In Red Wings Land
Craig Custance goes even more in-depth on Ken Holland and the Red Wings’ decision to leave Petr Mrazek unprotected for tomorrow’s expansion draft.
When things went sideways for Mrazek this season, there was concern internally about his response. Rather than digging in and trying to work his way out of it, Mrazek, according to multiple sources, soured and placed the blame elsewhere.
Contrasted against Howard, whose work ethic picked up when his play went south in previous seasons, it presented a tough decision for an organization with an embedded belief in culture and work ethic for its best players.
“Work has never been a problem in Detroit,” said one NHL source outside the Red Wings organization. “And there’s a changing of the guard and the leadership is changing. You can’t let that creep in. If that guy, who doesn’t want to work, is going to be handed your No. 1 goalie job, it changes everything.”
There’s a lot good stuff in the article. I definitely agree with the idea of keeping the culture and the importance of establishing a work ethic (especially among the young players). But at what point is culture worth losing a potentially valuable asset for nothing? That’s what the Wings are weighing right now apparently.
Custance also touches on the trade market for Mrazek and why Holland had trouble moving the netminder.
(NOTE: at the time of writing this post, The Athletic Detroit was still offering a free preview)
Around the League
We showed you the Wings new uniforms last night. Chris Creamer provides a great breakdown of all the new jerseys and the slight changes to some of the uniforms produced by Adidas.
It looks like we just found out how the Blackhawks are going to wiggle their way out of salary cap jail once again.
According to several sources, there is a legitimate possibility Hossa has played his final NHL game. (He could not be reached for comment. Neither could his agent, Ritch Winter. The Blackhawks declined to comment.) Apparently, he suffers from a serious allergic reaction to the equipment he wears.
The sources who confirmed the allergy stressed not to make fun of it, with one saying, “It’s only funny to anyone who’s never had it.” Details are sketchy, because no one would give full information, but the medication necessary to combat the allergy is potent enough that doctors wanted his blood tested every few weeks to make sure there were no major side effects.
I’m not going to sit here and accuse Marian Hossa and the Blackhawks of conspiring to find a way to solve their cap problems, but this is pretty, pretty, pretty convenient. We all know how this story ends. Chicago will trade Hossa to the Coyotes and he’ll spend the next four seasons on LTIR. He has the perfect Arizona contract with a cap hit of $5.275M, but only $1M in actual real dollars each year.
Elliott Friedman also has some thoughts on all of George McPhee and the Golden Knights trades ahead of tonight’s expansion draft. Plus this thought on the Mrazek situation:
16. What to make of Detroit’s decision to leave Petr Mrazek unprotected? That last season was a rough one between the player and the organization. Their contract negotiation in the summer of 2016 was tense, and it carried over. There was a ton of mutual frustration last season. It’s also clear that Jared Coreau, who won the Calder Cup with AHL Grand Rapids, passed Mrazek in the organizational structure. One year ago, Mrazek was the future star and Jimmy Howard was on the outs. Things change fast in the NHL. The big question becomes, what happens if the Golden Knights don’t take Mrazek?
If Vegas doesn’t take Mrazek, he either gets the message the team is attempting to send and turns a corner in regards to his attitude and play or the relationship between player and team is so broken that the Wings do whatever it takes to trade him — regardless of the return. It’ll make for an interesting storyline to follow the rest of the summer, that’s for sure.
Let’s Go Red Wings.