A very few days ago I wrote about the problems of trading for a goalie who you expect to walk in and make an impact immediately. My thoughts then were that it was likely the wrong way to spend assets for the Leafs. But circumstances have changed, so it’s a very good idea to re-examine what we all think about the goalie situation.
After the game where Petr Mrázek managed to play extraordinarily badly in a situation where the onus was on him to carry the team, Sheldon Keefe said something like: Mrázek has not played for the Leafs the way he has in the past.
Is that true? The short answer is yes, the longer answer is more interesting.
This is score and venue adjusted, so that’s why there’s weird fractions of goals. I lopped off two years at the start of Mrázek’s career where he played less than 10 games in the season, so the rest is his real NHL career. And because I was feeling kind hearted, I left in ordinary Save % about which I will say nothing. This is All-Situations information from Evolving Hockey.
Go straight to the right and look at the delta of the save percentage on unblocked shots and the expected, and indeed, this season is the worst. By some margin. However, it pays to note that Mrázek’s average before this season was only a bit above expected. He’s floated around in the starter, but not great starter territory.
However, the more interesting thing to note is that last year’s outstanding results in Carolina are just as different from what he’s done in that past as this season. That 12 games of fantastic results had to have affected his cost as a UFA, and is part of the reason why the Leafs have a goalie they likely need to hang onto until memories fade and the desire to believe he’ll bounce back will take over in GMs minds this summer.
Note also the 48 or so goals against, which is double last year’s in only four more games. But look deeper, and you can see that in terms of goals saved above expected, this isn’t his worst performance. That was 2016-2017. The difference is time spent getting to that level of destruction, of course, and given 30 more starts, he could easily outdo that number again this year.
The takeaway on Mrázek is that two consecutive years of results far away from his average are hard to have predicted, unlikely to be repeated, and came in the order most likely to make him seem like a much worse GM decision than he was. Who could have expected a run of 16 games that bad? Anyone who looked as his record, that’s who.
I grabbed his gamelog from Evolving Hockey, and did a 16-game rolling average on the dFSv%, and I found out this period of horror isn’t without precedent.
In 2014-2015 at the very end of the season, his results got bad enough for two hits on the “worse than this year” marker in late March and early April.
In 2017-2018, he almost repeated that with very poor performances in the spring. But it takes the first two games of the next season to roll him into worse than this year. Not sure that should count, but it shows how close he came to this bad in his more recent past.
Mrázek then rolled through some good years until now. However, if you just go looking for 16-game stretches where he’s below zero there are masses of them in every season but last year (for obvious reasons).
The truth is, you don’t get to know for sure that a goalie with a history of generally positive seasons like Mrázek is not going to do what he’s done this year. That’s just how it is. It might not be a high probability outcome, but it’s not something anyone should have thought impossible.
However, the key point for Kyle Dubas right now is that Jack Campbell is out for at least two weeks, and Mrázek is all there is. Yes, that was a delight to see Erik Källgren play that well in such a terrible situation, but no one should expect that the Swedish second league was hiding an NHL starter all these years, no matter how many times they called him a kid on TV. Joe Woll started big and faded in his short NHL debut, and no one on the Leafs seems to be discussing playing him yet.
So what do you say today?
Do you think Kyle Dubas will trade for a goalie now?
|No, but he should||389|
|No, and I’m fine with that||540|