Red Wings Leave Mrazek Exposed for Expansion Draft

There were few surprises when the Red Wings’ expansion draft protection list was (eventually) released this morning, but the one that did come down was a big one, as the team opted to protect goalie Jimmy Howard rather than Petr Mrazek.

Available
Louis-Marc Aubry (F)
Mitch Callahan (F)
Colin Campbell (F)
Martin Frk (F)
Luke Glendening (F)
Darren Helm (F)
Drew Miller (F)
Tomas Nosek (F)
Riley Sheahan (F)
Ben Street (F)
Eric Tangradi (F)
Adam Almquist (D)
Jonathan Ericsson (D)
Niklas Kronwall (D)
Brian Lashoff (D)
Dylan McIlrath (D)
Xavier Ouellet (D)
Ryan Sproul (D)
Jared Coreau (G)
Petr Mrazek (G)
Edward Pasquale (G)
Jake Paterson (G)

Protected
Justin Abdelkader (F)
Andreas Athanasiou (F)
Anthony Mantha (F)
Frans Nielsen (F)
Gustav Nyquist (F)
Tomas Tatar (F)
Henrik Zetterberg (F)
Danny DeKeyser (D)
Mike Green (D)
Nick Jensen (D)
Jimmy Howard (G)

I’ve been ranting about this on Twitter all morning, so obviously I think this is the wrong move.  Let me touch on a couple other things first, though.

I half-expected Niklas Kronwall to be protected, even though his contract and injury history make him pretty much unclaimable, so seeing him available is good.  Similarly, the Red Wings could have left Andreas Athanasiou unprotected to protect Darren Helm but didn’t.  So there were some good choices here.

Let’s come back to the goalies, though.

Yesterday the Arizona Coyotes and Calgary Flames made waves with the Coyotes sending veteran goalie Mike Smith to the Flames for a pick and a prospect.  At the time, I wondered how Ken Holland couldn’t have gotten a deal done to send Jimmy Howard to Calgary instead, as the Wings certainly could have asked for less, with the cleared cap space being the real acquisition for Detroit.  After all, Smith is two years older than Howard, signed for more money, and had worse stats than Howard last season.

One response was that Smith is seen as more durable than Howard.  While that’s possible, it’d be somewhat ridiculous, as Howard missed significant time last season but Smith missed half the year in 2015-16.

Another idea was that Calgary GM Brad Treliving specifically wanted Smith, as he was with the Coyotes when they signed him.  That’s always possible, but I find it hard to believe that familiarity was worth the higher price paid for Smith than the Wings would have to have asked for Howard.  Either Treliving did a disservice to the Flames by overpaying for a goalie or Ken Holland did a disservice to the Red Wings by not negotiating hard enough to trade Howard.

I’m also focusing on Howard here because we know the Flames traded for Smith and Howard is more like Smith than Mrazek is.  We have no idea what kind of deal it would have taken to move Mrazek to Calgary but we can guess what kind of deal would have gotten Howard there.

If Howard gets dealt yesterday, Mrazek gets protected today, and concerns about losing a goalie for nothing are gone.

I think it could have been avoided, but regardless the reason, the Red Wings hit yesterday’s deadline with two NHL goalies on their roster and could only protect one.

With that out of the way, some thoughts on protecting Howard over Mrazek…

There’s a lot of chatter that neither will be selected because there are better goalies available.  If that’s the case, I would think you try to slide Howard through because at 33 and with a $5.29 million cap hit and coming off an injury-filled season, it’s less likely that he gets claimed, just in case.

If there’s a deal in place to “guide” the Golden Knights towards picking a certain player, it doesn’t matter who you have unprotected.  That said, Ken Holland said he wasn’t going to do that.  Kenny has lied to us before, though.

Ignoring both of those, the reason to leave Mrazek unprotected is because you don’t care if you lose him.  For a team in the Red Wings’ position, that’s a mistake.  This team needs to get younger and cheaper, even if that means worse (which I think it arguable).  Shed bad contracts and look to the future.  You do that by protecting Mrazek, not Howard.

