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THN’s Clinton weighs in on the Howard-vs-Mrazek trade debate

The Hockey News's Jared Clinton weighs in on the, "Trade Jimmy Howard versus trade Petr Mrazek" debate, and Clinton notes that, should a Howard trade backfire, the Red Wings don't really have a "Plan B":

So, the obvious answer then is to ship out Howard, right? Well, it’s not that simple. Teams will be calling on Howard — doesn’t he seem a perfect fit for the New York Islanders, who need someone, anyone, to help keep pucks out of the net? — but moving him along doesn’t exactly come with any guarantee that Mrazek is going to continue to play as well as he has in recent weeks. If he fails to find his form and his overall play across his past 66 games, which is to say his .902 SP and 3.04 GAA, is any indication of where things are headed, Mrazek leaves the Red Wings without a hope in goal. That could leave the organization scrambling for several years, including some seasons they could have used the average goaltending Howard was providing, while they search for the next-in-line for the No. 1 job. Ask the Carolina Hurricanes how easy it is to find capable goaltending even when your team looks prepared to take the next step. At the very least, Howard has shown he can provide some stability.

Clinton continues...

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Comments

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So, the obvious answer then is to ship out Howard, right? Well, it’s not that simple

I kind of disagree. As everyone here knows, I firmly believe in moving Howard. Based on this,

but moving him along doesn’t exactly come with any guarantee that Mrazek is going to continue to play as well as he has in recent weeks.

I think it’s worth the risk. Give Peter one last chance at proving he’s the #1 by giving him the remainder of the season. Tell him flat out, you play well, we make you a starter’s offer, play badly, we let you go and you will most certainly earn less next season (if you aren’t playing in the K).

Sure, going into FA period with no goalies is not ideal, but is it really that bad for the Wings? Are they really worse off without the $9 million additional cap space? I don’t think so.

Posted by howeandhowe from Seattle on 01/26/18 at 12:52 PM ET

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Howe, we agree 100% here. I have nothing to add to what you said. I would handle it exactly the same way, for the same reasons.

Posted by Ilovekermit on 01/26/18 at 01:00 PM ET

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I would handle it exactly the same way, for the same reasons.

Posted by Ilovekermit on 01/26/18 at 12:00 PM ET

Me too. I was just trying to respond within the context of the article.

Posted by howeandhowe from Seattle on 01/26/18 at 01:04 PM ET

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Tell him flat out, you play well, we make you a starter’s offer, play badly, we let you go and you will most certainly earn less next season (if you aren’t playing in the K).

Yeah, and in that case the Red Wings have zero NHL goalies instead of two, and they lose one of them for nothing.

That certainly sounds like a great idea for a team starting a rebuild.

Sure, going into FA period with no goalies is not ideal, but is it really that bad for the Wings?

Is that a bad thing for a team that has almost nothing but overlong and overpaid contracts?

Nah, they’ll probably find a starter for cheaper than market price if they go into the UFA season desperate for a goalie, ANY goalie who can be a starter in the NHL. Every gets a great deal when they’re trying to make a deal from a position of extreme desperation.

Posted by CharDeeMacDennis on 01/26/18 at 01:04 PM ET

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Very good breakdown of the situation.
Personally, I think Howard should be moved. Mrazek may not fully become what a lot of had hoped, but I also think he is better than the numbers are showing.

So to me, the choice is to go with the younger goalie. Only problem is re-signing him. I forget what the exact rules are, but Wings would have to qualify him at at least his current salary I think, which is too high.

Posted by George0211 on 01/26/18 at 01:04 PM ET

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Wings would have to qualify him at at least his current salary I think, which is too high.

Posted by George0211 on 01/26/18 at 12:04 PM ET

That’s my understanding too. But, they can negotiate a lower salary, let him go UFA, and hope he still accepts it.

Posted by howeandhowe from Seattle on 01/26/18 at 01:07 PM ET

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That’s my understanding too. But, they can negotiate a lower salary, let him go UFA, and hope he still accepts it.

Posted by howeandhowe from Seattle on 01/26/18 at 12:07 PM ET

But now imagine the situation where Howard is traded and Mrazek is not qualified and becomes a UFA and now Wings have no goalie and Mrazek knows he’s got KH by the balls.

This really is a no-win situation for Wings.

Posted by George0211 on 01/26/18 at 01:09 PM ET

MoreShoot's avatar

This really is a no-win situation for Wings.

