For a rare time in the Detroit Red Wings history, the National Hockey League trade deadline frenzy was a different one, as the team and its general manager Ken Holland found themselves in the new position of sellers, focused on the future instead of another playoff run in Hockey Town.
The Red Wings made some significant moves, notably dealing backup netminder Petr Mrazek to the Philadelphia Flyers in return for two conditional draft picks. They also made a splash on the trade deadline, making the unexpected trade of Tomas Tatar, who headed to the Vegas Golden Knights for a 2018 first-round, 2019 second-round and 2021 third-round draft pick. Everyone expected defenseman and pending free agent Mike Green to be on the move, but an injury prevented a trade from taking place.
The deadline might have been focused on the future, looking to load up on prospects and picks, but Detroit might be looking to the past to make another move in the summer. According to Helene St. James of the Detroit Free Press, Holland could be looking to bring back one of his former players, who was just recently traded, during the free agency period.
St. James reports that the Wings are not completely confident in young goalie prospect Jared Coreau, who has taken over for Mzarek since the trade and has become the backup for Jimmy Howard, who remains under contract for next season. The Detroit Free Press reporter believes the Wings will look to add a netminder during the free-agent season, and their eyes might be peeled on Philadelphia.
"My sense is the organization is not sold on Coreau as a viable NHL backup, though that could change if he gets an opportunity to play some games down the stretch. More likely, the Wings look to add someone via free agency. The interesting aspect is, the free agent market likely will include Petr Mrazek. The Philadelphia Flyers have both Brian Elliott and Michal Neuvirth under contract through next season. Are they going to qualify Mrazek at $4 million? Seems doubtful, in which case Mrazek becomes an unrestricted free agent."
Holland could choose to bring back Mrazek to Detroit this summer. Mrazek had his best season two years ago, going 27-16-6 with a 2.33 GAA and a .921 save percentage. He’s 4-6 in 10 career playoff starts with a 1.88 GAA and a .931 save percentage, and might be interested in going back to the club who selected him in the fifth round, 141st overall, in the 2010 NHL Entry Draft.
The Wings GM also managed to move a big contract by trading Tatar to Vegas, which gives him more flexibility to sign the younger pieces that will be a huge part of the Red Wings' future. Signing Mrazek, a player that he knows and can trust, could allow him to focus on the rest of the roster to build a true contender, once again, in Detroit.
Who would like to see Mrazek sport a Red Wings jersey once again? Or would you prefer Holland gave Coreau a better shot at the backup netminder position?