This summer saw the winds of change blow in Raleigh. There were a lot of new forwards, a lot of new defensemen, and a brand new goalie tandem. It is on one of the goaltenders, in particular, I want to focus on. With the Canes adding a Danish netminder coming off a rough season to replace a Czech one who lost his starting job in Raleigh. It was a risky decision to make, but the Canes made it.
When Frederik Andersen was signed to replace Petr Mrazek, it was a bold choice. Andersen came to Raleigh, taking a pay cut to do so, whereas Mrazek moved on to Toronto and got an increased pay. They had swapped destinations, and they have seen very different storylines surround them since arriving at their new destinations. So, who was the right goalie to go with for the Carolina Hurricanes?
Let’s start with Andersen. Since arriving in Raleigh, Freddie has been spectacular. With a .936 save percentage and a 1.89 goals-against average, Andersen’s stats have been incredible. He’s been one of the reasons that Carolina currently sits at the top of the NHL standings. His 11-3 record is up there with the best in the league, as he leads the league in wins by a netminder. He’s an early-season Vezina candidate.
Mrazek hasn’t had the same success in the North. Mrazek has struggled with injuries at the start of his time within the Maple Leafs organization and cannot seem to stay in the lineup. His .877 save percentage and 4.20 goals-against average is a huge red flag. He’s not having fun behind a Toronto defense that doesn’t give him the support he got in the Tar Heel state.
This alone would be easy to say that the Hurricanes made the right decision opting with Andersen based on the stats alone. However, if I did that, this would be a complete waste of your time. Shock, early-season Vezina candidate is performing better than a goalie who struggled with injuries. I am a genius, right? No, let’s talk about the business standpoint too here.
Andersen makes $4.5 million dollars this year and next. Mrazek makes $3.8 million dollars from now for the next 3 years. Mrazek has the extra year, but he’s also two years younger than the Canes Danish netminder. Both have seen major success in their careers and both have seen major blips in their careers. But in the end, did Carolina make the right choice choosing Andersen over Mrazek?
Well, yes. It’s very difficult to say that the Canes went wrong when the evidence suggests that they’re one of the best teams in the NHL with the only real change being to their netminders. However, this isn’t to take away from Mrazek and what he did during his time in Raleigh. He was a fantastic goaltender and he won a lot of games with the Carolina Hurricanes. Andersen is just doing it at a better rate.