Maybe, but there is a “sure lose” situation: and that would be failing to move one of them.

Posted by MoreShoot on 01/26/18 at 01:12 PM ET

ilovehomers's avatar

Trade Howie.
Qualify Mrazek.
Give him the rest of this season and next season to prove it.

Its a re-build (for all intents and purposes), and 4 mil for Mrazek won’t kill us especially with Howie gone and a cheap back up.

Posted by ilovehomers on 01/26/18 at 01:14 PM ET

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But now imagine the situation where Howard is traded and Mrazek is not qualified and becomes a UFA and now Wings have no goalie and Mrazek knows he’s got KH by the balls.

I think if Mrazek were to finish this season very strong, and Howard were traded so that his cap hit is gone, the Wings would probably be okay w/qualifying Petr at the $4.15M that he makes right now. That is actually a fairly modest sum for your starting goalie. I wouldn’t want that to be a lengthy deal, perhaps two years. Mrazek would still be an RFA if qualified, so the Wings still have a decent amount of control here.

Posted by Ilovekermit on 01/26/18 at 01:17 PM ET

Paul's avatar

In other news, Booth recalled, Turgeon back to GR.

Posted by Paul from Motown Area on 01/26/18 at 01:22 PM ET

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but Wings would have to qualify him at at least his current salary I think, which is too high.

But if they drop Howard’s contract, then $4M for Mrazek + <$1M for Coreau is much more workable from a cap perspective.

Posted by AZWinger on 01/26/18 at 01:35 PM ET

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But now imagine the situation where Howard is traded and Mrazek is not qualified and becomes a UFA and now Wings have no goalie and Mrazek knows he’s got KH by the balls.

I would still prefer this scenario vs keeping Howard, him getting injured (and we know it’s coming) and Mrazek becoming a #1 somewhere else.

Posted by VPalmer on 01/26/18 at 01:40 PM ET

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In other news, Booth recalled, Turgeon back to GR.

These players have to be tired of this carousel

Posted by VPalmer on 01/26/18 at 01:41 PM ET

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I’ve said for months…play more Mrazek, make sure you are 100% positive in your decision to either walk away or qualify.

Instead we wasted most of the season playing Howard. Major error.

My latest prediction…Kenny keeps them both. Why?

1) The window to trade Howard just slammed shut. He got injured. And now he’s playing like the ol’ Jimmy. Value is zero.

2) Meanwhile the value of Mrazek just went up. From close to zero. To something. But Kenny knows this has the potential to really backfire. What if Mrazek puts everything together and becomes a bonafide #1 starting goalie. I’m going to look like an idiot for giving him away for a 3rd round pick. Do I want that to be the final trade I make for this franchise? My legacy tarnished because I gave away a 25-year old that becomes a stud? The SAFE move is to do nothing. Keep them both. Let the next GM take the risk in qualifying Mrazek. I’ll say I kicked some tires, but the market for goalies right now isn’t really there. Nobody was buying. Maybe we’ll kick more tires at the draft. That takes the heat off me. Besides, finalizing this trade for Mike Green is getting a bit more complicated than I thought. Like I can only do one thing at a time here. Sheesh.

Bank on it.

Posted by fatsavage on 01/26/18 at 01:49 PM ET

MurrayChadwick's avatar

I hope they trade whichever goalie gives us the largest return.  If you trade Peter this year, you can always trade Howard next year and vice versa. The qualifying offer I believe is one season, unsure the wings would want to go beyond that anyway, so beyond next season, neither are signed anyway.

Posted by MurrayChadwick from Holland Hate Hyperbole Town (HHHT) on 01/26/18 at 01:51 PM ET

MoreShoot's avatar

Keep them both. Let the next GM take the risk in qualifying Mrazek.

If the next GM is in before the draft, ... Ok.

Nobody was buying.

Gibson just got hurt.

