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Brown: Petr Mrazek is Arguably the Blackhawks’ MVP

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After taking in another Blackhawks game where Petr Mrazek did everything but score a goal, it was pretty obvious once again. The Hawks fell to the New York Islanders 2-1 last night, but as has been the case so many times this season, without Mrazek, the score could have been much worse.

Though Connor Bedard is rising through the Blackhawks rookie ranks, pushing into the top five franchise records for both assists and points, it can’t be denied that his imprint of the team is significant.

But when he was injured, who remained steady when things could have gone absolutely sideways for Chicago?

If you said Petr Mrazek, you’re absolutely correct. It’s also right to admit that he has been the most valuable player this season for the Chicago Blackhawks.

Petr Mrazek Arguably Has Enjoyed His Finest Season with the Blackhawks

The numbers don’t read like a Vezina winner’s would–but that award regularly features netminders playing for more competitive clubs. Mrazek hasn’t enjoyed that this season. There have been ghastly stretches where the Blackhawks could barely muster shots on net, let alone goals. Meanwhile, it was Mrazek on the other end of the ice, sliding and saving the Blackhawks from lopsided scores.

Without the 31-year-old patrolling the crease, Chicago would likely have half the victories they do. It’s not to besmirch the effort of the team–nor the work of the staff.

It’s just that Mrazek has just been that good. Of his 52 appearances this season, Mrazek has made 30 or more saves in 23 of them. According to Natural Stat Trick, Mrazek is second in the league fending off  high danger shot chances at even strength. He’s third in high danger saves–behind Jordan Binnington and Connor Hellebuyck  respectively.

Think about that for a moment.  Both are on significantly better teams, with Hellebuyck on what is considered a Stanley Cup contender. St. Louis is in the middle of a playoff push, just three points out of the final Wild Card spot.

In other words–they have a lot more help both defensively and especially in goal support. Mrazek goes into each game knowing that even a pair of goals may doom the Blackhawks–and he has 17 of Chicago’s 22 wins.

Mrazek could have been an  asset to a playoff contender, but opted to re-sign with Chicago for another pair of years. As the rebuild progresses, and Mrazek theoretically continues his strong play, the Blackhawks will add more wins to the column with a steady diet of goal scoring and timely saves from Mrazek.

Perhaps then Mrazek will be get his due reward after a season where he was often their only chance for a win.

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