Protecting Howard over Mrazek feels like sacrificing youth for another playoff push.  It feels like the tie goes to the veteran.  It feels like the “Red Wings Way” that led to the end of the playoff streak and no long playoff runs in nearly a decade.

Red Wings Rout Coyotes for 5-1 Win

The Detroit Red Wings earned a point in their ninth consecutive game Thursday night with a 5-1 victory over the visiting Arizona Coyotes.

Detroit netminder Jimmy Howard stopped 26 of the 27 shots he faced to earn the win – his fourth in a row – and five different players scored for the Red Wings.

The game could have been very different, as the Coyotes thought they had opened the scoring just 1:22 in. Klas Dahlbeck scored on a play that Detroit head coach Jeff Blashill challenged. Video review revealed that Connor Murphy was offside and the goal was wiped out.

Instead, it was Justin Abdelkader‘s goal with 7:30 left in the opening frame that got things started. Detroit rookie Dylan Larkin forced a turnover behind the Arizona net and chased it up the side boards, then worked the puck to Abdelkader in front of the net for a backhander past goalie Mike Smith.

Niklas Kronwall made it 2-0 with 42 seconds left in the period on a blast from the slot off a feed from Tomas Tatar. Just 18 seconds later, Gustav Nyquist bounced a shot from the neutral zone past Smith to give the Red Wings a 3-0 lead.

The period would end with Kyle Chipchura laying a hard hit on Brendan Smith. Smith replied with a slash to Chipchura, then the two fought.

Arizona got on the board at 5:52 of the middle frame. Jordan Martinook snapped a shot from the inside edge of the right faceoff circle through traffic and past Howard off a feed from behind the net by Steve Downie.

Danny DeKeyser replied for the Red Wings just 1:26 later with a blast from the blue line past Anders Lindback, who replaced Smith in the Coyotes’ net to start the second period.

Darren Helm would round out the game’s scoring with his first of the season. Lindback lost the puck behind the net and it came out to Helm, who put it in before Lindback could get into position.

Lindback finished the night with 26 saves on 28 shots while Smith stopped 13 of 16 chances he faced.

The Red Wings lost both Teemu Pulkkinen and Drew Miller to injury in the first period. Pulkkinen was boarded by Martin Hanzal and Miller took a shoulder to the head from Dahlbeck.

Red Wings Down Coyotes for Share of East Lead

The Detroit Red Wings earned a 3-1 win over the Arizona Coyotes on Saturday night, moving them into a tie for first place atop the Eastern Conference.

Detroit’s 71 points equal that of the Lightning following Tampa Bay’s loss to the Los Angeles Kings, though the Red Wings have two games in hand. The Montreal Canadiens have a game in hand on Detroit and sit two points back.

Riley Sheahan got the Red Wings on the board at 8:11 of the second period. Pavel Datsyuk got the puck and sent a centering pass to Sheahan for a blast past Arizona goalie Mike Smith on a Detroit power play.

The Coyotes had a prime chance to even things up with 8:22 left in the third period, as Martin Erat was hauled down on a shorthanded breakaway. Detroit netminder Petr Mrazek stayed with him on the ensuing penalty shot, though, and preserved the one-goal lead.

With three minutes remaining, Tomas Tatar made it 2-0 on a two-one-one with Darren Helm. Helm carried the puck into the Coyotes’ zone down the left wing after capitalizing on a mistake by Oliver Ekman-Larsson in the Detroit end, then centered it to Tatar to snap a shot past Smith.

Ekman-Larson would make amends and cut the Detroit lead in half with 1:54 remaining, putting a loose puck past Mrazek with Smith on the bench for an extra skater to make it 2-1.

Helm would once again get the best of Ekman-Larsson to wrap up the game’s scoring, racing past him at the Detroit blue line to get to a loose puck. Ekman-Larsson hauled him down in front of the empty Arizona net, which would have been an automatic goal had Helm not scored anyway with 1:16 remaining.

