Detroit Red Wings: No Sophomore Slump For Goaltender Petr Mrazek

By Jonathan Katje
Petr Mrazek Red Wings
Perry Nelson – USA TODAY Sports

Any worries that Detroit Red Wings goaltending prospect Petr Mrazek might be experiencing a sophomore slump have been put to rest recently, as the young netminder has won his last six starts for the Grand Rapids Griffins of the AHL. After a 1-2-1 start to the season, Mrazek has now rebounded and his 2.11 goals-against average is sixth best in the league. He has allowed one goal or fewer in four of his last six starts, and has taken the starting job back from former first round pick Tom McCollum. In addition, he also recorded his first career shutout in the NHL, turning aside 14 shots to lead the Red Wings to a win over the Edmonton Oilers.

Mrazek was a key piece of the Griffins’ 2012-13 Calder Cup championship team, as he posted a 23-16-2 record during the regular season and then had four shutouts to go with 15 wins in the postseason. Only the strong offensive performance of Tomas Tatar kept Mrazek from taking home playoff MVP honors as the Griffins defeated the Syracuse Crunch (Tampa Bay Lightning) in six games to win their first Calder Cup. A fifth round pick in 2010, Mrazek has excelled at every level of play and has quickly become one of the most prized prospects in the Red Wings organization. He started last season in the ECHL but was quickly promoted to Grand Rapids and also appeared in two games for the Red Wings.

While Mrazek is currently behind Jimmy Howard and Jonas Gustavsson on the depth chart, he should at least have a chance at time in Detroit over the next couple seasons. Gustavsson will be a free agent at season’s end, and Mrazek’s play is making it hard to ignore the possibility of him having a chance to serve as Howard’s backup as soon as next season.

Jonathan Katje is an NHL featured columnist for Rant Sports. You can follow him on Twitter or add him to your circles on Google Plus.

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