Hurricanes sign goalie to replace Ward
Why Canes’ new goalie Petr Mrazek prefers having one-year contract
By Chip Alexander
July 02, 2018 04:25 PM
Carolina Hurricanes goalie Petr Mrazek doesn’t mind playing a season with a one-year contract.
“I’ve had that before and I’m pretty good with that,” he said Monday. “It’s something that would put me under pressure and that is something I like, to play games with more pressure on me.”
Mrazek, signed Sunday as a free agent, may get plenty of that. The Hurricanes haven’t made the Stanley Cup playoffs since 2009, when he was 17 years old and playing for HC Vitkovice in his native Czech Republic, and inconsistent goaltending was a big reason why last season..
The Hurricanes and Mrazek agreed on a one-year deal that will pay him $1.5 million next season. That’s half the amount former Canes goalie Cam Ward will receive from the Chicago Blackhawks in 2018-19.
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But Mrazek, 26, says it’s more about the opportunity. With Carolina, he will share the net with Scott Darling, whose first season with the Hurricanes was mostly miserable.
Andrei Svechnikov, made the No. 2 pick of the NHL Draft last week by the Carolina Hurricanes, talks about signing his entry-level contract and his play in the prospect development camp on June 30, 2018.
The Canes hoped Darling would become their No. 1 goalie. He didn’t do it and now will have a new competitor in net.
“Hopefully between Petr and ‘Darls’ one of these guys will get it together and can lead us,” Canes coach Rod Brind’Amour said.
Mrazek, drafted by the Detroit Red Wings in 2010, at one time appeared to be on his way to being the Wings’ No. 1 goalie, supplanting Jimmy Howard. Instead, Mrazek’s play slipped the past two years and Howard took back over, and Mrazek was traded Feb. 19 to the Philadelphia Flyers.
“I think the last two years I changed my style a little bit,” Mrazek said. “I was moving in the net a little too much, pushing outside the blue paint. I’ve worked on being more patient in net. It’s something I’m working on now in the offseason.”
Mrazek said being traded to the Flyers and having to quickly adjust to a new defensive system was difficult and it showed in his performance numbers — a 6-6-3 record, 3.22 goals-against average and .891 save percentage. It should be an easier transition, he said, with a full training camp with the Canes.
“When you look their D corps you see some big names and really good defensemen,” he said.
Mrazek said Darling reached out to him with a text Sunday, after the signing, and two had a short chat about Raleigh, about the Hurricanes. He said there soon should be longer chats. Then, the competition.
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“I believe we can be a great tandem for Carolina,” Mrazek said. “Help them get the wins, which is the most important thing.”
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