Carter Mazur’s combination of scoring and grit could allow him to join the Detroit Red Wings sooner than your typical third-round pick.
“Is he ready to play (with the Red Wings) next year? Maybe. Maybe not,” said general manager Yzerman. “But he looks like a good prospect. He looks like an NHL player. He skates well, he has good hands, he knows where to go on the ice.
“He’s going to be part of our team, and I think he’s going to be a very good player for us sooner rather than later. Is it September, October? I’m not sure.”
Mazur, a Jackson native, was among 22 players named Thursday to the U.S. national team for the May 12-28 world championship in Tampere, Finland, and Riga, Latvia.
Mazur had a strong second season in Denver, leading the team with 22 goals, tied for fifth in the NCAA, and totaling 37 points in 40 games.
After signing an entry-level three-year contract which begins next season, he joined the Grand Rapids Griffins on an amateur trial deal and impressed in just six games with three goals and three assists.
Mazur was among three Red Wings prospects who helped Denver win the NCAA championship in 2022 (along with defensemen Antti Toumisto and Shai Buium), when he had 14 goals and 38 points in 41 games.
Pioneers coach David Carle said Mazur did well to replicate his debut season.
“We lost a lot of people in last year’s squad and Carter and a few other forwards are now starting to get the attention of other coaches, players, trying to shut them down,” Carle said. “I think he generally handled that challenge very well.”
Mazur learned to score in different spots on the ice.
“Most of his first-year goals were probably within five feet of the blue paint,” Carle said. “Now he finds a way to score goals 15-20 feet from the blue paint. Added shooting element, has a bit more range to be dangerous as a goalscorer.
“He has a bit more confidence in his shot because of the improvement in it.”
His right-handed shot adds value to an organization full of left-handed shooters.
Mazur (6-0, 175) is playing with an advantage, and that helps him as he levels up.
“I think he can play the game in different ways because of the physical element he can add,” Carle said. “He’s not afraid to go inside. It’s a big part of his game, it makes him more versatile and makes him more dangerous in his ability to impact the game.”
The Red Wings haven’t received much in recent seasons from players drafted after the second round. The most recent mid-round pick to make an impact was fourth-rounder Andreas Athanasiou, who was traded in 2020.
Mazur, selected 70th in 2021, could end up being a good value pick.
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