With the NHL Expansion Draft less than a week away, Detroit Red Wings general manager Ken Holland will be forced to make some tough decisions in short order. The biggest decision, perhaps, is determine which goaltender he intends to protect from the NHL’s 31st franchise, the Vegas Golden Knights.
Wings insider Ted Kulfan has crafted his own protection list for The Detroit News and his choice of goaltender may surprise some of the team’s fans. With only one protected spot available for either Jimmy Howard or Petr Mrazek, Kulfan argues that the team should opt to go with the veteran Howard over the unproven Mrazek. While Mrazek is eight years younger than Howard and has shown incredible promise, Howard is simply the better goaltender argues Kulfan.
Mrazek may not have had the best campaign in 2016-17, but surely the team isn’t about to give him up for no return. The 25 year-old goaltender signed a two-year, $8 million extension just last summer and will be looking to earn a new contract with a stellar 2017-18. There’s no denying his ability, but the young Czech goalie will need to establish some consistency if he’s going to take over the Wings net in earnest.
As for Howard, the 33 year-old did have a bounce back campaign in 2016-17, but his age and his $5.2 million cap hit make him a volatile asset moving forward.
For Kulfan's full protection list, visit The Detroit News.