The Nashville Predators have made a move within the organization this morning. They will be sending down Magnus Hellberg and calling up Marek Mazanec.
This is Mazanec’s first ever NHL call up in his first professional season of North American hockey. To this point with the Ads he has won five games in five starts while posting a solid 1.97 GAA and a .933 SV%.
Mazanec has yet to look flustered as an Admiral. This call up comes at a stretch for the Predators where they are playing seven-straight games on the road. In Pekka Rinne’s absence, the netminder of choice has been Carter Hutton the previous four games.
Magnus Hellberg’s first taste of the NHL was fairly brief. He made his first NHL appearance in relief of Hutton in a 6-1 defeat to the St. Louis Blues. In 12:12 of ice time Hellberg faced four shots and let in a power-play goal by Alex Pietrangelo. After that? He’s been sitting on the bench.
While you can’t deny that practicing with the Predators has its benefits in terms of learning the NHL game… you also can’t deny that starting and playing games between the pipes on a regular basis is what will keep a goalie razor sharp. That to me is what this move says. Give Mazanec a look at the NHL level. Possibly give him some action to see how he handles the pace of the NHL. Meanwhile, keep Hellberg from gathering and rust by allowing him to start regularly with the Ads.
These two goalies have been marked as a 1a/1b goaltending duo right out of camp. It looks as clear as day that the Nashville Predators feel precisely the same way.
Thoughts on the switch? Good call? Bad call? Would you have liked to see Magnus Hellberg play more with the Predators? How do you feel Mazanec will fair in his first rodeo with the NHL?