Posted by MoreShoot on 01/26/18 at 01:52 PM ET

WingedRider's avatar

Trade Howard, Keep Mrazek ..... Tiny bit to Piss off HSJ


Howard is not at the right point in his career to be #1 for a rebuilding team just like many other wings as of today

Posted by WingedRider from Saskatoon, SK on 01/26/18 at 02:18 PM ET

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But now imagine the situation where Howard is traded and Mrazek is not qualified and becomes a UFA and now Wings have no goalie and Mrazek knows he’s got KH by the balls.
This really is a no-win situation for Wings.
Posted by George0211 on 01/26/18 at 12:09 PM ET

With Mrazek, they are negotiating regardless….or,

They could sign someone like Halák, Raanta or Bernier for $2-3 million for 1-2 years and bring up Coreau and the Wings are pretty much in the same position as they would be with either Jimmy or Peter….except, $2-3 million saved. Risky, sure, but there are options.


Maybe, but there is a “sure lose” situation: and that would be failing to move one of them.
Posted by MoreShoot on 01/26/18 at 12:12 PM ET

This I totally agree with. Losing Peter for nothing at the end of the season would be egg on the face.

Its a re-build (for all intents and purposes), and 4 mil for Mrazek won’t kill us especially with Howie gone and a cheap back up.
Posted by ilovehomers on 01/26/18 at 12:14 PM ET

I think if Mrazek were to finish this season very strong, and Howard were traded so that his cap hit is gone, the Wings would probably be okay w/qualifying Petr at the $4.15M that he makes right now. That is actually a fairly modest sum for your starting goalie. I wouldn’t want that to be a lengthy deal, perhaps two years. Mrazek would still be an RFA if qualified, so the Wings still have a decent amount of control here.
Posted by Ilovekermit on 01/26/18 at 12:17 PM ET


But if they drop Howard’s contract, then $4M for Mrazek + <$1M for Coreau is much more workable from a cap perspective.
Posted by AZWinger on 01/26/18 at 12:35 PM ET

There seems to be a consensus occurring…..

Posted by howeandhowe from Seattle on 01/26/18 at 02:25 PM ET

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I’ve said for months…

That’s true.

Posted by howeandhowe from Seattle on 01/26/18 at 02:25 PM ET

PierreC's avatar

With a GM without a contract next season should we really trust him at the TDL ?

Why should he work his butt off for the Wings knowing he won’t be back ?

When should we replace KH ?  Now before this critical TDL ? 

After TDL ?  Whose going to take care of this upcoming critical draft ?

Think about that…you know your boss is going to fire you, where is your motivation to accomplish your work the right way ?

I fear for the Wings next weeks and months and how the future will shape, knowing how important the next draft will be.

Posted by PierreC from Montreal, Canada on 01/26/18 at 02:26 PM ET

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Trade Howard, Keep Mrazek ..... Tiny bit to Piss off HSJ

Funniest comment of the day so far….

Posted by howeandhowe from Seattle on 01/26/18 at 02:26 PM ET

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Posted by PierreC from Montreal, Canada on 01/26/18 at 01:26 PM ET

good questions. Anyone know the exact day KH’s contract expires?

Posted by howeandhowe from Seattle on 01/26/18 at 02:34 PM ET

TreKronor's avatar

With a GM without a contract next season should we really trust him at the TDL ?

Yes, because he’s still trying out for a shot at a contract with this team and 30 others.  Just like a UFA who you aren’t sure is going to sign with your team again.  Do you play him in game 82 when you need the 2 points to make the playoffs?  Of course you do. 

I don’t have a problem with Howard getting traded really.  But I do have a problem with giving Mrazek the #1 spot AND $4+++ a year in pay. 

“To whom much is given, much is expected.”

Posted by TreKronor on 01/26/18 at 02:45 PM ET

PierreC's avatar

i think right now, knowing we are not cup contender it wouldn’t hurt to give Mrazek the net..and hope for the best.

If we would be cup contender we would be on the market for a goalie.

¸
I played goal all my life and teach young goalies too, the mental aspect of the game weigh a lot on the goalie’s game.  Mrazek has some doubts, not as confident as he use to be, therefore, he is trying to do too much, instead of relying on his instinct and sound position. 

On the other side Howard, with less skills and talent than Mrazek, plays more sound, trust his positioning and move less for Nothing.

But remember Howard when he started with the Wing, he look exactly like Mrazek, trying to do too much for Nothing.

Posted by PierreC from Montreal, Canada on 01/26/18 at 03:49 PM ET

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the mental aspect of the game weigh a lot on the goalie’s game.  Mrazek has some doubts, not as confident as he use to be, therefore, he is trying to do too much, instead of relying on his instinct and sound position. 

