Report: Mrazek's attitude issues led to Howard's protection

by
Raj Mehta / USA Today Sports

One of the most noticeable names left unprotected for expansion selection on Sunday was Detroit Red Wings goalie Petr Mrazek, but the reasoning behind it may not be what you expected.

Many NHL pundits expected the Wings to leave the less desirable 33-year-old Jimmy Howard exposed, so when it was Mrazek's name left unprotected, those same experts began to speculate whether Detroit general manager Ken Holland had a side deal in place with Vegas to ensure Mrazek stayed in red and white.

However, that appears to not be the case.

"We had a tough year. We're trying to build our team," Holland said, according to Ansar Khan of MLive.com. "I'm not spending any future assets to hang onto players."

Related: Expansion Draft: A list of all players available to Vegas

If no side deal exists to protect Mrazek from becoming a Knight, then why is Holland so dead set on making his former No. 1 available?

Mrazek did have a lackluster season in 2016-17 - the 25-year-old posted an 18-21-9 record to go along with a 3.04 GAA and .901 save percentage - but, as Khan points out, the former fifth-round pick could be heading elsewhere due to poor behavior and a cocky approach.

As such, a GAA above 3.00 and a save percentage barely above .900 apparently isn't enough to make up for a sour attitude.

According to Khan, Mrazek has always carried a "swagger and air of confidence" with him, something that initially attracted the Wings. But if head coach Jeff Blashill's benching of Mrazek in favor of rookie Jared Coreau at the Centennial Classic is any indication, the Czech native has seemingly worn out his welcome in Motown.