March 20: The Toronto Maple Leafs have been dealing with goaltending issues for the past while, and after Erik Kallgren was given the net for the last several games, it was unclear where Petr Mrazek fit into the future of the team. Today, the Maple Leafs have offered Mrazek to the rest of the league by placing him on waivers according to Elliotte Friedman of Sportsnet. He is one of three Maple Leafs on the list today, joined by Kyle Clifford and Harri Sateri, a free agent goaltender the Maple Leafs have signed from the KHL, who has to clear waivers before he comes back to North America.
Those aren’t the only players on waivers though. The full list is as follows:
Sateri, 32, just won an Olympic gold medal with Finland and has been an excellent netminder in the KHL for the last three seasons, but certainly doesn’t have a very long track record of success in North America. Drafted 106th overall back in 2008 by the San Jose Sharks, he struggled in parts of four minor league seasons before going to Russia. A few years later he was back with the Florida Panthers, where he played in nine NHL games and posted a .911 save percentage. After another sub-par year in the minors he was back overseas.
His signing, which will consist of a one-year contract that carries a cap hit of $750K through the end of this season, could be seen as nothing more than organizational depth at the deadline. With Mrazek’s struggles and placement on waivers today though, along with a recent injury to Jack Campbell, the Maple Leafs crease is completely up for grabs, even for a player like Sateri that is coming in fresh from outside the organization. That is of course as long as he clears, something that is certainly not a guarantee given how inexpensive his contract is.
It’s Mrazek that is the big name, given the fact that he signed a three-year, $11.4MM contract with the Maple Leafs just last summer. With a $3.8MM cap hit through 2023-24, a loan to the minor leagues would only clear $1.125MM for Toronto ahead of the deadline. With how quickly he has fallen out of favor with the Maple Leafs, Mrazek seems a prime buyout candidate for this offseason, should the team be unable to trade his contract elsewhere in the coming months.
Among the rest of the names are some veterans who could be snatched for a playoff run, though none are difference-makers at this point in their respective careers. Notably, for a player to be eligible for the rest of the AHL season and playoffs, he has to be on the roster at tomorrow’s deadline. For these players to get to that threshold, they needed to be placed on waivers today, if there was any thought of stashing them in the AHL down the stretch.