- Jonathan Quick (Los Angeles Kings)
- Dominik Hasek (Retired Detroit Red Wing)
- Jarosklav Halak (New York Islanders)
Growing up in the Czech Republic, Mrazek idolized the former Red Wing great and fellow countryman Dominik Hasek and it shows in his playing style. He plays bigger than what he actually is and he is a fighter. Hasek’s style used his 5-foot-11 frame as an advantage instead of a disadvantage. It’s not how much area the goalie can take up initially, but how fast they are in covering the rest of the net.
Newly crowned two-time Stanley Cup Champion Jonathan Quick is probably the best active NHL goalie comparison that Mrazek could emulate if he develops to his full potential.
RedWingsCentral.com: #2 rated Red Wings’ prospect
Hockey’sFuture.com: Potential starting NHL goalie
Speaking of potential, Mrazek is on the cusp of taking Hockeytown by storm. He really doesn’t have anything left to prove in Grand Rapids after leading the Griffins to the 2013 Calder Cup in which he started every single game. Simply put, he is a winner.
The organization realizes they have possible franchise goaltender a few years away from his prime. Yet, there is one problem standing in the way: Jimmy Howard and his contract extension. Howard signed 6-year extension at the end of the 2012-13 season making him a Red Wing through the 2018-19 season.
Where does this leave Mrazek?
The short answer is Mrazek ends up in the AHL for one more tune-up season or he gets to ride the bench in the NHL behind Howard. With Jonas Gustavsson as a free agent it’s up to Ken Holland if he wants to bring The Monster back, sign another backup goalie, or promote Mrazek to that role. Under all three scenarios one thing remains the same, Jimmy Howard is the go-to starter.
At the end of the day I believe Petr Mrazek will find himself back with the Griffins for one more season. He has one more year of AHL eligibility and it really does him no good letting that go to waste when the alternative is he gets a few games here and there while backing up Howard.
Mrazek is a restricted free agent at the end of the season, so I trust that Babcock is going to get Mrazek his opportunities with the Wings over the course of the season. Honestly I wouldn’t be surprised if Howard gets traded in a couple of years to allow Petr Mrazek to take up the reins as the franchise goaltender.
He has the talent and tenacity to be that good.
Other Red Wings’ Prospect Profiles
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