Wings' rookie goalie Coreau changes things
Many have wondered how the upcoming expansion draft in June to stock the Las Vegas franchise, which will begin play next season, would affect the Red Wings’ goaltending.
Each team can only protect one goalie, and since each existing team can only lose one player, there would be a good chance that Jimmy Howard or Petr Mrazek would be taken by Las Vegas.
Usually it would be an easy call on who would be left unprotected. Howard is 32 and still has two years left on a contract that averages over $5 million per season, while Mrazek is 24 and signed a two-year deal worth a total of $8 million this past summer. All things being equal, you protect Mrazek and leave Howard exposed.
But all things are not equal.
After showing periods of brilliance, Mrazek has been inconsistent since last February. Howard was playing outstanding before being sidelined by a groin injury in December. So it was not so easy of a choice.
Then there’s the emergence of Jared Coreau, who was called up from Grand Rapids of the AHL after Howard’s injury. Coreau was 5-1-1 and already had two shutouts. He had also shown inconsistency, but he is a 25-year-old rookie goaltender and there have been far more positives than negatives.
Now the Wings still have to make a decision on Howard and Mrazek but now, with Coreau, they will appear to still have two quality goalies, no matter what they decide.
Personally, I think Coreau’s presence tilts the scales towards leaving Howard exposed. The Red Wings free up $5.4 million of cap space with a 32-year-old exiting and being left with a 24-year-old and a 25-year-old between the pipes.
Sounds good to me.