While speculation has placed Petr Mrazek as a possible trade or buyout candidate, the Toronto Maple Leafs appear ready to give the goaltender a second chance.
Mrazek was limited to 20 games last season due to various injuries. He posted a .888 save percentage and 3.34 goals-against average in the first season of a three-year $11.4 million contract with an average annual value of $3.8 million.
Leafs general manager Kyle Dubas said Wednesday he’s prepared to bank on Mrazek bouncing back to his career averages next season.
“I’ve been very happy with Petr in just how he’s been in the off-season,” Dubas said. “He’s been very responsive, very communicative with our staff throughout. If I’m forecasting and betting on him, do I bet that he was the goalie he was last year in the 20 games or do I bet he was the goalie he was for the 270 before, which was a .910 save-percentage guy that gave his team a chance to win? I’d probably bet on the larger sample. That’s where Petr fits into it at this time.”
With Jack Campbell appearing headed for the open market, the Maple Leafs currently have Mrazek and Erik Kallgren atop the projected depth chart for next season.
If the Maple Leafs, who have projected $6.44 million in cap space, were to buy out Mrazek, it would give them an additional $2.76 million in cap space this off-season and close to $3 million the following year. However, the team would then be left with a cap charge of $1.43 million in each of the next two years.
Already tight on cap space, the Maple Leafs have three restricted free agents still to sign in Rasmus Sandin, Pierre Engvall and Ondrej Kase. When asked if he’s concerned about an offer sheet for Sandin, Dubas said if there is one, he hopes it comes soon rather than later so the team can adjust its off-season plans.
“If there is going to be an offer sheet, the sooner the better, so we can make our decision and move on,” Dubas said.