For a good portion of the 2015-16 season, an argument could be made that Petr Mrazek was the Red Wings’ MVP and reason why they made the playoffs. Ken Holland said several weeks ago that he was the Wings’ number 1 goaltender for the upcoming season, and it’s become very obvious he is the goalie of the future in Detroit.
The Wings and Mrazek were unable to come to an agreement on a new contract, and the team elected to use their right to arbitration. His hearing is scheduled for later this week, and today we learned just what the Red Wings are offering and what Mrazek is looking for.
Petr Mrazek arb...DET offer: $2.7M & $3.15M (two-year deal). Player ask: $5M and $5M— Elliotte Friedman (@FriedgeHNIC) July 25, 2016
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).
Should the Wings not be able to get an agreement with Mrazek done, it’s likely an arbitrator would split the difference, which would put Mrazek around $4M a year over the next 2 years. Because Mrazek elected to seek a 2-year contract, he would remain a RFA once this contract is up, so the Wings do keep a little control there.
As it stands right now, the Wings have a shade under $4M in cap space, which does not take into account anyone who may go on LTIR (Johan Franzen, Joe Vitale). Even with the relief they may get from that, the Wings could still find themselves facing a cap crunch if Mrazek and/or DeKeyser are awarded signficant raises by an arbitrator. The summer of Ken Holland may not be over just yet.