No prospect climbed higher, faster than Petr Mrazek in the Detroit Red Wings’ system this season.
Whether he was making headlines with show-stopping performances at the IIHF world junior championship at mid-season or in the spotlight with multiple 40-save outings while leading his Ottawa 67’s to the Ontario Hockey League’s Final Four, Mrazek asserted himself as organization’s top goaltending prospect with a tremendous campaign.
The 6-foot-1 184-pounder capped it off last week when he was added to the Czech Republic’s roster as a third goaltender for the IIHF world championship in Finland.
The 20-year-old finished the OHL playoffs with a 2.54 goals-against average and a .925 save percentage in 17 starts. Two of his nine victories were 44-save performances.
Praise has come from all corners for Mrazek’s fiery competitiveness and ferocious will to keep pucks out of the net, not to mention his mixture of solid fundamentals and athleticism.
“The bigger the games, the bigger he plays,” Red Wings director of player development Jiri Fischer told The Hockey News. “He loves the crowds, he loves the pressure. He never gives up on any saves, he never gives up on any pucks, and he has all the qualities to be really successful later on.”
Strangely, Mrazek’s tremendous season didn’t get him much recognition on The Hockey News’s Future Watch prospect ranking. He was seventh on the Red Wings’ prospect list and didn’t crack the league-wide top-100. He sits fourth on RWC’s mid-season list.
Mrazek, whose three-year entry-level contract slides to begin next season, will turn pro next season and has the inside track on an American Hockey League spot with the Grand Rapids Griffins, unless incumbent Thomas McCollum significantly outplays him in training camp.
McCollum, who also enjoyed a star-studded junior career, has done little to impress as a pro.
Others making big strides this season were forwards Gustav Nyquist (Grand Rapids, AHL) and Calle Jarnkrok (Brynas, Swedish Elite League), but both had previously established themselves at the top of the organization’s prospect list.
Forward Joakim Andersson (Grand Rapids, AHL) had a breakthrough year, as did winger Tomas Jurco (Saint John, QMJHL) and defencemen Xavier Ouellet (Blainville-Boisbriand, QMJHL), Ryan Sproul (Sault Ste. Marie, OHL), Mattias Backman (Linkoping, SEL) and Nick Jensen (St. Cloud State, NCAA), among others.
NOTES: Winger Tomas Tatar (Grand Rapids, AHL) finished the season with 10 goals and nine assists for 19 points in 19 games, leaving him tied for the lead in Griffins scoring with Nyquist and Jamie Johnson in a three-way tie with 58 points. Tatar, who also had a team-best 24 goals, is representing Slovakia at the IIHF world championship … Jarnkrok tied for fourth in SEL playoff scoring with 16 points in 16 games while helping Brynas win a championship with a 4-2 series win over Skelleftea in the final. He is now representing Sweden at the IIHF world championship and showing the Red Wings what he can do at the highest international level … Forward Louis-Marc Aubry (Grand Rapids, AHL) got a shout out from Red Wings general manager Ken Holland in a Detroit News article recently. Holland listed Aubry with top-10 prospects Brendan Smith, Riley Sheahan, Nyquist, Jarnkrok and Mrazek as players who need to help the Red Wings re-establish themselves as a contender … Aubry was one of eight prospects called up as Black Aces for the Red Wings’ brief playoff appearance. Andersson, Tatar, Smith, McCollum, forward Francis Pare and defencemen Brian Lashoff and Travis Ehrhardt were the others … Jurco is two wins away from winning a second straight QMJHL championship with Saint John and a trip to Shawinigan, Que., to defend the team’s 2011 Memorial Cup win.
Following is this week’s statistical report.
SKATERS: REGULAR-SEASON REPORT
|Coetzee, Willie||Grand Rapids||PRO||AHL||61||11||11||22||25||-6||137|
|Ferraro, Landon||Grand Rapids||PRO||AHL||56||9||11||20||47||-6||87|
|Nyquist, Gustav||Grand Rapids||PRO||AHL||56||22||36||58||18||+7||152|
|Tatar, Tomas||Grand Rapids||PRO||AHL||76||24||34||58||45||+4||224|
|Andersson, Joakim||Grand Rapids||PRO||AHL||73||21||30||51||34||+5||145|
|Aubry, Louis-Marc||Grand Rapids||PRO||AHL||62||5||11||16||39||-6||91|
|Callahan, Mitchell||Grand Rapids||PRO||AHL||48||6||3||9||103||-3||58|
|Ehrhardt, Travis||Grand Rapids||PRO||AHL||41||1||6||7||25||+6||48|
|Lashoff, Brian||Grand Rapids||PRO||AHL||76||8||11||19||41||-9||107|
|Pare, Francis||Grand Rapids||PRO||AHL||75||16||36||52||18||-5||184|
|Parkes, Trevor||Grand Rapids||PRO||AHL||44||2||6||8||23||0||66|
|Raedeke, Brent||Grand Rapids||PRO||AHL||64||11||10||21||33||+1||108|
|Smith, Brendan||Grand Rapids||PRO||AHL||57||10||24||34||90||+2||113|
|Pyett, Logan||Grand Rapids||PRO||AHL||73||2||25||27||54||-1||163|
|Nestrasil, Andrej||Grand Rapids||PRO||AHL||25||3||1||4||6||-4||24|
|Fournier, Gleason||Grand Rapids||PRO||AHL||13||1||3||4||14||0||4|
|Sheahan, Riley||Grand Rapids||PRO||AHL||7||1||1||2||0||-2||6|
|Almquist, Adam||Grand Rapids||PRO||AHL||3||0||0||0||0||-1||1|
|Quine, Alan||Grand Rapids||PRO||AHL||3||0||1||1||0||+1||0|
|Nedomlel, Richard||Swift Current||JR||WHL||72||10||36||46||83||-35||N/A|
|Sproul, Ryan||Sault Ste. Marie||JR||OHL||61||23||31||54||53||+16||N/A|
|Jurco, Tomas||Saint John||JR||QMJHL||48||30||38||68||37||+46||186|
|Jensen, Nick||St. Cloud State||COL||NCAA||39||6||26||32||4||+14||68|
|Nicastro, Max||Boston U.||COL||NCAA||27||3||6||9||32||-2||41|
|Sheahan, Riley||Notre Dame||COL||NCAA||37||9||16||25||24||0||118|
|Marchenko, Alexey||CSKA Moscow||EUR||KHL||6||0||0||0||2||-4||3|
|Marchenko, Alexey||CSKA Moscow||EUR-JR||MHL||5||2||4||6||10||+2||7|
GOALIES: REGULAR SEASON REPORT
|Pearce, Jordan||Grand Rapids||AHL||19||3||8||1||1||3.68||.871|
|McCollum, Thomas||Grand Rapids||AHL||28||11||16||0||0||3.49||.891|
SKATERS: PLAYOFF REPORT
|Marchenko, Alexey||CSKA Moscow||EUR||KHL||5||0||0||0||4||-1||8|
|Marchenko, Alexey||Krasnaja Armia||EUR-JR||MHL||19||4||14||18||18||0||44|
|Jurco, Tomas||Saint John||JR||QMJHL||14||10||12||22||10||+16||55|
GOALIES: PLAYOFF REPORT