When the Detroit Red Wings selected Petr Mrazek in the fifth round of the 2010 Entry Draft, the team was just trying to get deeper in the goaltending prospect pool.
Fast forward two-and-a-half years and the Red Wings have a fist-pumping prodigy in goal: Mrazek is currently the hottest goaltender in the AHL.
When the Red Wings selected Mrazek in the 2010 draft, he had just come off a mediocre season in which he posted a 12-9-1 record with a .905 save percentage and a 3.00 GAA for the Ottawa 67's.
His stats since then (displayed here) have been off the charts (via hockeydb.com).
At the start of this hockey season, the Red Wings' most highly valued prospect was probably defenseman Brendan Smith.
Mrazek wasn't even on the AHL roster. He was playing down with the Toledo Walleye of the ECHL.
He didn't last long there, and it wasn't because he wasn't playing well.
The Grand Rapids Griffins held a 2-4-1-1 record before Mrazek's arrival, sitting just a couple points up from dead last in the Western Conference.
Mrazek was called up on October 29, and, as his statistics show above, he has not looked back since.
What his personal statistics won't show, however, is that the Griffins are now in first place in the Midwest Division. They are a point up on the Chicago Wolves, though the Wolves have a game in hand on the Griffins.
Mrazek is showing that his performance at the World Junior Championships was no fluke and that he is ready to take substantial steps this season to push for a future NHL position.
Although the AHL is obviously a lower-skilled league compared to the NHL, the NHL's lack of a regular season means that the AHL is now filled with players that would normally be playing in the NHL.
This makes Mrazek's 4-0 start (giving up just seven goals on 117 shots) even more relevant to discussions about him playing in the NHL in the future.
Due to the Red Wings being short on competent future NHL talent at the goalie position, Mrazek is likely the top prospect in the Red Wings' organization. The Red Wings must hold on to his contract at all costs.
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