The Toronto Maple Leafs hoped to take a cautious approach to the health of their goaltenders this season, signing Petr Mrazek to help insulate Jack Campbell so that neither one was overworked. Instead, it appears as though Campbell will need to carry the load for the next while. Mrazek has been placed on injured reserve retroactive to November 4 and is expected to miss approximately four weeks.
Mrazek, 29, suffered a groin injury in his first appearance of the season, stretching to stop a shot at the end of the second period. He didn’t finish that game, and was out for more than two weeks, forcing the Maple Leafs to go with Michael Hutchinson once again as the backup. Mrazek returned on October 30 and recorded his first win for Toronto, only to reaggravate the injury over the last week. It will now likely be December before he appears in his third game of the season, certainly not the situation the team was hoping for when they signed him to a three-year deal this summer.
In fact, for a team like Toronto that is constantly dancing around the salary cap ceiling, Mrazek’s $3.8MM hit was a substantial investment. While Campbell has performed incredibly well in his time as a Maple Leaf, he too has a long injury history and has never played more than 31 games in a single season. The 29-year-old is already up to ten this year, with many more to come while Mrazek recovers.
Instead of Hutchinson this time, the Maple Leafs recalled prospect, Joseph Woll, to serve as the team’s backup last night. Woll had been dealing with an injury of his own last time they needed a netminder, but it’s unclear if he’ll actually make his NHL debut or just sit on the bench while Campbell plays every game. The Maple Leafs do have a back-to-back situation coming up next week, playing the Calgary Flames on Friday and then traveling to Buffalo for Saturday night.