Coming into this new season, the Red Wings will have quite the options for goaltending training camp this year.
While Jimmy Howard started last season with what seemed an endless occurrence of injuries, backup Petr Mrazek filled in a what looked to be a subpar season finishing 18-21-0-9. Mrazek who is just 25 years old is spending this offseason looking for consistency.
Ending the season with 3.04 goals-against average and .901 save percentage in 44 starts, Mrazek looks to change that around coming into his last season in his contract which could come as an issue; Jared Coreau is now waiver-eligible after winning a Calder Cup with the AHL’s Grand Rapids Griffins.
Howard was in a similar waters two-seasons ago after going 14-14-0-5 with a career-worst 2.80 goals-against average and .906 save percentage.
Reports from Dana Wakiji said after speaking with Wings goaltending coach Jeff Salajko about Petr, he said “From what I’m hearing now, he’s working hard. He realizes that for him, it’s a contract year. We don’t even need to bring that to his attention. He didn’t have a great year. I’m taking part ownership on that, I got to find the buttons to push with him and do things a little differently. He’s got to put the work in and be willing to come in with an open frame of mind here in camp.”
As Wings fans caught a glimpse of Coreau, who came up when Howard was injured and went 5-4-0-3 with a 3.46 goals-against average and .887 save percentage was only the beginning of what we thought was a bust.
Coreau gained control and experience during the Calder Cup playoffs, going 15-4 with a 2.84 goals-against average and .909 save percentage proved he’s in the position to fill the gaps where it’s needed.
Time will only tell as it is now all up to each goaltender to prove their worth. Coreau? Howard? Mrazek? The Wings have 3 starting goaltenders, but who is willing to stay? Who will the Wings keep? Experience to discipline to youth. We have it all.