What is Petr Mrazek worth to the Detroit Red Wings?
The Detroit Red Wings and goaltender Petr Mrazek are far apart in their contract negotiations.
According to Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman, Mrazek is looking for $10 million over the next two years in his arbitration asking price. The Red Wings have countered with a total of $5.85 million ($2.7 million in the first year and $3.15 million in the second season) over two seasons.
This would provide a large raise for the 24-year-old Mrazek, who made $737,000 last season and appeared to take over as the team’s starting goaltender until he was replaced by declining 32-year-old veteran Jimmy Howard down the stretch.
Howard will make $5,291,666 per-year through 2018-19 and his cap number creates a problem with how much the Wings want to commit to their netminding writes Winging It In Motown.
At first glance, they are not so far apart that a deal can’t be reached. It makes sense that Mrazek would want to get paid around the $5M mark, but if we’re being honest with ourselves, does he really deserve that based on his body of work so far? He has been brilliant at times, but also suffered longer bouts of inconsistency than what would be expected of a top goaltender. It’s possible he puts it all together for an entire season, but his overall body of work is still pretty limited to know exactly what he is and what he will be.
On the Wings’ side, it was obvious they wanted to get Mrazek at a reasonable price because they are still paying Jimmy Howard $5.3M and have to get Danny DeKeyser signed to a new contract (his arbitration hearing would also be this week if a deal is not reached before that).
According to the Detroit Free Press, the Red Wings tried to trade Howard earlier in the offseason, but keeping him around isn’t the worst idea.
The Wings would need to acquire someone very trustworthy, because there is still uncertainty regarding whether Mrazek can handle a full NHL season. In sum, for the time being, it makes sense to hang onto Howard — he bailed them out this season when Mrazek stumbled, and the playoff losses had more to do with uninspired play from teammates than goaltending. Spending in the $10 million range on goaltending is costly, but doable. It’s always possible a team will suffer an injury once the season begins and a trade scenario materializes. If not, Howard can be exposed in the expansion draft next summer.
What is Mrazek worth?
Detroit filed for arbitration with Mrazek and if the goaltender goes through a hearing with the team, it would be the first time a player has done so with the Red Wings since 1995. His case is scheduled for Wednesday.
Last season Mrazek ranked eighth in 5-on-5 save percentage at .9307 amongst goaltenders with at least 2,000 5-on-5 minutes played.
This was ahead of Vezina Trophy finalists Jonathan Quick and Ben Bishop.
He held a 2.33 goal-against average and .921 save percentage last season in 54 games played, and in three playoff games he had a 1.35 goal-against average and .945 save percentage. In 10 career postseason contests he’s held a .931 save percentage.
In January, Mrazek went 7-1-1 with a 1.32 goal-against average and .952 save percentage, but in the last two months he was pulled five times in a span of 14 starts.
Frederik Andersen just received a $5 million per-year deal with the Toronto Maple Leafs. But he’s 26 years old and led the Anaheim Ducks to a Western Conference Final appearance two seasons ago. Mrazek doesn’t have the same type of NHL experience, even if he wants the same type of contract.
The Hockey News explained the decision by the Red Wings to file for arbitration was a negotiating tactic.
This is a bit of a chess game here. Had Mrazek filed for arbitration, the Red Wings would have been able to choose either a one- or two-year reward. With the Red Wings filing, Mrazek will now have the choice of a one- or two-year award. Regardless, it means Mrazek is guaranteed to have a deal with the Red Wings for at least one season and will be available to the Red Wings for the start of the season.
The Red Wings have just $3,269,625 million of salary cap space and still need to give restricted defenseman Danny DeKeyser a new contract. He finished a two-year, $4.375 million deal.
If Detroit needs more breathing room, they can put Johan Franzen’s $3.9 million cap hit on long-term injured reserve.
But Red Wings general manager Ken Holland told MLive finding a structure with both players isn’t so simple.
“We’ve had lots of discussions (with Mrazek),” Holland said. “There’s way more comparables, I think, in Dan DeKeyser’s case so it was easier to figure out what was the market place. That’s certainly not the case of Petr Mrazek’s situation.
“So we’ve had lots of conversations about them explaining their position and (us) explaining our position.”
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Josh Cooper is an editor for Puck Daddy on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at email@example.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @joshuacooper