Jeff Blashill and the Red Wings will try to make it two straight wins when they take on the Carolina Hurricanes on Friday at 7 p.m. Ted Kulfan, Detroit News
Raleigh, N.C. — As Petr Mrazek stops pucks and looks like a goaltender who can help team now and in the future, his name becomes more circulated in trade rumors.
But with the Feb. 26 NHL trade deadline approaching, Mrazek insists the speculation doesn’t bother him.
“No, I don’t really care about that,” Mrazek said after Friday’s morning skate, prior to his start against Carolina. “What’s going to happen is going to happen. It’s nothing I can control. It’s another three or four weeks before that, and whatever happens, happens.
“I don’t worry about that.”
If it seems like Mrazek’s name has been mentioned in trade rumors for a year or two, well, it has.
Last summer Mrazek was left off the Red Wings’ protected list for the expansion draft, only to see the Vegas Golden Knights decline to select him.
Mrazek came into training camp motivated and humbled, and after another slow start to his season, has seemingly righted himself the last several weeks.
That could interest another team, or maybe inspire the Red Wings to keep him around this summer (the Red Wings can qualify Mrazek for $4 million or he becomes an unrestricted free agent).
Trades, or anything that could happen this summer, is simply part of the business in Mrazek’s estimation.
“Players know it can happen, it’s just hockey,” Mrazek said. “That’s how hockey is. That’s the life, and you just move forward.
“I’m happy here. Every game I play makes me happy. I don’t worry about anything about it.”
The issue before the Feb. 26 trade deadline is the fact that aren’t many teams in dire need of goaltending, or even depth in the position.
In a perfect world, the Red Wings likely wouldn’t mind trading either Mrazek or goaltender Jimmy Howard to accumulate assets or draft picks, and lessen the load in terms of the salary cap.
There’s a good chance, though, this issue will not be resolved this month, and likely go into the summer.
For now, Mrazek is simply enjoying the fact he’s getting more starts — coach Jeff Blashill said he’s going to play whoever the hot goalie is — and able to get into the rhythm a starting goaltender feels.
“It’s way better for sure when you play more games and you don’t play once or twice a month,” Mrazek said.
Blashill liked his team getting 44 shots on net in Wednesday’s victory over San Jose, but what equally made him happy was the fact 18 of those shots came from defensemen.
Blashill feels it’s an area the Red Wings can get better at, and is a key way the team can increase its offensive output.
“A lot of it has to come from that back end,” Blashill said of the offensive attack. “Everyone collapses in the offensive zone and when you get the puck up high you have to find a way to get the puck to the net.
“Our D-corps did a good job of that and was active.”
Blashill has talked about the need for the defense to be increasingly active since training camp, but the message has been pushed again in recent days.
“You look at San Jose, they don’t activate their defense as much, but they shoot a ton,” Blashill said. “That’s been one of the things, as you go through the ebb and flow as you go through the year, we’re re-emphasizing.”
With another game Saturday and having played late Wednesday, Blashill made Friday’s morning skate optional. About half of the roster was off the ice.
…Friday’s game begins a stretch of six of eight games away from Little Caesars Arena, as the Red Wings begin seeing the aftereffects of having so many home games in November and December.
Red Wings at Panthers
Faceoff: 7 p.m., Saturday, BB&T Center, Sunrise, Fla.
Outlook: The Panthers (21-22-6, 48 points) are keeping pace with the Red Wings in the middle of the Atlantic Division…Florida is 4-5-1 in its last 10 games, but have won two in a row…LW Jonathan Huberdeau (49 points) and C Vincent Trocheck (18 goals) lead offensively.