He’s only played four games for the Toronto Maple Leafs, but should the team cut ties with Petr Mrazek already?
For a salary-cap strapped team, $3.8M for the next two seasons is a lot of money for the Toronto Maple Leafs to pay Petr Mrazek. He’s the eighth-highest paid player on the team, their most expensive goaltender and is clearly a back-up.
Jack Campbell is the clear-cut number-one goalie for the Leafs, and although he doesn’t have a contract next season, it seems likely that he’ll be the netminder of the future. With that in mind, the team will more than likely have to trade Mrazek eventually to make salary room for Campbell, so why not make the move now?
In those four starts, Mrazek has a .882 SV % and 3.59 GAA. In comparison, Joseph Woll has a .911 SV % and 2.76 GAA (stats: hockeydb.com) in the same amount of starts. I know it’s a small sample size, but there’s no reason to believe that the team will get the same results with Woll in net (if not a better one), so why keep a $3.8M back-up on your roster?
It’s Time for the Toronto Maple Leafs to Cut Ties with Mrazek
Signing Mrazek was a smart idea because the plan was for Mrazek and Campbell to split starts 50/50 or 60/40. However, that plan never happened because Mrazek got injured and Campbell’s been playing like a Vezina Trophy candidate.
With that in mind, it doesn’t seem like Campbell is going to be slowing down anytime soon. Despite playing so well, the team should still monitor his minutes and the back-up should play more, but why does the back-up need to be Mrazek?
There’s actually a trade out there that makes a ton of sense….
Mrazek was drafted by the Detroit Red Wings in the 2010 NHL Entry Draft and played the best hockey of his career with that organization from 2012-2018.
Who was the G.M. that drafted Mrazek and saw him play every night during his tenure in Detroit?
Who is Ken Holland employed by now?
The Edmonton Oilers.
Who’s one of the most desperate executives in hockey and will trade or sign anyone with a familiar name, despite them being washed-up?
Yep, you guessed it! The answer is once again, Ken Holland!
The Oilers only have one goaltender signed for the 2022-23 season and that’s Mike Smith, who’s 40-years-old. The team desperately needs goaltending, so why not take a chance on a potential starter who could only be making $3.8M for the next two years?
In order for the money to work, the Leafs could take on Smith but would also have to take on another expiring contract, such as Kyle Turris’:
- Toronto Maple Leafs acquire: Kyle Turris ($1.65M), Mike Smith ($2.2M) and 2023 3rd Round Pick
- Edmonton Oilers acquire: Petr Mrazek ($3.8M)
Turris and Smith are not going to help you win, but both contracts are expiring deals and they can be buried in the minors if they really wanted to.
In a better defensive structure, Smith can still win a few games, but more importantly, he can serve as a veteran back-up and mentor to Campbell. Turris, on the other hand, can play fourth-line centre for the Leafs, or as previously mentioned, can be buried in the minors, which is okay too.
It’s probably not going to happen, but crazier things have happened and this trade could seriously help both teams.