Healthy and Confident Petr Mrazek Ready to Help Young Blackhawks This Season

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Petr Mrazek

Healthy and Confident Petr Mrazek Ready to Help Young Blackhawks This Season

Chicago Blackhawks

Getting traded isn’t fun for a professional athlete. It’s probably less fun being traded for essentially nothing the season after you signed a three-year deal to play on a Stanley Cup contending team. Heading to a team in the infancy of the rebuild was the icing on the cake for veteran netminder Petr Mrazek who said that the draft night trade to Chicago was difficult news to process in his introductory press conference this afternoon.

Having some time to process the news, Mrazek sounds like he’s moved on mentally and is looking forward to the new situation in Chicago, one that will allow him to play as many games as possible and bounce back from a disappointing injury-plagued season in Toronto, where he posted a .888 save percentage and a 3.34 GAA in 20 games with the Maple Leafs.

“It’s always difficult to hear that news [of being traded] and being moved, but I see it as an opportunity for me to be healthy and play a lot of games, and that’s all that matters. I’ll try to do as best I can to support the team and the fans and everything around. So, the news was difficult because you sign a three-year deal in Toronto, but like I said, [the] number one thing is for me to stay healthy, and I’m really happy to be in Chicago.”

Mrazek said that his top priority this offseason, regardless of where he was going to be playing, was to find new doctors and figure out why he was hurt all last season and how he could avoid another season of the like.

Mrazek said that he’s feeling great right now after finding a new physiotherapist and chiropractor who have addressed the injuries that led to one of the worst seasons of his career.

“Yeah, last year it was a tough season being healthy. I think I was struggling all season long with the injuries. That’s not what a player wants, but I feel really, really good right now. After the season, I took some time off and changed some things in the offseason workouts. I started seeing some different specialists for physios (Physiotherapists) and chiropractors that showed me the way that I should stay healthy.”

Mrazek was asked if he had something to prove this season, to which he rebutted, saying that he’s always ready to go, and last season was simply a matter of not being healthy.

“I’m always motivated,” Mrazek said. “Every single year, every single game I play. I don’t think there’s something to prove, I’ve been in the league for a long time, and I know how to prepare for the season and how to prepare for the games. Like I said, injuries happen in a hockey career to everyone, and last year especially was the year that I wasn’t able to stay healthy. So, for me, the number one priority is to prepare this offseason and get ready and healthy and play the game that I like, and I know how to play.”

One of Mrazek’s best seasons came in 2018 when he signed with the Carolina Hurricanes after a down season in Philadelphia the year prior. In his first season with the Hurricanes, Mrazek posted a .914 save percentage and a 2.39 GAA in 40 games with Carolina.

Now, after one of his worst seasons, Mrazek has a similar chance to bounce back in Chicago, but Mrazek doesn’t see the parallels.

“I don’t think there are any similarities to that,” Mrazek said. “I was coming off of a tough year playing the whole season (in 2018), and last year I played 20 games, and I won 13 of them, I believe. Being hurt is more difficult than coming off of a bad season.”

Mrazek lacked no confidence that injuries alone plagued him last season and that he was ready and prepared to contribute to the Blackhawks this season in his first conversation with the Chicago media.

I asked Mrazek how he sees himself helping the young Blackhawks blue line core that he’ll be playing behind this season, and Mrazek said that he’s simply going to support them as best he can.

“Like you said, it’s going to be a younger team,” Mrazek said. “I feel like just being positive. I’m sure once the season starts and the younger guys play more games, they’re going to feel more comfortable playing, and I want to help them with anything they need, and I’ll help them as much as I can.”

Mrazek mentioned a few times that he’s looking forward to playing as many games as he can this season, and as of now, he’s paired with fellow veteran goaltender Alex Stalock in net in Chicago. Stalock is also coming off a pair of injury-riddled seasons where he played just one game with the San Jose Sharks last season and none the season prior but posted a strong 2019-20 campaign when he logged a .910 save percentage and 2.67 GAA for the Minnesota Wild.

Author: Patrick K. Flowers

Patrick is a Staff Writer at Bleacher Nation. You can follow him on Twitter @PatrickKFlowers.