Petr Mrazek is the type of hockey player that’s cut out to be a fan favorite. He’s an ultra competitive goaltender who seems to elevate based on the energy of a home crowd. It’s not uncommon to hear a “Petr!” chant break out during play on the Carolina Hurricanes’ defensive side of the ice at PNC Arena. That’s exactly the environment that the Czech goaltender thrives in.
Two summers ago, Mrazek came to Raleigh on a one year “prove it” contract. He had shown the ability to be a starting goaltender in the NHL early in his career, but he faltered for a few years in both Detroit and Philadelphia. Mrazek ultimately became a free agent after the Flyers decided against tendering him a qualifying offer. His one year contract in Raleigh was as much of a gamble as you can make in the NHL.
The results speak for themselves. Mrazek hasn’t lost a game in PNC Arena since February 3rd. That’s 14 straight wins in front of the hometown crowd. And he’s not just winning in Raleigh — the team has collected the win in 17 out of his last 21 regular season starts, and he shows little signs of slowing down.
After a lackluster start to the season in 2018, Petr Mrazek elevated his game and led the charge to the playoffs last winter. Without his solid play, the team just isn’t able to make such an incredible run to the postseason. It appears that he’s starting a bit earlier this year. He’s 6-1-1 so far this season, and has compiled a .917% Save Percentage and a 2.24 Goals Against Average — both figures would look a bit better if it weren’t for a disastrous game in Anaheim a few weeks ago. Since he signed in Carolina, the team has lost just six games in PNC Arena when Mrazek gets the start. That’s impressive.
For the first time in years, the league-wide Hurricanes narrative isn’t built around a goaltending problem. Some of that is a result of a drastically improved Canes roster, some of it is because Petr Mrazek has been playing out of his mind for the better part of a year. Given his performances in Detroit early in his career, it’s really not surprising. Petr does it all — he’s a great goaltender, a mentor to younger players like Martin Necas, and a fiery fan favorite. Above all else, he seems like he’s having fun. You really couldn’t ask for more out of your number one goaltender.