Goalie Petr Mrazek was traded to the Philadelphia Flyers by the Detroit Red Wings on Monday for a conditional fourth-round pick in the 2018 NHL Draft and a conditional third-round pick in the 2019 NHL Draft. Flyers GM Ron Hextall said: “We’re excited to obtain Petr Mrazek. Petr is a proven NHL goaltender, and given the situation we’re in, we needed a proven goaltender”. Mrazek, 26, is 8-7-3 with a 2.89 goals-against average and .910 save percentage in 22 games (18 starts) this season. In the past week, the Flyers lost their top two goalies, Brian Elliott and Michal Neuvirth, to injury. Alex Lyon, who was recalled from Lehigh Valley of the American Hockey League after Elliott was injured during a shootout at the Arizona Coyotes on Feb. 10, relieved Neuvirth against the Rangers. He made 25 saves on 26 shots for his first NHL victory, but it was the fourth game in the League for the 25-year-old rookie. The Flyers (70 points) are tied with the New Jersey Devils for third place in the Metropolitan Division. Hextall added: “Our players have worked hard for a long time and I didn’t think it was fair to not have a proven NHL goaltender for this team. That’s the reason we acted”. Mrazek is 72-58-20 with a 2.60 GAA and .912 save percentage in six NHL seasons, all with Detroit, and 4-6 with a 1.88 GAA and .931 save percentage in 10 Stanley Cup Playoff games. He is in the final season of a two-year contract and can become a restricted free agent July 1. After announcing Elliott’s surgery, Hextall said if he was going to trade for a goaltender, it likely would be for one with no remaining term. Elliott and Neuvirth are signed through next season, and the Flyers are very high on goaltending prospects Carter Hart, who plays for Everett of the Western Hockey League, and Felix Sandstrom, who is with HV 71 in the Swedish Hockey League. The fourth-round pick in 2018 can become a third-round pick if the Flyers reach the playoffs and Mrazek wins five games, Hextall said. It can become a second-round pick if the Flyers reach the Eastern Conference Final and Mrazek wins six playoff games. If the Flyers sign Mrazek to a contract, they will send the Red Wings their third-round pick in the 2019 draft. Hextall also said: “I think [the trade is] fair and reasonable for both sides. If Petr performs, we pay more, Detroit gets more. If he doesn’t, then they still get paid and it costs us a certain amount but it’s not overpaid. If we do have success and we pay, it’s good for us and good for Detroit. I like the makeup of this deal. It’s a fair deal, and I think both teams got what they wanted”. The Red Wings (24-25-9, 57 points) are seven points behind the Carolina Hurricanes and New York Islanders in the race for the second wild card into the playoffs from the Eastern Conference.
The Blackhawks have traded defenceman Michal Kempny to the Capitals for a 2018 third-round pick. The 27-year-old Kempny posted an assist in the Blackhawks’ 7-1 win over the Capitals on Saturday night. He has one goal and seven points in 31 games with Chicago this season. He joined the Blackhawks last season after a strong season with the KHL’s Omsk Avangard in 2015-16. Kempny is averaging 15:19 of ice time per game this season, slightly above the 14:58 mark he posted as a rookie. A native of Hodonin, Czech Republic, Kempny is a pending unrestricted free agent and carries a $900,000 cap hit this season. The Blackhawks will receive the higher of Washington’s third-round pick or the Toronto Maple Leafs’ third-round pick, which the Capitals also currently own. Prior to joining Omsk, Kempny played five seasons in the Czech Republic league.
The Edmonton Oilers forward Milan Lucic has nine goals and 30 points in 56 games this season and has been held without a point in each of his past nine contests. Lucic carries a $6 million cap hit on the seven-year contract he signed with the Oilers in July of 2016. The Oilers knew the contract would be considered overvalued at some point, but didn’t expect it to happen in just his second season. A reporter on TNS Radio Edmonton 1260 said: “When Peter Chiarelli and the Edmonton Oilers embraced the term and the money that was required to bring Milan Lucic to Edmonton, they knew that at some point in the contract it was gonna look ugly. They just couldn’t predict that it would happen as quickly as this. But, you look at the team in general and there’s a myriad of reasons, or at least theories, as to why the Edmonton Oilers haven’t achieved to the level that many of us predicted that they would and Milan Lucic is a part of that. He was brought in for a number of reasons, starting with character and to play a somewhat deterrent role to go along with his ability to be a very good power forward in today’s NHL. The problem is he can’t keep up with Connor McDavid, so he’s not really a strong option on that line. Where do you play him below that? Lucic is incredibly proud. His lack of offence I know isn’t sitting well with him. He wants to earn every penny of his contract and unfortunately, in the moment, that’s not going well for him. What do they do with it? Way too early for that. I think that they’re at least a year out before that becomes a realistic issue”. Lucic said Tuesday he planned to cut his body weight from his current 238-pound frame in the off-season to try to keep up with the increasing pace of NHL play: “Yeah it can. I know I have to do that but I’m a big-boned person. When we were in L.A., we did a test where they’d give you your bone mass. A regular one was eight pounds for an athlete and I was 11 pounds. That’s my natural build. I have changed my diet. I can change my shape. I worked hard on it this summer and felt my legs were going at camp and the start of the season. I have to get down to 225. It’s a matter of will and want”.