Mrazek finished the night with 22 saves on 23 shots. Smith stopped 23 of 25 chances.

Detroit went one-for-six on the power play to the Coyotes’ zero-for-five.

The Red Wings are now off until Wednesday when they visit the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Postgame: Red Wings @ Coyotes – 10/19

Quick post-game notes because I don’t want to spend any more time on it than I have to…

The Wings really played two games tonight. The first game, they did a pretty good job of controlling the flow of play and had a 3-0 lead. Then Phoenix goalie Mike Smith died on the ice and the second game started.

Exaggeration? Exactly.

Smith stayed in the game after staying on the ice just long enough to get Detroit’s third goal called back and that’s when the second game began. In the second game, the Red Wings were tentative and lazy and controlled nothing. The Coyotes crawled back to a 2-2 tie and then got another ridiculous stroke of luck when the puck bounced off an official and right to a Phoenix player to turn play the other way and score to make it 3-2.

So, yeah, Detroit’s third goal was called back by an official, Phoenix’s was assisted by one.

No, I don’t think the refs were out to get the Wings. It was just annoying.

Down a goal, Detroit absolutely collapsed, eventually allowing another. Then the perfect kicker: Smith throws the puck the length of the ice and scores into the empty net with 0.1 seconds remaining. That’s right, after flopping and getting a Detroit goal called back, which changed the entire momentum of the game, Smith scores a goal. Of course.

Coyotes Score Late to Down Red Wings

The Phoenix Coyotes scored twice late in the third period on Thursday night, lifting them to a 4-2 win over the host Detroit Red Wings.

Michael Stone sent a blast from the blue line off the inside of the goalpost to the right of Detroit netminder Jimmy Howard and into the back of the net to break a 2-2 tie with 4:47 remaining in regulation, just seconds after the expiration of a Coyotes’ power play.

With 51 seconds left, Antoine Vermette added an empty-net goal after Detroit forward Daniel Alfredsson failed to hold the puck in at the Phoenix blue line.

Derek Morris had gotten the Coyotes on the board just 2:21 into the game with a shot similar to Stone’s, a blast from the point off the same goalpost and in behind Howard.

Joakim Andersson tied things up at 5:07 of the second period, lifting the rebound of a Jakub Kindl floater towards the goal into the top of the net.

Just 53 seconds later, Jonathan Ericsson rifled a shot past Phoenix goalie Mike Smith to put Detroit out front.

Mikkel Boedker tied things back up at 7:04 of the period, outwaiting a sprawling Howard to lift the rebound of a Morris chance into the top of the net.

Howard finished the night with 34 saves on 37 shots against while Smith had 28 stops on 30 Detroit chances.

Red Wings Score Three Power Play Goals as Howard Blanks Coyotes

Jimmy Howard stopped every shot he faced Monday night and the Red Wings scored three times on the power play en route to a 4-0 Detroit win over the Phoenix Coyotes.

Howard made 34 saves in earning the win, just Detroit’s fourth in the last twelve games. Phoenix netminder Mike Smith made 19 saves on 22 shots against.

Johan Franzen opened the game’s scoring with his first of two goals on the night and the first of Detroit’s trio of goals with the extra man. Just 2:37 in, Franzen tipped a long shot by Damien Brunner past Smith from the slot.

With 36 seconds left in the period, Brunner scored a goal of his own on the power play. Henrik Zetterberg fed Brunner a cross-ice pass for a quick wrister from the inside edge of the left faceoff circle – Detroit’s second power play goal of the night.

Zetterberg notched his third assists on Valtteri Filppula‘s power play goal with 3:51 remaining in the second period. Zetterberg worked a give-and-go with Filppula to gain the Coyotes’ zone and carried the puck into the left circle before sending it back to Filppula at the bottom of the circle. Filppula’s low-angle shot slipped through Smith to make it 3-0.

Franzen rounded out the scoring with an empty-net goal with 1:22 remaining.

Detroit finished the night three-for-five on the power play while the Coyotes could not score with four tries on the man-advantage.


