Detroit Red Wings giving Petr Mrazek a chance to impress in the AHL

By Jonathan Katje

The Detroit Red Wings on Monday promoted rookie netminder Petr Mrazek from the Toledo Walleye of the ECHL to their AHL affiliate, the Grand Rapids Griffins. Struggling third-year pro Jordan Pearce was sent down to Toledo.

The highly touted Mrazek will compete with Tom McCollum for starts in Grand Rapids for the time being, starting with this weekend’s three-games-in-three-days trip to Texas. Mrazek seemed to have a decent shot at making the Griffins roster after training camp, but was sent to Toledo, presumably to see more ice time. In three appearances for the Walleye, the 20 year old had a 2-1 record with a 2.02 GAA and 0.944 save percentage.

Af fifth round selection of the Wings in the 2010 draft, Mrazek has spent the past three seasons with the Ottawa 67’s of the OHL, winning 30 games in the 2011-12 season and taking his team to the Eastern Conference finals. He had a coming out party of sorts during the 2012 World Junior Championships, where he earned best goaltender honors after posting two shutouts and beating the United States to take the Czech Republic to the quarterfinals.

Goaltending has been a problem for the Griffins so far this season, and was especially noticeable last weekend as they lost back-to-back games in which they had sizable leads. A 4-1 lead over the Charlotte Checkers (Carolina Hurricanes) on Friday turned into a 6-4 loss after McCollum gave up three power play goals. A 3-1 lead over the Rockford Ice Hogs (Chicago Blackhawks) on Saturday ended as a 6-5 overtime loss, with Pearce surrendering all six goals on just 29 shots. The former Notre Dame University goaltender’s 0-3 record with a 4.38 GAA and 0.847 save percentage made this an easy decision for the Wings. McCollum has the Griffins two wins this season and is 2-1-1 with a 3.13 GAA.

The Griffins are in action this weekend at the San Antonio Rampage (Florida Panthers) Friday, at the Texas Stars (Dallas Stars) Saturday and at the Houston Aeros (Minnesota Wild) Sunday. They return home Wednesday Nov. 7 to take on the Milwaukee Admirals (Nashville Predators) in their annual matinee game.

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