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FTB: Did the Toronto Maple Leafs make the right choice with Petr Mrazek?

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A look at the goalie contracts signed in Free Agency.

Carolina Hurricanes v Tampa Bay Lightning - Game Four
TAMPA, FL - June 5: Goalie Petr Mrazek #34 of the Carolina Hurricanes against the Tampa Bay Lightning in Game Four of the Second Round of the 2021 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Amalie Arena on June 5, 2021 in Tampa, Florida.
Photo by Scott Audette/NHLI via Getty Images

The Maple Leafs locking up Petr Mrazek to a three year, $3.8 million contract was one of the first moves made on Wednesday. At the time, the contract looked like a lot more than what the goalie market was expected to provide, essentially an overpay. Now that all the other available goalies have been signed, I wanted to look back to see if the Leafs really did overpay. Could they have gotten someone for cheaper, or was Mrazek the best player available?

$5 million+ Club

Philipp Grubauer (6 x $5.9 million), Linus Ullmark (4 x $5 million)

These were the two big goalie contracts of the day, and boy were they contracts. Both goalies nearly doubled their cap hit by hitting free agency. Grubauer was always going to be out of range, but Ullmark at five was a real surprise. Boston wanted to do it, so, well, they did it. I don’t blame the Leafs for walking away.

$4 million+ Club

Frederik Andersen (2 x $4.5 million), Jonathan Bernier (2 x $4.125 million)

Two former Leafs signing for over four million each because of their experience more than anything else. The Leafs were trying to get away from a contract like Andersen’s in order to spend the money elsewhere, and he didn’t have to take much of a discount in Carolina. I hope they know they could’ve spent even less and kept Alex Nedeljkovic?

And Jonathan Bernier signing for that much in New Jersey... I guess!

$3 million+ Club

Petr Mrazek (3 x $3.8 million)

The Leafs goalie is the only one in this price range. He didn’t command as much as the big money guys, and he took a third year to presumably get the price down. I’d rather the Leafs spend less for a less certain player than spend money they don’t have.

$2 million+ Club

Laurent Brossoit (2 x $2.325 million), James Reimer (2 x $2.25 million), Antti Raanta (2 x $2 million), Martin Jones (1 x $2 million), Braden Holtby (1 x $2 million)

Looking at the five guys on this list, I feel pretty confident in saying there is less risk that Mrazek turns into a potato than any of these guys doing so. Jones is almost certainly a potato, Holtby has had a few really bad years in a row and is knocking on the potato door, Reimer isn’t reliable as a 1B with his injury history, ditto for Raanta though not as bad, and Brossoit is a capital B backup that wouldn’t have be able to take on the load the Leafs would’ve needed.

I’m content with the Leafs choosing someone who is better than these guys on paper. However, I think Raanta is on a good deal and I wouldn’t be surprised if he out-does Mrazek in Carolina behind Andersen.

$1 million+ Club

David Rittich (1 x $1.25 million), Jaroslav Halak (1 x $1.5 million + bonuses)

Big Save Dave had his time in Toronto and they decided they wanted someone better. Halak is actually on a $3 million contract if he achieves all his bonuses with Vancouver, so he’s actually the most comparable goalie contract on this list, despite being 36. Halak is a good goalie, his only negative is his age and how much you can trust he’ll keep his pace up. The Leafs also took on a guy with more term, which is probably something they wanted as Jack Campbell is expiring next summer and we’re going to have to do this all over again.

Old but Gold

Brian Elliott (1 x $900k), Craig Anderson (1 x $750k), Carter Hutton (1 x $750k)

Tampa Bay, Buffalo, and Arizona signed some dirt cheap old guys to be their backups because Tampa Bay and Buffalo have young starters they’re confident in and Arizona is Arizona. Buffalo is also a bit of Arizona, to be fair. If the Leafs had Andrei Vasilevskiy, they could’ve had the luxury of doing this too, but they don’t.

With hindsight, I can see why the Leafs went where they did with their goalie money. I’m also glad they got it figured out early and didn’t risk being left with Rask, Dubnyk, and a potentially retired Curtis McElhinney sitting in free agency right now. I might’ve been interested in Halak or Raanta but free agency isn’t just a one-way street, they needed to want to come here too. It’s not perfect, but a compromise I can live with.

Poll

Was Petr Mrazek the right move?