With the win, Howard tied Tim Cheveldae in career wins as a Red Wings netminder with 128.

Bertuzzi Scores in Shootout to Carry Red Wings Past Coyotes

Todd Bertuzzi scored the only goal of the shootout Thursday night, lifting the Detroit Red Wings to a 3-2 win over the Phoenix Coyotes.

The victory put the Red Wings back into first place in the Western Conference, one point ahead of both the St. Louis Blues and the Chicago Blackhawks.

Bertuzzi’s shootout goal came on the backhand on a spin-o-rama move at the edge of the crease.

Phoenix netminder Mike Smith stopped Pavel Datsyuk and Jiri Hudler on Detroit’s first two stops. Red Wings goalie Jimmy Howard stopped Shane Doan and Radim Vrbata while Gilbert Brule lost the puck on his chance.

Bertuzzi had given the Red Wings their only lead of the game with 8:47 left in the second period. Johan Franzen sent the puck from behind the net to Bertuzzi at the bottom of the left circle, where he fired a rocket of a shot past Phoenix netminder Mike Smith to put Detroit up 2-1.

Brule tied things back up just 2:55 later when he carried the puck into the Detroit zone on a three-on-two and drove to the net, putting a shot between Howard’s pads.

Raffi Torres opened the game’s scoring only 2:23 into the game, beating Detroit goalie Jimmy Howard on a wraparound chance.

Ian White‘s shot from top of the right circle made it 1-1 at 1:36 of the second period. It was the Red Wings’ 30th goal of the season from a defenseman.

Howard finished the night with 31 saves on 33 shots against. Smith made 33 stops on 35 shots.

Neither team scored a power play goal. Detroit had five tries with the extra attacker to Phoenix’s two, the second of which was in overtime.

The Red Wings’ next game is Saturday evening when they host the struggling Columbus Blue Jackets.


Mike Commodore and Jan Mursak were healthy scratches for the Red Wings.

Red Wings Reach Milestones in Shootout Win over Coyotes

Two members of the Detroit Red Wings reached career milestones with the team’s 3-2 shootout win over the Phoenix Coyotes on Thursday night.

Goaltender Jimmy Howard, who stopped Lauri Korpikoski on the final shot of the tiebreaker to preserve the win, picked up the 100th victory of his career. In 171 NHL games, he is now 100-47-16.

It was the 400th career win for Detroit head coach Mike Babcock. He started his career with 69 wins across two seasons for the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim and has picked up 331 more in six seasons with the Red Wings.

Additionally, Danny Cleary picked up his 200th career assist on Detroit’s third-period tying goal.

Henrik Zetterberg‘s shootout goal ended up being the difference in the game. In the fourth round Zetterberg used the “Forsberg Move” to beat Phoenix netminder Mike Smith, drawing Smith to his right before reaching back and poking the puck into the open side of the net with one hand on his stick.

Pavel Datsyuk also scored for the Red Wings, beating Smith glove side. Radim Vrbata faked out Jimmy Howard for Phoenix’s lone shootout tally. Smith made saves on both Jiri Hudler and Valtteri Filppula while Howard stopped Gilbert Brule, Oliver Ekman-Larsson, and Korpikoski.

The Coyotes had opened the game’s scoring at 9:41 of the first period, when Vrbata carried the puck from his own blue line into the Detroit end and snapped a shot from the top of the left faceoff circle past Howard.

Filppula blasted a shot from the high slot past Smith with 51 seconds left in the opening frame to tie things back up.

After a scoreless second period, Taylor Pyatt put Phoenix back in front at 3:02 of the third. Kyle Chipchura drove down the right wing and cut to the net, with Howard making the initial stop. Pyatt was right there to chip the rebound over Howard, though, making it 2-1.

The Red Wings rallied again with 9:57 left in regulation. Johan Franzen snuck to the far side of the crease all alone and Datsyuk hit him with a pass from the right wing boards for a tip past Smith.

Smith finished the night with 40 saves on 42 Detroit shots. Howard stopped 25 of the 27 chances he faced.

