The run on goaltenders continues. As the dominoes of Robin Lehner and Semyon Varlamov fell, the Carolina Hurricanes determined that bringing back their starter was the best option. The team has announced a two-year, $6.25MM contract to bring back Petr Mrazek. Mrazek started 40 games for the Hurricanes last year, but will likely be asked to do even more moving forward.
When the 2018-19 season ended, Hurricanes GM Don Waddell made it clear that he wanted to re-sign the duo of Mrazek and Curtis McElhinney if possible. Just a few weeks later though it seemed like neither one would be back after talks failed to get extensions done. When things started falling this afternoon though, Waddell may well have realized that his best option in net was bringing back the man who got them to the playoffs a year ago.
Mrazek, 27, was a floundering goaltender without a team last year after failing to receive a qualifying offer from the Philadelphia Flyers. The Hurricanes gave him an opportunity to prove that he could still compete at the NHL level with a one-year, $1.5MM deal and he went out and had his best season in several years. In those 40 appearances, Mrazek went 23-14-3 for the Hurricanes with a .914 save percentage and helped them reach the playoffs for the first time in a decade. Unfortunately that success didn’t continue in the postseason where he posted just an .894 save percentage and was eventually replaced by McElhinney.
Still, the Czech goaltender ended up 15th overall on our Top 50 UFA list and ended up staying right where he was for a healthy raise to $3.125MM per season. He’ll get a chance to prove he is worthy of an even longer deal, but has some competition once again. The Hurricanes recently traded for James Reimer, who will actually be making more than Mrazek next season and also has a history of success in the NHL. The two will likely share the spotlight if Reimer stays with the organization for the year, giving them options as they try to contend for the playoffs once again.