The 5 Worst Toronto Maple Leafs Free Agent Signings in the Auston Matthews Era

Which players did the Leafs acquire through free agency since 2016 that didn’t end up panning out?
Jan 12, 2022; Glendale, Arizona, USA; Toronto Maple Leafs left wing Nick Ritchie (20) against the Arizona Coyotes at Gila River Arena. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Jan 12, 2022; Glendale, Arizona, USA; Toronto Maple Leafs left wing Nick Ritchie (20) against the Arizona Coyotes at Gila River Arena. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports / Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
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Petr Mrazek

Following the departure of dependable first-string goalie Frederik Andersen to the Carolina Hurricanes following the 2020-21 season, the Leafs needed a solid goalie to work in tandem with the team’s newly anointed starter in Jack Campbell.

With Campbell not having played more than 31 games in a season in his NHL career at the time, the Leafs needed a backup that could actually help handle a significant load just in case. As a result, they signed veteran netminder Petr Mrazek to a three-year, $11.4 million deal during the 2021 free agency season.

Mrazek seemed like a safe recruitment at the time, as he was coming off three solid seasons with the Carolina Hurricanes in which he maintained a GAA below 2.70 and a save percentage above .905.

With those numbers, he should be a reliable and adequate tandem partner with Campbell. However, despite a solid 12-6-0 record in 20 games played with the Leafs in his first year with the club, Mrazek put up his worst numbers of his career by posting a gaudy 3.34 GAA and .888 save percentage.

It also didn’t help that he was plagued also by lower body and groin issues during the year as well, which defeated the purpose of easing Campbell’s workload as it ended up forcing the Leafs to actually use Campbell more than expected.

As a result, the play of Campbell actually deteriorated as his workload increased, ultimately leading to their first round exit once again in the playoffs.

With Mrazek clearly not turning out as the answer, along with his hefty salary, the Leafs need to find a way to get rid of his contract. Therefore, following the way of Marleau from before, the Leafs also had to include a first round pick to get Mrazek off their hands after the 2021-22 season in a trade with the Chicago Blackhawks. 

This actually makes it sound much worse that it was however, because they only moved back a few picks, they didn't really give away a draft pick.