When Petr Mrázek was signed to a three-year contract by the Leafs last summer, he was brought in as insurance against the team’s starting goalie that had just left in free agency and the new starting goalie on the last year of a cheap contract. Mrázek is a starting goalie of sorts, but more accurately described as a good partner in a tandem, which is exactly what the Leafs have needed this season.
Mrázek ended 2021 with only four starts in the team’s first 30 games. No one reason caused this, it was a combination of a couple unfortunate injuries early in the season, followed by a lot of time on the bench as Jack Campbell sprung to a league-best .937 save percentage in his first 22 starts. No one on the Leafs had given up on Mrázek, they just took advantage of a good run.
Unfortunately, Campbell has been a .880 in eight starts since the new year. Whether it’s luck, loss of form, or whatever, he’s not been great. Enter Mrázek to step up and put together a .921 in four appearances, including bailing Campbell out of a 1-3 deficit against the New Jersey Devils last night. Mrázek was able to keep the Devils to one goal on 20 shots as the Leafs came all the way back to win 6-4.
The Leafs have been very fortunate this season when it comes to their PDO luck. Early in the season, nothing was going in the net for the Leafs, but Campbell was there to make even more saves and won a number of games. The tide turned in January as the Leafs offense finally woke up just in time for Campbell to falter and come back down to Earth in some degree. The Leafs have started to give Mrázek more starts in recent days, but the Leafs have stayed in the winners circle thanks to their offense making up for that lack of performance.
Going back to Mrázek, let’s not forget that he is a capable starter for about 40 games a season. Now is the time when the Leafs should trust him, start him, and let Campbell build himself back. Call me a typical media grifter, but we haven’t had an interesting goalie controversy since Reimer vs Bernier. I’m captivated by what could happen down the stretch.
Various Leafs and Branches
Leafs turn a strong 3rd into a win over the Devils | by: Katya
Yesterday’s, but also today’s, Preview: New Jersey at Toronto and Toronto at New Jersey | by: Hardev
Auston Matthews scored a hat trick and finished with four points to reach 400 in his NHL career. He’s the fastest player the Leafs have ever had to reach that mark. Not Lanny, not Darryl, not Teeder, Keon, or Mats. Auston Matthews.
Four-point night to make it 400 on the career 👏#LeafsForever pic.twitter.com/Bo5iDesahK— Toronto Maple Leafs (@MapleLeafs) February 1, 2022
Ninth career four-point game.— NHL Public Relations (@PR_NHL) February 1, 2022
Fifth career hat trick.
And 400 career points for @AM34.#NHLStats: https://t.co/LGa2Xuu1v0 pic.twitter.com/uDkvwf003f
The sand has nearly run out on something you probably forgot about. Nick Ritchie, who is on the Leafs Taxi Squad at present, will either have to make his way back onto the Leafs roster or officially head to the Toronto Marlies for his first AHL stint since 2016.
We will see what happens to him, but this is an internal deadline that might result in a move. Up to now, the Leafs have been able to make it look like they’re just sitting Ritchie, but soon he’ll definitely become an AHLer. Maybe that stint will be good for him, but things can spiral fast in the AHL.
NHL Calendar Reminders:— CapFriendly (@CapFriendly) January 31, 2022
1. All-Star Break begins on Thursday, February 3rd.
2. Temporary Taxi Squads dissolve after each respective teams final game prior to the break
This might be my favourite visualization from Micah. Here is his (very labour-intensive) graphic of the Leafs game states this season. He has data going back to 2008 for all the teams, so have fun looking up some historic teams on his website. The viz is free for the time being.
New on https://t.co/jccvCul8AM: Score growth viz for every season.— Micah Blake McCurdy (@IneffectiveMath) January 31, 2022
See how each team has progressed from score to score, for the season as a whole. pic.twitter.com/dyZpJTxOkl
Hockey legend Willie O’Ree will be receiving the Congressional Gold Medal from the White House for “extraordinary contributions and commitment to hockey, inclusion, and recreational opportunity.”
Hockey pioneer Willie O’Ree will receive a Congressional Gold Medal, the nation’s highest civilian honour, for “extraordinary contributions and commitment to hockey, inclusion, and recreational opportunity.” pic.twitter.com/SLDEeT8lbu— TSN (@TSN_Sports) January 31, 2022
Both Olympic hockey tournaments will be broadcast by the CBC in Inuktitut for the very first time. Pujjuut Kusugak and David Ningeongan will be providing play-by-play. I intend to watch the women’s tournament and I will tune in for that broadcast, at least for a little bit!
This is a FIRST for CBC!— CBC Olympics (@CBCOlympics) February 1, 2022
The CBC Olympics Winter Games Beijing 2022 coverage will be providing live play-by-play in Inuktitut for ALL of the men and women's hockey games 🏒🏒
Read more https://t.co/8rrMK5EueQ pic.twitter.com/YgSRW3eRAQ
I heard the Blue Jackets signed him and he scored all four goals for them in last night’s 8-4 loss to Florida.
THIS KID HAD A DREAM. SAID HE WAS GOING TO DO IT. AND DID IT.— Nasher (@TheNasher61) February 1, 2022
COOPER YOU LEGEND. #CBJ
Speaking of Florida, former Leafs prospect Mason Marchment finished the night with two goals and four assists in a career night.
What a night for Mason Marchment 👏— ESPN (@espn) February 1, 2022
He ties a @FlaPanthers franchise record with his sixth point of the game. pic.twitter.com/ePEfXWi1mI