Detroit Red Wings prospect, Carter Mazur, is right on track

Let's dive into Detroit Red Wings prospect Carter Mazur and his recent season witht he Grand Rapids Griffins.
2022 NCAA Division I Men's Ice Hockey Championship
2022 NCAA Division I Men's Ice Hockey Championship / Richard T Gagnon/GettyImages

Carter Mazur is an intriguing prospect whom I’ve grown to appreciate since he joined the Denver Pioneers in the 2022-23 season. As a sophomore, Mazur went on to become an alternate captain–an impressive feat given the state of the Denver Pioneers roster.

It was a reflection of Mazur’s tenacity, endless motor, and competitive spirit. A great model for other players to follow.

The essential glue of the team, Mazur is a player management, teammates, and coaches dream of when crafting the perfect Stanley Cup team.

My first memory of Mazur consisted of him chasing after a puck in the offensive zone along the boards. After getting hammered into the boards, he jumped right back up. Reminiscent of a cartoon where little birdies circled his head, he looked a bit dazed. 

Although a bit out of it, Mazur continued playing hard the rest of the game.

Since joining the Grand Rapids Griffins, Mazur has continued to bring his game to the next level.

Battling just as hard for plays, but improving his puck skills, continuing to build a foundation for a budding career.

It was clear from Mazur's first game under Grand Rapids Griffins head coach Dan Watson that he was a favorite. Among his teammates and fans, the feeling was (and continues to be mutual).

I think having Mazur on a line with a player like Jonatan Berggren emboldens the young Swede a bit. Maybe Berggren stands just a bit taller, gives a poke or 2 more knowing Mazur will back him up. The duo were a formidable pair throughout the season and in the playoffs. They play off of each other well with some fancy plays that seem like a video game:

Mazur's temperament is pretty good considering the style of game he plays: a bit rough around the edges as he finishes checks, goes hard into any play, and plays with an edge. However, some maturity and discipline may help him (and his team) in the long run. 

Across the 2023-24 season, Mazur played in 69 games (including playoffs) and his stat line is as follows: 20 goals, 25 assists, 45 total points, 66 penalty minutes.

In a perfect world, of course, his penalty minutes would reduce as he’s much more helpful to his team on the ice than in the sin bin. Especially in the playoffs where he earned 18 penalty minutes in 9 games (there was a game misconduct in there for Mazur hurting a referee’s feelings worth 10 minutes, for what it’s worth).

In my notes on Mazur, penalty minutes are minor in compared to the biggest question in Mazur’s game. 

While I love Mazur’s game, especially his heart and his personality, I question his longevity. 

For the hard game he plays, he’s a slight frame at 175 lbs with 6 feet of height (or just under 80 kg, 183 cm). To see long-term, consistent success I wonder if it’s in Mazur’s best interest to alter his game just a smidge.

It’s clear he’s tried adding weight, but he’s built similar to Danny Dekeyser who can eat a pizza the size of Jupiter and not gain an ounce.

The way that Mazur plays every shift like it’s his last and going all out any chance he gets is incredible. Flashes of skill he’s displayed over his career thus far lead me to believe it’s not something that he has to do.

He’s smart and talented enough to play with a bit more finesse. The old saying, work smarter not harder could be his motto from here on out. 

Rather than bulldozing a situation, thinking a play through to be a bit more proactive than reactive in his play can help. At times, it could be positioning, finding a better route or angle on a play, or using his stick in a better way. 

He has a great shot, decent vision and skating, coupled with his heart, these skills could be nutured for an even better foundation before he takes a spot in the Detroit Red Wings lineup.

It’s likely Mazur needs a great summer and likely a half season to full season with the Grand Rapids Griffins to fine tune his game. Whether any tinkering occurs with his overall game (and his mindset towards it) or not, he’s still best served honing his shot and passing in the American Hockey League (AHL) for much of 2024-25.

I liken Mazur to a former Detroit Red Wings player. Rather than the popular reference of Tyler Bertuzzi, I steer to Vlad Namestnikov.

Although both Bertuzzi and Namestnikov fill similar roles for their teams, to me Namestnikov is a bit more consistent without as many extremes in his game (good and bad).

For the future, I believe Mazur can play on any line or special teams unit–similar to Namestnikov. He can be an effective complimentary player who’s a fan-favorite with surprising pops of skill and is someone who can be relied upon to give his best efforts each game.

Next. june 18. 3 underrated prospects the Red Wings must consider with the 15th pick in the NHL Draft. dark