Marek Mazanec’s coming out party was made official today.
Mazanec, who posted a 5-4-1 record with a 2.00 goals-against average, .932 save percentage and two shutouts in 11 November appearances, was named NHL Rookie of the Month.
Mazanec got his first NHL win on Nov. 16, holding the fort during a 7-2 drubbing of Chicago. The win was his first in a stretch of five in six starts. However, Mazanec started out the month in Milwaukee, winning his two starts there while allowing just two goals in each contest. Overall the 22-year-old Czech, who could barely grow out his Movember mustash, was 5-0-0 with the Admirals, with a sparkling 1.97 GAA. and .933 SP.
Mazanec beat out the likes of stellar rookies Chris Kreider, Tomas Hertl, Tyler Toffoli, Nathan MacKinnon and Torey Krug for the honor. Plenty of NHL scribes around the league are starting to take notice of the rookie netminder’s fine play. Overall its been a quite a start to a North American professional life for the 6’4″ sixth-round draft pick, who has become the next in line of Nashville’s talented, and tall, European goaltenders.
But perhaps Mazanec’s efforts shouldn’t be much of a suprise. Before the season Admirals defenseman Scott Ford and coach Dean Evason each saw the impressive talents of Mazanec firsthand out of training camp and expected great things:
“(Mazanec) is going to push Magnus (Hellberg) right to the limit,” Ford said. “I think it’s going to be a great tandem. Kind of doubleheaded monster where we have confidence in both guys. They’re going to push each other to be the best.”
“With Mazanec, the young Czech, we feel that we have two number one goalies as opposed to a one and a two,” Evason said. “In both of them we have very young, but talented prospects.”
So Roundtable . . . What do you think of Marek Mazanec’s impressive start? Do you think his AHL days are numbered? How will Nashville handle their goaltending situation when Pekka Rinne returns? Can Hellberg again move above him in the pecking order?