The Detroit Red Wings made Petr Mrazek their first sale of 2018.
They settled for a conditional fourth-round pick in the 2018 NHL draft and a conditional third-round pick in 2019 from the Philadelphia Flyers, deciding after two years of mediocrity to part ways with the goalie the Wings once considered their future.
Mrazek, 26, appeared to be an ascending star two years ago. As he approached his 24th birthday, on Feb. 14, 2016, he had a .933 save percentage and 1.94 goals-against average during the 2015-16 season. But then came a slump that resulted in Mrazek losing the starting job that spring. Even so, the Wings believed in Mrazek enough to declare him the starter for the 2016-17 season.
Mrazek struggled through 2016-17, losing the starting job first to Jimmy Howard, then briefly to Jared Coreau. Mrazek’s reputation suffered as his slump continued, and he finished the season with a 3.04 goals-against average and .901 save percentage in 50 games.
It got to the point the Wings exposed Mrazek in the 2017 expansion draft, and then they found no team wanted him. The Dallas Stars needed a goalie but passed, and Stars general manager Jim Nill, formerly the assistant GM in Detroit, was the man who drafted Mrazek 141st overall in 2010.
The Wings entered 2017-18 with the starting job up for grabs. Howard outplayed Mrazek, earning the majority of starts the first half of the season. Mrazek had better performances over the past month, but as a pending restricted free agent, the Wings were not going to qualify Mrazek at his $4 million salary given his 2.89 goals-against average and .910 save percentage in 22 games. Instead of losing him for nothing, the Wings traded him with an eye to their future, as they now hold 10 picks in the 2018 draft.