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Detroit Red Wings Season Player Previews: The Goalies

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Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports


Jonas Gustavsson

#50 / Goalie / Detroit Red Wings

6-3

192

Oct 24, 1984


Gustavsson had a pretty good season last year with the Wings, going 16-5-4-0 with a 2.63 GAA and .907 SV%. He was clutch for the Wings many nights when Howard was either injured or not able to play well.  We've all come to know and (mostly) love the wild and crazy heart attack inducing play of Monster, but prepare yourselves to change what you think you know about Gustavsson.

Strengths: Looking creepy, being tall, and pissing off Leafs fans. When healthy, Monster was a big reason the Wings even made it to the playoffs last year. He had almost identical GAA and SV% to Howard, and while Jimmy was injured or not playing well, Gustavsson really came through. He's big and covers a lot of the net just by standing (or sitting) in front of it and when he's in the zone his reactive instincts are a big asset.

Weaknesses: Chocolate and groin muscles. Gustavsson's biggest weakness the past couple seasons has been his inability to stay healthy. He has a tendency to let in a few WTF goals, while making much more difficult saves.

Expectations: With the changes I saw in training camp and his pre-season game, I expect Gustavsson to be healthy this season and push Jimmy to be better and be the back up we need. He's calmer, more comfortable, controlled, relaxed, and under control. He's also butterflying more and not doing the splits and flailing around; which will take a lot of pressure off his groin and help him stay healthy and playing. I expect gus gus to have his best career season yet.

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Jimmy Howard

#35 / Goalie / Detroit Red Wings

6-0

218

Mar 26, 1984


Howard's received an enormous amount of criticism for his performance last season, and it was definitely not a good season for Jimmy. If the Wings are going to have any chance to make it to the playoffs and do any damage, they need Jimmy at the top of his game. He's a key part of the backbone of this team, and as he goes, so will the team.

Strengths: Giving people the crazy eyes, facewashing whiny babies and fowl goons, and maintaining an impressive haters club, regardless of how good he is. Howard is a workhorse who likes to be played hard and put away wet (so to speak), which is great because the Wings defense is the weakest it's been in a long time, and Jimmy's workload is heavy. He's fiery, passionate, driven, and he wants to win. Jimmy has a strong technical foundations and with some tweaks he's made over the summer, he's stronger and more technically sound than ever before.

Weaknesses: Injuries have hampered Jimmy the last couple seasons, and you can't play, or play well, when you're hurt. Inconsistency was an issue for Jimmy last season and the Wings need him to step up and be the reliable starter they need.

Expectations: I expect big things from Jimmy this season. He lost a significant amount of weight (10-15 pounds) over the summer and he looks very slim, trim, and kind of buff. He's a lot quicker and more agile, and he looks absolutely fantastic so far. He's also using a lower, more aggressive stance and tweaked where he's holding his glove and blocker. I've never seen Jimmy look so good, and I think he's going to have a hell of a bounce back season. Between he and Gustavsson, I have a lot of excitement about our goaltending this year.

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Petr Mrazek

#34 / Goalie / Detroit Red Wings

6-1

187

Feb 14, 1992


Petr Mrazek could be in the NHL with most teams, but because the Wings chose to bring Gustavsson back for another year, Mrazek will have to settle for dominating the AHL for most of the season. The Wings currently have more goaltending depth than they have in a long time and with Mrazek as the 3rd goalie, I don't have to be worried if Howard or Gustavsson get injured.

Strengths: Being Mraznificent, charming the ladies, making other goalies jealous. He's incredibly confident, mentally unflappable, agile, athletic, he reads players well and has all the technical skills to be a great goalie.

Weaknesses: Staring at himself in the mirror and chirping the opposition. Mrazek's put on some weight over the summer, but he's not a big goalie, so he'll have to continue to use his agility and athleticism to give him the edge. Mrazek plays aggressively and it usually works well for him, but playing so far outside the crease sometimes burns him. His aggressiveness in playing the puck has also come back to bite him a few times.

Expectations: He'll be the starter in Grand Rapids this year while getting a few call ups with the Wings. I expect him to once again be one of the top goalies in the AHL (he was 2nd last year). He'll have to be patient knowing he should be in the NHL this season and make sure he stays focused in Grand Rapids and doesn't get frustrated. I expect to think "he should be with the Wings" a lot throughout the season.