This poll is closed

  • 79%
    Yes, best compromise
    (789 votes)
  • 12%
    They should’ve paid for the best goalie available
    (121 votes)
  • 8%
    They should’ve risked a cheaper goalie
    (87 votes)
997 votes total Vote Now

One thing Left to Wing

It’s Friday, and the Leafs still have about $3.8 million (depending who you ask) to spend on a first line left winger. Wednesday was the big explosion of action, I presume yesterday saw players, agents, and GMs feel each other out and see who wants to go where. Surely we get some decisions before the weekend today.

This is the lineup I have pencilled in to start the season:

This is where I would put a Zach Hyman, IF I HAD ONE - Matthews - Marner
Kerfoot - Tavares - Nylander
Bunting - Kampf - Mikheyev
Engvall - Spezza - Simmonds

Rielly - Brodie
Muzzin - Holl
Sandin - Dermott

The Leafs can figure out their 1LW problem either through free agency or a trade.

In free agency, Tomas Tatar, Alex Galchenyuk, Nick Ritchie, and others are still sitting without contracts. Hopefully Kyle Dubas is trying to get one of their numbers down as much as possible before they settle. Marcus Johansson (who was rumoured to be talking to the Leafs) is still out there if the Leafs want another middle-six body, or if they want to trade Kerfoot.

The trade front is much more interesting right now, and I think the Leafs would be able to get a better player here. Katya did a deep dive into all the team with cap troubles and players they might want to get rid of. Go check it out, but here is my shortlist:

Jake DeBrusk is getting the Boston treatment after one bad season and looks to be on the outs. He fits right in with the Leafs budget and needs, if they’re able to pay the acquisition price. Maybe the Bruins are interested in Kerfoot as a middle-six centre if they don’t bring back David Krejci? Maybe they want Travis Dermott? Either way, the Leafs would have to give up a pick or two in a trade.

Victor Rask in Minnesota might be able to get jostled loose. He costs $5 million against the cap, so a contract would have to go back. Do they need LD?

Tyler Bertuzzi is still out there from Detroit. The Leafs could definitely circle back and get him on a cheaper contract and probably for not much in a trade.

Seattle has Jared McCann? The Leafs would be able to acquire him as long as they don’t retain salary in the deal and the NHL doesn’t consider it expansion draft circumvention, which is an unlikely accusation. While we’re thinking about this, the Leafs should try and get Filip Hallander back, I feel like they’re going to rue losing him in possibly less than 12 months.

Poll

Who gets your vote for 1LW?

This poll is closed

  • 29%
    Tatar/Galch/Ritchie/Johansson
    (241 votes)
  • 20%
    DeBrusk
    (170 votes)
  • 1%
    Rask
    (10 votes)
  • 21%
    Bertuzzi
    (174 votes)
  • 13%
    McCann
    (108 votes)
  • 14%
    Someone else
    (117 votes)
820 votes total Vote Now

Various Leafs and Branches

Free Agency Recap: Maple Leafs left the biggest hole unfilled | by: Katya

The Maple Leafs need to add a forward, so which teams are capped out? | by: Katya

Toronto Maple Leafs sign Pavel Gogolev to three-year NHL contract | by: Hardev

Back to Excited Episode 150: Leafs free agency review | by: Arvind

Maple Leafs sign Brett Seney to a one-year deal | by: Katya

Toronto Marlies sign Jack Kopacka to an AHL deal | by: Katya

UPDATED: Leafs invite OHLers Del Monte, Cato, Hardie to development camp | by: Brigstew

It looks like 23-year-old winger Justin Brazeau won’t be back with the Marlies after a disappointing season with the team. Hopefully he lands on his feet somewhere, but it’s clear the Leafs have found their next rising star in Gogolev (and Jeremy McKenna, but he’s got another year on his AHL deal).

Things keep getting worse in Chicago, as Rick Westhead is helping to call out specific names on top of the truthful reporting that “everyone knew.” That last quote, “I’m sick of this wall of silence,” is a direct statement at hockey’s shameful culture.

LeBron James (yeah, him), Maverick Carter, and Drake are producing a documentary titled “Black Ice” with Uninterrupted Canada which will examine the experienced of Black hockey players throughout history. I can’t wait for it.

Here’s a summary of the big free agency moves from yesterday:

The Rangers remain broken.

How many gp does he have? Someone trade Dermott yesterday, OMG.

And lastly, Corey Perry signs with Tampa Bay.