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- Reporter 12
- 04 Nov, 2021
It’s been a day since the NHL’s 2021-22 trade deadline, and in addition to the joy felt in markets that did well on the trade front, there’s already angst, criticism and condemnation for various reasons in other NHL cities. In no particular order, let’s take a brief look at the losers at Deadline Day:
1. Edmonton Oilers: They’ve been getting improved goaltending of late, but the Oilers not too long ago were in goalie hell with their current pair of Mikko Koskinen and Mike Smith. In Koskinen’s past two games, he’s put in sub-.900 save percentages, and in two of his past five appearances, Smith has posted a sub.860 SP.
Did Edmonton GM Ken Holland have all the reason in the world to go out and get a better goalie? He sure did. Could that failure to do so come back to haunt him once the playoffs begin? It sure could. Holland had all season long to find another netminder, and he knew the deadline was coming. It didn’t have to come to this, but now, it has. A goaltending crisis may prove to be what sinks the Oilers’ championship aspirations.
2. Toronto Maple Leafs: The Leafs land here with a caveat – namely, the acknowledgment that Toronto GM Kyle Dubas did improve his blueline and fourth line of forwards when he acquired D-man Mark Giordano and forward Colin Blackwell from Seattle on Sunday. However, their most pressing need – a veteran goalie to be given a shot at the No. 1 job until Jack Campbell returns from a rib injury – was not dealt with by the deadline.
That means, if rookie netminder Erik Kallgren crumbles under the pressure of the starter’s role, Leafs head coach Sheldon Keefe will have no other alternative but to use Petr Mrazek. And anyone who has watched Mrazek’s recent games will tell you that’s not a good thing. Mrazek’s .884 SP and 3.48 goals-against average show his struggles with Toronto this season, and the pressure is only going to increase on him, whenever the Leafs decide to play him. Another soft goal here or there and Mrazek will be quickly pulled from games.
Dubas has claimed he waived Mrazek over the weekend as a salary cap move, but who’s kidding who - you don’t waive someone you really want to keep around. If, for whatever reason, another franchise decided to take a chance on Mrazek – for this year, and two more years, with a $3.8 million annual cap hit – there would be little in the way of mourning over Mrazek’s departure. Instead, Leafs brass now has to be cold-blooded in their analysis and deployment of goalies. Campbell and Kallgren will get the first chances to run with the No. 1 job, and if they fail, it will fall on Mrazek to get one last shot at proving himself in Toronto.
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