According to multiple reports, the Toronto Maple Leafs have agreed a three-year deal with former Carolina Hurricanes goaltender Petr Mrázek.
The goaltending position was a top priority for the Toronto Maple Leafs this summer, with Frederik Andersen’s time in the GTA coming to an end, and now the team looks to have their tandem secured for the 2021/22 season.
The Leafs are unsurprisingly heading into the new season with Jack Campbell as the expected incumbent for the team’s starting role between the pipes, after he excelled in the role during the shortened 2021 campaign.
But with Andersen, who had been the team’s unquestioned starter for four years prior to this latest season, leaving it was an urgent need for general manager Kyle Dubas to lock up another goalie to provide head coach Sheldon Keefe with a solid tandem to compete.
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Now, it looks as if that will be in the form of Petr Mrázek, who is an unrestricted free agent after spending the past three years with the Carolina Hurricanes – partnering with former Leafs favourite James Reimer for the past two.
Mrázek brings with him a wealth of experience at the NHL level, having originally been selected in the fifth round (141st overall) in the 2010 Draft by the Detroit Red Wings.
Since making his debut with the Red Wings during the 2012/13 season, Mrázek has earned himself 275 appearances in the NHL – holding a record of 128-96-31 in that span, with a career goals against average of 2.59 and a save percentage of .911.
With Campbell having just one year left on his deal, securing another goalie beyond 2022 is a sensible move and Mrázek can be a reliable backup/competitor for the starting job should the incumbent struggle to replicate his performances from this past season.
The 6-foot-1, 190lbs Czech goaltender will hold a reasonable cap hit of $3.8 million in each of the next three seasons, keeping costs low for the Toronto Maple Leafs – something that is essential with such tight room to work with underneath the $81.5 million cap ceiling.
With the goaltending situation seemingly resolved in Toronto, it will allow Dubas the opportunity to focus on bolstering his offensive core and work to fill the holes left by the departure of Zach Hyman to the Edmonton Oilers, and the semi-loss of Jared McCann in the expansion draft.