|In 11 NHL games, Petr Mrazek has allowed just 17 goals, posting a 1.74 GAA with a .927 save percentage. (Photo by Getty Images) |
DETROIT – There’s no one Petr Mrazek would rather have between the pipes than Petr Mrazek.
“He wants to be the guy,” said Jiri Fischer, Detroit’s director of player development. “I had a chance to coach with the (Czech) World Junior team. He was our best player. He wanted to be in every pressure situation. He wanted to stick it to the other team more than anyone else on our roster.”
Mrazek, who signed a three-year entry-level contract with Detroit in October 2011, was 3-3 with one shutout at the 2012 World Junior Championship, earning a 2.49 goals against average and 0.928 save percentage, which included a 52-save effort in a 5-2 win over the USA.
“During that World Juniors, nobody talked about the Czech Republic team,” Fischer said. “We had a young defense, nobody talked about the forwards. Everybody talked about Petr Mrazek. He put so much pressure on his performance to dominate the tournament – which he ended up doing – and by doing that, he took all the pressure off our team.
“All the rest of the team could focus on playing their game and not being nit-picked in the media. What he did there and ever since then, he just wants to be in the big games, he wants to play against the best goaltenders. He wants to show everyone that he can be better than everyone else.”
Mrazek joined the Grand Rapids Griffins for the 2012-13 season and posted a 23-16-2 record with one shutout in 42 games. The goaltender also got his first taste of the NHL that year, earning a 1-1 record with a 2.09 goals against average and .922 save percentage in two appearances with the Red Wings.
Mrazek was in net for all 24 of the Griffins’ AHL playoff games that spring, compiling a 15-9 record with four shutouts to help Grand Rapids win the Calder Cup championship.
“The practice level when you have Petr around is always better,” Fischer said. “When he turned pro, the challenge he posted for Tommy McCollum of every day fighting for the No. 1 spot, since then, Tommy McCollum's career has taken off the way everybody was hoping for and we believed would. His presence has been great for everyone.”
Mrazek was named to the AHL Second All-Star Team last season, finishing second in the AHL in goals against average (2.10) and third in save percentage (.924) through 32 regular-season games. The 22-year-old earned a 22-9-1 record in his second season with the Griffins, while also seeing action in nine games with Detroit. Mrazek earned a 2-4-0 record with the Red Wings, with a 1.74 GAA and a .927 save percentage. His wins were shutouts at Edmonton (Nov. 2) and at St. Louis (Apr. 13).