The Toronto Maple Leafs will give Petr Mrazek a huge opportunity to show his worth, as he’ll start two of the next three games.
Petr Mrazek was signed to a three-year contract at a $3.8M AAV to serve as a 1B and potentially 1A goaltender to Jack Campbell. Since Campbell only has one year left in his deal, the insurance of Mrazek was supposed to help excel Campbell’s game, but more importantly give the Toronto Maple Leafs a steady goaltender duo.
Based on injuries and how the season has progressed, Mrazek has only appeared in five games thus far. compared to Campbell’s 30. That 6:1 ratio is not what the Leafs envisioned, so with 43 games remaining, hopefully both goaltender’s get close to splitting starts.
Since the Leafs have been one of the best team’s in the NHL this year and Campbell has played like a Vezina Trophy candidate, trading Mrazek and his $3.8M contract has turned into a hot-button discussion.
Toronto Maple Leafs Next Games Are Crucial For Petr Mrazek
Trading Mrazek would free up a lot of cap-space that could ultimately go into Campbell’s pocket. However, by trading him, you would be giving the entire workload to Campbell, which may not be something he can handle.
Although Campbell has played great thus far, he’s started to slip over his last five games. In that stretch, he has a .858 save percentage and has allowed five goals in three of those games (stats: hockeyreference.com). Campbell’s stats haven’t been the focus because during that stretch, the Leafs are 3-1-1, so since the team has winning, nobody seems to mind that Campbell is struggling
Campbell has never played this much in his career, so getting Mrazek into action is incredibly important right now.
Mrazek will get the start against the Detroit Red Wings tonight and then play the New Jersey Devils on Tuesday, in a back-to-back. Both of these opponent’s are not very good, so Mrazek needs to play well in order to prove himself to the rest of the team.
If he falters in either game, the team is not going to have any confidence in him moving forward.
Campbell has a big enough sample-size over three years that’s he’s gained the trust in his teammates when things go bad, but Mrazek isn’t there yet.
If he can’t perform admirably against the team that drafted him (Detroit Red Wings) and a bottom-feeder team (New Jersey Devils) then it may be time to look elsewhere for a goalie. HIs cap-hit is troublesome, but if he can provide steady goaltending for the rest of the year, he’ll be worth every penny.
If Mrazek wants a future with the Toronto Maple Leafs, he’ll have to play his best game of the season tonight against a team he’s very familiar with.