Toronto Maple Leafs Can Cancel the Petr Mrazek Insurance Policy

Toronto Maple Leafs, Petr Mrazek (Photo by Chris Tanouye/Getty Images)
Toronto Maple Leafs, Petr Mrazek (Photo by Chris Tanouye/Getty Images) /

When the Toronto Maple Leafs signed Petr Mrazek, he was supposed to be 1B – splitting duties with 1A counterpart Jack Campbell – but the duo fell apart on the first day of the season. Not the start you’re looking for.

Twenty-three games into the season, the Toronto Maple Leafs sit atop of the Atlantic for the first time since division realignment (2013-14) – and they did it with no more than 100 minutes of Petr Mrazek manning the pipes.

In that time, Jack Campbell has taken the Leafs by the horns and shows no signs of letting up.

Rewind to the off-season when question marks remained about Jack Campbell’s ability to be the undisputed #1 guy, the Toronto Maple Leafs had to take on insurance.

Now that presumptuous Plan A has come true after all, along with a capable and an injury-free backup in Joseph Woll, it’s about time the Leafs start looking for Petr Mrazek takers.

He’s evidently expendable – an unnecessary insurance policy the Leafs no longer need.

They say, “it’s better to be safe than sorry,” and the Leafs were safe.

They also say, “If it ain’t broken, don’t fix it,” and the Leafs ain’t broken.

Toronto Maple Leafs: The (Real) Rise of Jack Campbell

Under the watchful eye of Leafs Nation, Campbell’s path from L.A. to Toronto is well-scouted.

And Leafs Nation has grown to adore him (who doesn’t like a genuine, nice guy?)

The only real worry about Campbell is his health – but that’s a constant concern for every goaltender and team.

Campbell’s numbers were exceptional last year. That was an eye-opener.

This year, they’re even better! And there’s no surprise this time around as Leafs Nation has come to expect it. Best of all, Campbell hasn’t backed down; in fact, he has embraced the challenge, and some might even say his game has leveled up.

He is now clearly the undisputed #1 for whom the Toronto Maple Leafs had hoped.

The (Re) Emergence of Joseph Woll

Joseph Woll has been a long time coming. He’s been brewing, albeit slowly and not exactly enticingly, in the minors for years.

Back-stopping USA in two games at the 2017 WJHC en-route to a gold medal and then following that up in 2018 with a bronze, one could see his potential. But then he became an afterthought as quickly as he became promising.

An example of good things happen to those who wait – and proof that goalies take longer to develop (he’s only 23 years old) – the Leafs are now looking at a backup goalie on which they can depend.  If he sounds similar to the learning curve of Jack Campbell, you wouldn’t be mistaken. Perhaps the most glaring difference is the Toronto Maple Leafs drafted him and atop of the 3rd round – 62nd overall – in 2016.

In the small sample size of 3 games – pretty much the same as Mrazek – his 1.67 GAA and .939 SV% look much better than what Mrazek has shown, and to that point, not only is he a better goaltender, but perhaps more importantly, he’s more than capable of being a backup – and a more reliable one in that.

The (Pre) Fall of Petr Mrazek

Two periods in his first game as a Leaf, Mrazek went down with what would be a(nother) groin injury in a history of groin injuries. That was on Oct 14.

Sixteen days later, he returned to the net, only for it to be premature. That was Oct 30. Tomorrow marks December. And not playing for over a month, he’s far from in-season game shape.

And should he push it in such conditioning, and as his history of injuries suggests, he’s probable to suffer a(nother) setback.  That the Leafs are one of the best in the league this year, all without his services, excuse me for forgetting he’s even on the team. (all stats

With a stat line of 4.20 GAA and .877 SV% in 100 minutes of play, I’m not excited about his return to play. And when he does – if he does – I hope he performs well – but, for all the wrong reasons.

Time to Ride the Wave

I’d like to see the Toronto Maple Leafs move on from Peter Mrazek and continue riding the wave they’re currently on – the one without Petr Mrazek as a “dependable” 1B.

Instead, it’d be nice to have some extra cap space to play around with, which could be used to shore up the Leafs forwards, defense, or even goaltending down the stretch. The Leafs could land themselves a significant addition – someone to be excited for – a real difference-maker.

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A $3.8 M cap is not ridiculous to take on. And some teams are looking for goaltending. It’s not a far fetch for them to take a chance as the Leafs did – especially if the Leafs don’t demand much in return.