Great advise. As a past goalie too, and a coach, I also spend time teaching a mental approach to the position as much as a talent approach. It’s the one position where it’s all up to you to get the job done. Being too hard on one’s self will crush any talent blessed player.

Posted by howeandhowe from Seattle on 01/26/18 at 03:56 PM ET

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I have a belief (for whatever reason) that if Howard is out of the picture, Mrazek will be a better more confident goalie.

Posted by VPalmer on 01/26/18 at 03:56 PM ET

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Mrazek has some doubts, not as confident as he use to be, therefore, he is trying to do too much, instead of relying on his instinct and sound position. 

What still surprises me is that KH made a goalie coach change basically at the request of Mrazek it seemed and Mrazek game regressed right after that change.

Posted by VPalmer on 01/26/18 at 03:58 PM ET

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if Howard is out of the picture, Mrazek will be a better more confident goalie.

Posted by VPalmer on 01/26/18 at 02:56 PM ET

Me too.

Posted by howeandhowe from Seattle on 01/26/18 at 04:33 PM ET

WingedRider's avatar

quote]I have a belief (for whatever reason) that if Howard is out of the picture, Mrazek will be a better more confident goalie.

Posted by VPalmer on 01/26/18 at 02:56 PM ET


I agree and I have posted that recently and in the past.  It just appears that Howard given #1 makes him a better goalie, when Mrazek is successful Howard tumbles. Mrazek has some influence on this incompatibility also.

They should be helping each other but have their minds on the wrong things, like maybe a team concept.

Was not at all surprised Howie played to be pulled vs the Hawks. Behind the scene, who knows.

Making playing status promises sounds like another Blashill move

Posted by WingedRider from Saskatoon, SK on 01/26/18 at 04:38 PM ET

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I have a belief (for whatever reason) that if Howard is out of the picture, Mrazek will be a better more confident goalie.

I think so as well.

Posted by Ilovekermit on 01/26/18 at 05:01 PM ET

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The Red Wings are rebuilding: fact.
You rebuild by being really really bad and picking high in the draft to get elite talent: fact.
Conclusion: we don’t need a Vezina candidate in net right now or at any time for the next 3-7 years.  Trade the goalie that will bring you the best return right now.  And right now that’s Howard.  Mrazek either rebuilds his value next year, in which case trade him too, or he bombs out and goes to the KHL.  Oh boohoo, throw McCollum or Coreau in net and go land another top pick.  When the team is ready to contend there will be a goalie available somewhere.

Posted by BarryKlob on 01/26/18 at 05:39 PM ET

ilovehomers's avatar

When the team is ready to contend there will be a goalie available somewhere.

Yeah, hopefully in the system already.

Posted by ilovehomers on 01/26/18 at 05:45 PM ET

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Trade the goalie that will bring you the best return right now.  And right now that’s Howard.

Not necessarily true. It is entirely possible nobody is interested in Howard while a team like Chicago might be more interested in Mrazek.

I agree though that they should trade whoever brings the biggest return.

I have no problems with the possibility of going into the offseason without an NHL goalie. There is always seems to be an experienced one that can be acquired on the cheap in free agency. It’s why the Wings haven’t been able to move Howard when they wanted to.

 

Posted by evileye on 01/26/18 at 06:08 PM ET

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Quick exercise just for fun. How many games have our pair of goalies stolen for the team this year? Move them both, use Coreau and a FA, let the prospects in the system “ripen” during the rebuild. There are teams that will overpay for a goalie like Howard, (bonus if it is Edmonton’s 1st because NHL rules state if they miss the playoffs that pick is automatically the 1st overall), and Mrazek should be attractive to a team setting up for a playoff run. Impractical? On the surface sure, but a) what difference does it really make if you finish 20th or 26th overall? aannnnd, this is just an exercise, to think outside the box , something the current GM seems incapable of doing. Look at Montreal in the past, acquire a 1st round, then make another trade to bolster the only other team that could prevent that pick from being 1st overall.

Posted by WingdGT on 01/27/18 at 01:58 PM ET

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The Malik Report is a destination for all things Red Wings-related. I offer biased, perhaps unprofessional-at-times and verbose coverage of my favorite team, their prospects and developmental affiliates. I've joined the Kukla's Korner family with five years of blogging under my belt, and I hope you'll find almost everything you need to follow your Red Wings at a place where all opinions are created equal and we're all friends, talking about hockey and the team we love to follow.