Neither team scored a power play goal on the night, each having two tries with the extra attacker.

The Red Wings are back in action when they host the Chicago Blackhawks on Saturday afternoon.


Pavel Datsyuk and Jan Mursak each returned from injury for the game. Datsyuk had missed the previous game with a sore groin while Mursak had yet to play this season, recovering from a broken leg… Todd Bertuzzi was the scratched forward for the Red Wings… Mike Commodore was the scratch on defense.

Red Wings Score Five in the First to Power Past Coyotes

The Detroit Red Wings scored five first period goals Thursday night, all the scoring they needed to defeat the Phoenix Coyotes, 5-2.

Todd Bertuzzi and Valtteri Filppula scored in the first 2:09 of the period to get the Red Wings out to the early lead. In the final 5:14 of the opening frame, Tomas Holmstrom, Darren Helm and Jiri Hudler added three more goals.

Bertuzzi opened the games scoring 1:16 into the game. He took a pass near the top of the right faceoff circle from Pavel Datsyuk and backhanded the puck into the slot, where he caught up with it and snapped a shot between the pads of Coyotes’ goalie Mike Smith.

Just 53 seconds later, Filppula – returning to the lineup after missing a game with a deep cut on his leg – was left all alone in front of the Phoenix net to take a pass from Henrik Zetterberg and put a wrister past Smith.

Holmstrom restarted the scoring on a power play with 5:14 left in the first. Ian White drove into the slot and threw a shot on net with Holmstrom there to knock in the rebound.

Helm made it 4-0 43 seconds later. He gave the puck to Chris Conner in the right circle and went to the net. Conner carried it down low and got it back to Helm to bang past Smith. Smith would be pulled for Jason Labarbera after the goal.

Hudler wrapped up the period’s scoring with 43 seconds left. After failing to score off a turnover in the Phoenix end, Filppula took the puck to the left wing boards and sent a pass across to Zetterberg in the slot. Zetterberg moved it on to Hudler in the right circle and he threw it into the open side of the net.

Radim Vrbata got the Coyotes on the board with 4:15 left in the second period, rifling a shot from the top of the right circle past Detroit netminder Jimmy Howard.

Martin Hanzal added another Phoenix goal with 8:28 left in the third when a Shane Doan power play shot deflected off of his pants on its way past Howard.

Both teams had five power play chances on the night and each scored a goal.

Howard finished the night with 30 saves on 32 shots. Smith stopped seven of the eleven shots he faced in 15:29 of play while Labarbera made 20 saves on 21 shots to close out the night for the Coyotes.

The Red Wings will next be in action on Saturday when they host the Winnipeg Jets.


Pavel Datsyuk was kept out of the third period as a precaution, as he reported feeling sore earlier in the day. He is expected to be available on Saturday… Cory Emmerton and Mike Commodore were the healthy scratches for the Red Wings.

Hasek, Red Wings Blank Stars

The Detroit Red Wings and goaltender Dominik Hasek earned a 3-0 shutout win over the Dallas Stars on Saturday afternoon. It was the 78th shutout of Hasek’s career.

Making the start as his turn in Detroit’s goalie rotation came up, Hasek made 22 saves in the effort. Chris Osgood was in net on Wednesday when the Red Wings posted a 4-1 win over the Stars.

The Red Wings, meanwhile, scored on their first shot of the game.

Just 3:44 in, Pavel Datsyuk and Dan Cleary forced a turnover behind the Dallas net. Cleary sent it out front as Brian Rafalski jumped up into the slot for a one-timer past goaltender Mike Smith.

The Stars would stay in the game until Cleary scored with 9:52 left in the third period, whipping a shot between Smith’s pads after Valtteri Filppula won a fight for the puck along the left wing boards.

Johan Franzen scored an empty net goal in the game’s closing seconds.

Smith stopped 20 of the 22 shots he faced from Detroit. Marty Turco had started against the Red Wings on Wednesday.

Detroit returns to the ice on Sunday in Chicago, facing a Blackhawks team they have yet to beat in four tries this season.