Mrazek Confident, What Will the Blue Line Look Like, Thompson In The Mix for USA WJC Spot, and Other Blackhawks Bullets

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Mrazek Confident, What Will the Blue Line Look Like, Thompson In The Mix for USA WJC Spot, and Other Blackhawks Bullets

Chicago Blackhawks

With a fresh start and a chance to be the No. 1 goaltender in Chicago, Petr Mrazek feels ready to make an impact for the Blackhawks after an injury-riddled season in Toronto that saw him post some of his career-worst numbers.

  • The newest Blackhawks goaltender met with the Chicago media for the first time on Wednesday morning, and he lacked no confidence that with his injuries behind him, he’ll take the No. 1 job in Chicago this season and show everyone he’s still capable of competency in net.
  • Mrazek said that he sought out the expertise of a new physiotherapist and a new chiropractor to figure out why he battled injuries last season and that he’s feeling healthy and ready to go for training camp next month.

“It has been a tough two seasons with injuries, so that’s something I want to put aside,” he said. “Being hurt isn’t fun. It sucks.”

  • Mrazek was limited to 20 games last season and posted a .888 save percentage and 3.34 GAA for the Maple Leafs, making expectations for the veteran netminder in Chicago low heading into this season. Couple Mrazek’s spotty recent track record with the young blue line core he’ll be playing behind this season, and Mrazek could be in for a rude awakening despite the heaping serving of confidence he served up over Zoom from his native Czechia.
  • Then again, Mrazek has been in this situation before. After a down season in Philadelphia, Carolina took a gamble on him. Mrazek made that gamble for Carolina pay off, posting a 50-32-8 record and logging a .911 save percentage in three seasons with Carolina, all of which the Hurricanes qualified for the playoffs. That performance earned him a three-year deal with the Maple Leafs ahead of the 2021-22 season.
  • Speaking of the defense playing in front of Mrazek this season, Tab put together an early look at what it might look like:
  • The first paring figures to be Jake McCabe and Seth Jones, and you can probably pencil in Connor Murphy and Caleb Jones behind them if all four are healthy when the season starts. After the top two pairings, things get interesting.
  • Riley Stillman figures to be a regular, and Ian Mitchell should be a regular as it’s time to see what he’s got after he was given a full season to marinate Rockford (in which he played, admittedly well in). Alex Vlasic played well enough at the end of last season and had a strong enough developmental camp to figure into the mix for a regular spot, and Alec Regula should be in the mix as well.
  • The Blackhawks will find themselves in a similar position as last season when it felt like there were too many veteran defensemen taking up regular spots with any luck in the health department, so guys like McCabe and Murphy might find themselves on a new team by the time the trade deadline passes if Davidson likes what he hears on the other end of the phone.
  • If and when McCabe and Murphy are moved, Vlasic, Regula, and Mitchell can all find regular playing time, and the Blackhawks can get an idea of where they stand with them moving forward.
  • The introductory press conferences roll on today, this time with Max Domi meeting the Chicago media at 10:00 am, and I’ll have a write-up on that when it wraps. Until then, here’s what Tab had to say on Domi when news of his signing broke a couple of weeks ago:
  • Jon Morosi reported yesterday that Blackhawks’ prospect Aidan Thompson is firmly in the mix for a spot on Team USA’s WJC roster despite being a late add to camp. Thompson had a solid development camp earlier this month with the Blackhawks, so no surprise there for me.
  • Elsewhere around the NHL, forward Danton Heinen is staying in Pittsburgh on a one-year deal worth $1 million. Heinen logged 33 points (18 G, 15 A) in 76 for the Pens last season.
  • NHL.com takes a look at the Canadiens after the bulk of the offseason moves, including their trade with the Blackhawks for Kirby Dach:
  • These are the vibes… “I’m a writer, but I’m playing golf (later) today.”
  • Stay up to date with the latest at Bears training camp:
  • Trades are happening in baseball!
  • That’s it for today!


Author: Patrick K. Flowers

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