Hockeytown’s new workhorses

Red Wings Larkin and Mrazek key to team’s continued success

By James Paxson, Sports Editor

The Detroit Red Wings have always been known as one of the best teams in the National Hockey

League (NHL). Founded in 1926 and commonly referred to Hockey town the Red Wings have a

rich history of being an elite franchise with 24 consecutive playoff appearances, capturing 11

Stanley Cups Championships and producing hall of fame athletes such as Steve Yzerman,

Nicklas Lidstrom and Gordie Howe.

Petr Mrazek making a glove save against the Pittsburgh Penguins (image from thehockeynews.com)

Petr Mrazek making a glove save against the Pittsburgh Penguins (image from thehockeynews.com)

Over the past few seasons, the franchise has been experiencing a youth movement. An influx in

players from the team’s minor league affiliate, the Grand Rapids Griffins have been being called

up to fill the roles on the roster.

The team is currently in fourth place in the Atlantic Division with a record of 31-20-10 with less

than two months left in the season. This is largely in part to the efforts of some key young

players on the team combined with veteran presence. Players such as Dylan Larkin and

goaltender Petr Mrazek have made an impact in the lineup this season.

Nineteen year old Larkin was the 15th pick of the first round by the Red Wings in the 2014 NHL

Draft. He played one season for the University of Michigan in 2014-15 before deciding to go

pro. Making an impact during training camp in September, the Red Wings added him to their 20-

man roster at the beginning of the 2015 season. He was put on the first line alongside team

captain Henrik Zetterberg and scored a goal in his first NHL game. Larkin currently has 19 goals

(team leading) and 20 assists (third behind Zetterberg and Pavel Datysuk), arguably being one of

the Red Wings best players this season.

Larkin blazes by Steve Stamkos. (Image from mlive.com)

Larkin blazes by Steve Stamkos. (Image from mlive.com)

“I don’t think my age really affected me that much, I was fully prepared when I was drafted and

I took that confidence to the NHL,” said Larkin on ABC’s Sport Cave.

Larkin’s confidence and poise has helped the team offensively and has been instrumental in

keeping the team’s playoff hopes alive.

Larkin is not the only stand-out player the Red Wings have had this season. Twenty-four year

old goalie Petr Mrazek has now taken over as the primary goalie ahead of veteran Jimmy

Howard with a record of 23-11,four shutouts and a goals against average of 2.07 (ranked 2nd in

the league) this season. Jimmy Howard has a record of 8-9 and has been down to very minimal

playing time based on Mrazek’s success between the pipes.

“Petr Mrazek has been bailing us out of jams all season and we will continue you to use him all

season,” said Red Wings Head Coach Blashill in an FSN post-game press conference.

With skaters like Larkin and goaltending by Mrazek the Wings have a good chance to go far in

the NHL playoffs this season.