Free Agency 2014: Red Wings extend Petr Mrazek
What could this extension possibly mean for the Detroit crease?
I don't know anymore.
#RedWings have extended G Petr Mrazek through 2015-16, at $737,500.— Helene St. James (@HeleneStJames) July 1, 2014
Petr Mrazek is a good goalie, and some of us on here have clamored for him to be next year's backup over Jonas Gustavsson for several reasons. That said, why in the world is this deal being done today?
Mrazek has one year left on his entry-level contract for a cap hit of $595,000. The good work he's put in for both Grand Rapids in leading them to a Calder Cup and in the short stints he's had in Detroit are reflected in the modest raise he'll be getting in his next contract. He'll still be an RFA in offseason 2016.
Why is this deal getting done today? Mrazek would have been an RFA next offseason if Holland let him get to that point, so he still would have had all the bargaining power, and the threat of offer sheets for a goalie who's mostly been in the AHL is next to non-existent. With the start of free agent signings today, surely Ken Holland can focus on finding UFAs to supplement the roster; he has all the time in the world to extend Mrazek if he really wants to do so before his ELC expires.
Moreover, with Jonas Gustavsson signed to be the backup next season, even if you anticipate Mrazek getting into 15 or so games because of injuries to either Jimmy Howard or Gustavsson, does Holland really need to sign Mrazek now to keep his price down? Unless Mrazek literally steals the section of Joe Louis Arena ice with the crease from Howard and drags a Dan-Cleary-filled roster to a Stanley Cup, there's no way Mrazek would have made that much more money if he signed after next season instead of now. As it stands, Mrazek won't get into enough games at the NHL level to demand much more money.
I don't know if the free agency wooing period had any role in the Red Wings deciding to pursue this signing today. Perhaps the Red Wings made their pitches during this pre-July 1 period and waited for players to decide not to sign with them. I'll admit to raising an eyebrow or two when I saw this bit of news on my Twitter feed. Good contract, terrible timing.