Kyle Davidson and Kyle Dupas seemed to have gotten past their little feud on the trade deadline.
As Davidson said, “The event was discussed privately with Kyle, we are good and we will move forward with a good relationship.”
That’s a good thing because there may be a reason for general managers to talk again soon (if not already) about the trade between Black Hawks and Maple Leafs.
The deal that Peter Mrazek is involved in makes a lot of sense for both sides.
Let’s explore why.
Why does Levis want to trade in sustenance?
Sigel: It’s very simple. For a goalkeeper who could not be trusted last season, Mrazek is making a lot of money (US$3.8 million) for too long (two more years) for a team that needs to cash in on every other dollar. Mrazek was either injured or ineffective in his first season with The Leafs. He only played 20 games and finished with a keeping ratio of 0.88, the third worst goalkeeper to have played at least 20 times. Mrazek conceded roughly 13 more goals than expected in just over 1,000 minutes. Injuries and inconsistency have plagued Mrazek’s 10-year career in the NHL. Allocating nearly five percent of the cap to this guy seems untenable. Wiping the Mrazek deal from the books will allow Dubas’ front desk to update the roster, including the goalpost where the Leafs will either re-sign or find a replacement for Jack Campbell. Every dollar counts in the salary cap world, but especially for a heavy team like the Leafs. They need their contracts to deliver as much value as possible. Your status does not fit that law at the moment.
Why would the Black Hawks take him?
the authorities: Blackhawks in full rebuild mode. At the current stage of that, their priority is to go into next season to align themselves with the Top 3 Draft in 2023 and gain as many draft picks as they can and expectations they can build for the future. Since the Blackhawks will not be actively looking to improve in the short term, they will be open to exploring more creative ways to take advantage of their cover space if that can help them in the long run. They will get a junk contract as long as this player doesn’t greatly improve their winning odds and they can get some assets in exchange for their troubles.
In the case of Mrazek, he can meet all their needs. The Blackhawks need to tackle their net this season. Kevin Lankinen and Colin Delia, the Blackhawks’ NHL goalkeepers to finish the season, will be both unrestricted free agents in July. It is possible for the Blackhawks to re-sign one or both of them. But for now, Black Hawks are clinging to seeing their options. Mrazek could be the perfect type of goalkeeper for the Black Hawks. He’s respectable enough to be in the NHL, but he’s not likely to raise a mediocre team. Additionally, his contract runs for another two years and will expire before the Blackhawks plan to be competitive again.
What does Black Hawk want?
the authorities: Blackhawks will seek assets in exchange for your money. They probably understand that they are not likely to grab a draft from the first round of foliage, but expect something at the next level from draft picks and/or expectations. Freeing an elite team like the Leafs worth $3.8 million in cover space for two seasons, especially when a cap increase isn’t likely, is very important. If spent wisely, that extra cover space can definitely help the Leafs get closer to the competition for the Stanley Cup.
What might Leafs be willing to give up
Sigel: This is the biggest question of all. We have some precedents to work with. Back in 2019, that front desk sent a first-round pick to the Hurricanes to pay last year’s price for Patrick Marlowe’s contract (capped at $6.25 million). It was an exorbitant cost, and Dubas had to clean it up from his predecessor. The choice became Seth Jarvis. The Leafs will never want to do that again. Just last season, keep in mind that the Leafs gave Wolves a conditional choice – a third in 2023 or a second in 2025 – to get rid of Nick Ritchie’s contract, which has another year’s worth of $2.5 million on the cover. The Leafs have got defender Ilya Lyubushkin back in the trade. They might be looking to return an asset in some sort of mrazik swap. The Marazik deal is more expensive and longer than the Ritchie deal. So, what cost can they be liable to? You can be sure the Leafs will want to protect their first-round pick at all costs. The second round seems like a reasonable place to start. The Leafs didn’t have one again until 2024 right now. This selection could be paired with a B-level prospect like Nick Abruzese. They may have added a roster player like Justin Hall to the deal. This would create more space. Chicago could screw Hole to get another asset on next year’s trade deadline. In this scenario, Blackhawks would probably send a cheap and useful young player into the deal. If not, then the second and expectations seem like the right price to pay. Anything more and the Leafs might be better off looking elsewhere, or simply buying a Mrazek contract.
There is clearly a way to a bargain here. It’s just very logical.
Chicago is poised to be a graveyard of bad contracts, and The Leafs have one bad contract to bury. Everything will come down to the price. How much does Davidson want? Will he insist on choosing the first round? Will he take what he can get? Is the second thing and the other mildly appealing things done? Is Dubas willing to pay that price? The Leafs need to get rid of the Mrazek deal, and the Hawks need things to rebuild them.
It’s time to make a deal.
(Photo by Derek Cain/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
Stats and research courtesy of Advanced Hockey