Detroit Red Wings should try their luck on Strauss Mann

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Watching the Detroit Red Wings last season was tough, to say the least. After posting the worst record of the salary cap era (17-49-5), their goalkeeper was partly to blame. Jimmy Howard had a worst career season (2-23-2), while Jonathan Bernier was left to pick up the coins.
The Red Wings have a few goalie hopes in their system: Jan Bednar (2020, 4th round), Keith Petruzzelli (2017, 3rd round) and Filip Larsson (2016, 6th round), but there is no number. a clear one.

Current situation of the goalkeeper

The organization does not have a signed goalkeeper after the 2021-2022 season. Bernier will become a free agent after 2020-2021 and Thomas Greiss’s newly signed contract, worth an average of $ 3.6 million annually, is on the rise after 2021-2022. There is no guarantee that either will receive new contracts.

As savvy GM, Steve Yzerman could re-sign them for short-term extensions without a raise. If that would stabilize the Guardians for now, it wouldn’t do much for the future, other than give their prospects time to develop.

Red Wings general manager Steve Yzerman should make goaltenders a priority. (AP Photo / Carlos Osorio)

There is a goaltender in the NCAA who has a history of winning wherever he goes that could help the Red Wings in the short term. Yzerman should consider signing Strauss Mann in his quest to stabilize the situation for his team’s goalkeepers.

Strauss man

If I asked most people to describe Mann, they would probably say “Who?” However, the 22-year-old University of Michigan’s teammates and coaches would say something different. They would describe him as prepared, a leader and motivated. “He’s definitely gone under the radar,” Wolverines head coach Mel Pearson said. “But that’s probably because he didn’t take the usual junior path where he is today.”

Instead of playing junior hockey in the Canadian Hockey League, Mann played under-scout hockey in high school and joined the Fargo Force of the United States Hockey League as a walk-on after having attended an open camp trial prior to the 2017-2018 season. . He beat out drafted goalie hopes of Fargo and their returning goaltender Ryan Bischel (Notre Dame) for the starting spot and stopped the Force as Clark Cup champion.

Cary Eades, former head coach and general manager of Fargo, said of Mann: “He’s phenomenal and has stolen a few games outright from us, making our squad an undrafted player a year later, leading us to a Clark Cup is a true example of who Strauss Mann is. . ”

Strauss’s story

Despite producing stunning numbers at the junior level, with a 1.84 goals against average (GAA) and save percentage of .941 (SV%) in 51 games (2014-17) split between Brunswick Prep School and Mid-Fairfield 18UAAA over three seasons, and given his championship season at Fargo – 48 games played (playoffs included), 1.97 GAA and 0.932 SV% – he has remained largely unknown.

Mann got a scholarship to the University of Michigan which first became aware of him when he was in prep school on the East Coast, but he wanted to see what he could accomplish at the junior level. 1. “Once he got to Fargo, that’s when we really knew we had to follow him,” said Pearson. However, attending Kent Business School and getting used to a new routine probably led to a few bumps in his first season when he posted a 6-8-4 record.

For Mann, having a routine is everything. He started a strict diet in high school and paired it with continuous workouts in the offseason to keep him in tune. Mann’s play led to a strong start to the Wolverines’ 2020-21 season, winning four of six games.

“He reminds me of, dare I say Marty Turco, how calm he was in the net and the way he approached the game,” said Pearson. “Completely different personality away from the rink.” Mann is slightly undersized compared to today’s typical goaltender at six feet tall and 174 pounds. I think that forced him to develop other areas of his game. As Pearson noted, “He’s a student of the game who studies shooters from other teams and the best power play units… He is one of our top athletes and an excellent skater with a high hockey IQ.

Marty Turco (photo de Dean Bicknell / Calgary Herald)

Mann’s confidence helped U of M’s rookie roster flourish Detroit Free Press, 13/11/2020). In the team’s first four games, three of their top five scorers are rookies: Thomas Bordelou (San Jose Sharks, 1st round 2020) with seven points; Kent Johnson (2021 draft-eligible) with eight points; and Matthew Benniers (2021 draft-eligible) with five points.

Qualities of a Captain

Mann’s discipline and attention to detail in practice are second to none. « We have a saying here in Michigan, “says Pearson,” When the time to play is right, the time to prepare is long gone. Mann is a leader on and off the ice; his teammates unanimously voted him the first goalkeeper captain in 78 years at M University. Whether it’s staying late after practice to work with players on their shot or he brings rookies home after a game, Mann is, according to Pearson, “the total package,” (from “Teammates Grateful for Strauss Mann,” Le Michigan Daily, 24/11/2020).

When I asked Eades if he thought Mann’s skill would translate into the NHL, he said, “He’s going to have to prove himself. I know it’s the American League or the East Coast League that he’ll have to start, but he’s proven himself wrong every step of the way, including myself. When I shook his hand for the first time, I thought to myself, who is this child?

Strauss Mann Michigan Wolverines
Strauss Mann, Michigan Wolverines (University of Michigan Track and Field Department)

Yzerman and Kris Draper should give Mann a long look. Yzerman is known for his bold moves, and he’s not afraid to pull the trigger when the time is right. With the Tampa Bay Lightning, he found a lot of talent outside of the first and second rounds of the draft, and he’s had plenty of free agents this offseason.

Yzerman surrounded himself with a stick with sharp eyes. Signing a college free agent would cost base salary of $ 832,000, which is next to nothing in the NHL. It’s a long shot for any player to be in the NHL, let alone one who took Mann’s path, but he could be a diamond in the rough. Sign one of the NCAA’s top goalies for next to nothing? It could be a deal that pays off.



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