Pucks in Depth: Mrazek a solid add for the Flyers … Canucks...

Pucks in Depth: Mrazek a solid add for the Flyers … Canucks should have sold Gudbranson

Erik Gudbranson
The Philadelphia Flyers made a solid addition in trading for Petr Mrazek …

With Brian Elliott and Michal Neuvirth sidelined for the foreseeable future, the Philadelphia Flyers needed an established NHL goaltender to help them not only stay afloat in the playoff race but compete for top spot in a wide-open Metro Division.

They addressed that problem on Monday by acquiring 26-year-old netminder Petr Mrazek in exchange for conditional 3rd, and 4th round draft picks.

I’ll defer to TSN’s Bob McKenzie for more on that:

“DET guaranteed no less than a 4th round for Mrazek. If PHI makes playoffs and Mrazek wins 5 games for PHI in reg season, 4th becomes a 3rd. If PHI advances to CF, and Mrazek wins six playoff games, the 3rd becomes a 2nd. If PHI re-signs him next season, DET gets PHI 3rd in 19.”

On the surface, it’s easy to be skeptical of how much Mrazek will help. He posted a .901 save percentage a season ago, and his .910 save percentage this season certainly isn’t going to blow anyone away.

When you dig a little deeper, it’s easier to see why the Flyers deemed Mrazek a fit.

Thus far, 41 goaltenders have logged at least 900 minutes at 5v5. Mrazek ranks a very respectable 19th with a .926 save percentage in that game state. That puts him ahead of several notables such as Braden Holtby, Cory Schneider, and Henrik Lundqvist, among others.

Looking at Goals Saved Above Average (GSAA) using the same criteria, Mrazek fares even better slotting in at 15 – again, ahead of Holtby and Lundqvist.

If a season is on the line and I had to pick one of those goaltenders to start, Mrazek would be my last choice – and most other people’s, too. He’s just not that caliber of goaltender. He is, however, better than he gets credit for and certainly not the liability some make him out to be.

He fills a need for the Flyers, and the price is affordable. I like the move.

Did the Vancouver Canucks make a mistake in re-signing Erik Gudbranson instead of trading him for future assets?

It’s long been reported the Vancouver Canucks’ preference was to re-sign – not trade – Erik Gudbranson.

Yesterday they accomplished just that as Gudbranson has put pen to paper on a three-year deal worth an annual average of $4 million per season.

I have little doubt Gudbranson could have fetched a similar, if not more lucrative, contract in the off-season had he tested the open market – teams always value big defensemen who play with an edge – but that doesn’t mean he’s worth it. Far from it, actually.

This is Gudbranson’s seventh NHL season. His career high in goals is four, and his career high in points is 13, so it’s clear he brings nothing to the table offensively.

That means his value should come from driving possession and/or providing excellent defensive play. He does neither.

Screen Shot 2018-02-20 at 2.52.53 PM

As you can see, he has been a possession anchor every season and only once has his teams fared better in the goal department with him on the ice than without. That year (2013-14) the difference was negligible.

So, he doesn’t produce offense, he doesn’t drive play, and he doesn’t help his teams out-score the opposition, which is the objective of hockey.

Vancouver isn’t exactly hurting for cap space moving forward, but I have a hard time believing a rebuilding team would be better off paying Gudbranson $4 million per season than trading him for futures.

Data via NaturalStatTrick and Corsica.

Written by Todd Cordell (@ToddCordell)