Over the course of the next month, Chicago Hockey Now will be profiling every Chicago Blackhawks player from the 2022-23 season. Today, will be goalie Petr Mrazek.
Games Played: 39 (38 started)
Save %: .894
Contract Status: One year, $3.8M AAV
The Short View
Mrazek was acquired to be the veteran netminder on a rebuilding team. The 31-year-old goalie appeared in 39 games and had career lows in goals against average (3.66) and save percentage (.894). But that should be expected on a team that was expected to get scored upon often. Against the league average, the Blackhawks had nearly 200 more shots against, and yielded 41 more goals than the league average. Shockingly, this wasn’t even the worst mark as Chicago ranked 27th in goals against. But the lack of goals on the other side of the ice made the margin of error thin for whoever was between the pipes.
Mrazek did what he was supposed to do: kept it respectable in light of the roster.
The Long View
With a year left, Mrazek will likely have a slightly improved roster and a chance to gussy his numbers up more. Staying healthy has at times been an issue for him, but the veteran made nearly 40 appearances his a workload he shared with Arvid Soderblom, and Alex Stalock.
The Blackhawks will figure to let it be Mrazek’s net primarily next season as they try and figure out their next step. His contract is reasonable for a team with plenty of cap space and it also netted Chicago two draft picks in the trade. The expectations again are for him to keep things respectable, and the long-time vet will do just that.
For the right price, he could also be flipped at the deadline to a team looking for goalie depth. Mrazek has plenty of playoff experience with Detroit, Philadelphia, Carolina, and Toronto. He would often fizzle after hot starts, but that’s not Chicago’s issue.
The Bottom Line
Mrazek is simply expected to help a growing team figure out its way on the ice. It’s likely that general manager will add some toughness to protect Connor Bedard. This of course presumes he makes it out of camp.
This isn’t a knock, either on the Blackhawks defensive corps. The team is doing what it can to earn high draft picks. But they still have to ice a team.
Mrazek has yet to win a Cup or go very deep in a playoff series. Playing well on the Blackhawks would make him expendable and give him a win-win with the Blackhawks.