Fantasy Take: Mrazek Moving To Chicago

Michael Clifford

2022-07-08

We got a partial answer as to what the Toronto Maple Leafs will be doing with their goaltending this offseason as the team's Cup window progresses. It appears that Jack Campbell will test free agency while the team traded Petr Mrazek and the 25th overall pick for the 38th overall pick from the Chicago Blackhawks. This is essentially a cap dump to give them as much flexibility as possible. Let's get into what it means.

What Chicago gets

The Czechia goalie battled injury and under-performance in 2021-22 to the tune of an .888 save percentage across 18 starts and 20 appearances. The injury can't be understated as his groin issue kept him out of action for the final five weeks of the regular season and out of the postseason. It seemed a re-injury of an earlier groin problem he had back in November that kept him out, more or less, until January. It does seem he was battling that groin issue all season, so it's little wonder he hadn't performed well.

If we throw out his entire 2021-22 season and look at the three years before that, things get rosier. Across 90 starts with Carolina from 2018-21, he posted a .911 save percentage, or roughly league average. In that stretch, per Evolving Hockey, he had a Goals Saved Above Expected (GSAx) that was top-5 in the league, and better than goalies like Juuse Saros, John Gibson, and Andrei Vasilevskiy. By high-danger save percentage at 5-on-5, he was top-10 in the league, ahead of Saros and Vasilevskiy again. Not that I believe he's a better goalie than those two today, but there are reasons to believe that a healthy Mrazek is considerably better than what he showed across 18 starts in 2021-22. At the same time, he's going to a team that is in strip-down mode. Anything short of a super-human performance is going to see him post some very bad numbers, specifically in goals against average and wins.

In that sense, this could be a very good pickup for Chi