After the conclusion of the 2020-2021 season, starting goalie Petr Mrazek became an unrestricted free agent. With the Canes signing Frederik Andersen, Mrazek had moved on and signed a three year deal worth $11.4 million with Anderson’s former team in the Toronto Maple Leafs. After a year, we are going to look back on the season that the former starting goalie had with his new team.
Coming off two straight seasons with starting 40 games for the Hurricanes, he was expected to continue that role in the 2020-2021 season. Due to an unfortunate neck injury against the Maple Leafs, significant time was missed and it left Mrazek with just 12 starts. In his 12 starts, he was putting up fantastic numbers, holding a 0.923 save percentage, with allowing 2.06 goals per game.
His .923 save percentage ranked #8 in the NHL for goalies who played 10 or more games that season, and had he not been injured, could have cracked the top five goalies in save percentage. Now we are going to take a look at the most recent season he had with the Toronto Maple Leafs.
In his first year in Canada since getting drafted in 2010, he was looking to bounce back well from injury and lead the team to another playoff berth. Having started in each season (barring injury) since 2015, he was looking to do the same with the Maple Leafs.
He started in just 18 of his games this season for the Leafs, but had to deal with a groin injury as well, which hindered his playing time and put more spotlight onto Jack Campbell. Regardless, the Maple Leafs saw a one-two punch combination with Campbell and Mrazek, who combined got paid $900 thousand more than Anderson’s contract for the Canes.
What happened in those 18 games Mrazek started? He maintained a record of 12-6, while holding a save percentage of 0.888 and averaging 3.34 goals allowed per game. A significant difference than his previous season with the Hurricanes, allowing 1.28 goals to get passed him per game and around four percent save difference.
After seeing the difference in numbers, looking at Frederik Andersen’s stats from the past two seasons sparked interest. With Toronto in 2020-2021, he went 13-8 with a save percentage of 0.895 and allowed 2.96 goals per game. In his first season with the Canes, he held a record of 35-14, a save percentage of 0.922, and allowed just 2.17 goals per game. A very similar comparison to how Mrazek played on both teams.
These numbers posted by Mrazek, especially after seeing Andersen’s numbers in the same systems, begs to question: Is it the Hurricanes stout defense led by Jaccob Slavin that makes goalies look significantly better than they would look on other teams?