The Oakland Press’s Pat Caputo suggests that the Red Wings and their fans have “nothing to celebrate” about trading Petr Mrazek away for two conditional picks. If I may be blunt, I don’t believe that anyone was celebrating a deal that essentially got rid of a goaltender for a very middling return:
The glass half-full theory is at least the Red Wings’ vets are character players, who could help with the development of younger players such as recent first-round picks Svechnikov, quickly-improving defenseman Dennis Cholowski and power forward Michael Rasmussen.
If anybody tells you, this is ideal and inevitable, they are not being truthful.
Holland and the Red Wings made their own bed with many mistakes. It’s not as simple as it catching up to all teams in the parity-driven NHL.
Trades like the one of Mrazek are not something to celebrate. But being on the road to nowhere isn’t, either.
It’s about time the Red Wings pull their head out of the sand and understand the only path out is the rocky one.
If the Red Wings had kept going in the same direction, they were going to be flying off a cliff.
Caputo continues, examining the Wings’ possible draft targets and duly noting that the Wings’ goaltending prospects are not extraordinary (though all of Keith Petruzzelli, Filip Larsson, Joren van Pottelberghe, Matej Machovsky, Kaden Fulcher and Chase Perry are still developing).
As for the direction of the team, I know that some Wings fans feel that Detroit went off a cliff a long time ago. No matter where the Wings find themselves today, I definitely believe that they have to climb the standings via a couple years’ worth of affording their top prospects bigger roles on the team, even if that involves some pain as the youngsters learn how to play at the NHL level.
While we’re at it, USA Today’s Kevin Allen has filed a set of trade “rationales,” and Allen duly notes that the Red Wings were not going to qualify Mrazek–so it could be argued that the Wings maximized their return on a player Ken Holland readily admitted that the team would not re-sign:
Feb. 19: Red Wings trade Petr Mrazek to Flyers for a conditional fourth-round pick in 2018 and conditional third-round pick in 2019
Rationale: The Flyers are third in the Metropolitan Division, now with both of their goalies injured. They were desperate for an NHL-caliber netminder, and Mrazek, while inconsistent, has flashed high-end potential. Mrazek ($4 million) is set to be a restricted free agent this offseason; the Red Wings got something for an asset they might’ve lost for nothing.