Tuesday, December 06, 2022

Leafs send Blackhawks to goaltender Marzek

MONTREAL – The Toronto Maple Leafs traded goaltender Petr Marzek and his 2022 first-round draft substitute in Chicago on Thursday for the Blackhawks’ 2022 second-round selection.

Abandoning their first-round picks, Toronto took off the final two seasons of Marzek’s contract and held none of the $3.8 million per year cap hit. The backup goalkeeper is coming off an injury-prone campaign where he leads 12-6-0 with .888 SV% and 3.34 GAA. Marzek was eventually sidelined late in the regular season due to a groin injury that would also keep him out of Toronto’s first-round playoff run.

This was not the production Toronto was looking for when general manager Kyle Dabas brought Marzek on board to support Jack Campbell last summer. Now, Campbell is a pending unrestricted free agent, and Toronto needs more space to potentially re-sign not only Campbell, but also banned free agent defender Rasmus Sandin.

Removing Marzek from the books gives the Leafs more than $10 million in space next season.

In Mazek, the Blackhawks will have a goalie looking to rebound. The veteran played well for the Carolina Hurricanes from 2018 to 2021, going 50-32-8 with .911 SV%. If that kind of output can get Chicago from Marzek, its crease should be in a better position, as Marc-Andre Fleury was traded to Minnesota in March.

The Blackhawks had cap space to burn – especially after trading Alex Debrincat to Ottawa earlier in the day – and were not signed to the NHL-caliber Bullets for the next season. It gives them a known object to fill that gap.

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