The Nashville Predators have just announced that they have re-signed goaltender Marek Mazanec to a new one-year, two-way contract to keep him in the organization through the 2016-17 season. Mazanec has spent the past three seasons in the Predators organization and has logged 118 career games with the Milwaukee Admirals in the AHL.
Press Release via Nashville Predators:
Nashville, Tenn. (June 13, 2016) – Nashville Predators President of Hockey Operations/General Manager David Poile announced today that the club has signed goaltender Marek Mazanec (MAIR-ehk muh-ZAN-ehk) to a one-year, two-way contract worth $575,000 at the NHL level and $100,000 at the AHL level for the 2016-17 season.
Mazanec, 24 (7/18/91), tied for 12th among AHL netminders in goals-against average (2.45), tied for 14th in wins (19) and tied for sixth in shutouts (4) with Milwaukee during the 2015-16 campaign, his third season in North America. In 27 career NHL contests since 2013-14, the 6-4, 202-pound native of Pisek, Czech Republic has posted an 8-11-4 record with a 2.77 goals-against average, a .902 save percentage and two shutouts in 27 appearances. Mazanec played the fifth-most minutes of any rookie NHL goaltender (1,369:32) in 2013-14, appearing in 25 contests for the Predators and being named the NHL’s Rookie of the Month for November 2013 after going 5-4-1 with two shutouts, a 2.00 goals-against average and a .933 save percentage.
In his final season in the Czech League in 2012-13, Nashville’s ninth choice, 179th overall (sixth round), in the 2012 Entry Draft led Plzen to its first title by stopping 48-of-51 shots in a Game Seven double-OT victory in the league final. He ranked fourth in 2013 playoff goals-against average (2.13) and sixth in save percentage (.932), in addition to tying for second in shutouts (2). During the 2012-13 regular season, Mazanec ranked sixth in the Czech Extraliga in goals-against average (2.49).
Despite not logging a game in the NHL this past season I would go on record by stating that the 2015-16 campaign from Mazanec was his best since arriving in North America. In the past, there would be moments, stretches, or spurts where it would seem as if Mazanec was a deer caught in headlights. There was no such occurrence of that with Mazanec this season and his numbers reflect that: 39 appearances (38 starts), 19-15-5-2 record, 2.45 goals against average, 0.912 save percentage, and 4 shutouts. If not for the last game of the regular season, where he was hung out to dry in Rockford, he would have set career bests for himself in goals against average and save percentage. Additionally, his shootout numbers greatly improved going from a 0.565 shootout percentage (10 shootout goals allowed) to a 0.800 shootout percentage (3 shootout goals allowed).
What’s interesting about this signing is that it doesn’t quite signal the end of Carter Hutton‘s tenure with the Predators organization just yet. This deal for Mazanec is 100% identical to that of last season when he re-signed to a one-year, two-way contract for the same amount of money. It isn’t to say Mazanec won’t be in the running to back-up Pekka Rinne. He will be. It just doesn’t mean he is an immediate lock for the job.
The goaltending group is right now could be set organization-wide with Rinne and Mazanec in Nashville, Juuse Saros and Jonas Gunnarsson in Milwaukee, and Brandon Whitney in Cincinnati. This could all be given an extra curveball should Hutton come back into the picture or if the back-up role to Rinne is a two horse race between last year’s goaltending duo in Milwaukee.
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