Preds sign 2012 sixth round pick Marek Mazanec…

Marek Mazanec (Sarah Fuqua)

In a move that could pave the way for Magnus Hellberg to move to the big club, the Nashville Predators have signed 2012 sixth round pick Marek Mazanec to a two-year entry level deal.

Mazanec backstopped HC Plzeň to the Czech Extraliga Championship this past season.

Hellberg has grown leaps and bounds this season with the AHL’s Milwaukee Admirals. So much so that the brass may have him slotted in as Pekka Rinne‘s back-up next season. A more realistic option for the organization, however, is let 2007 second rounder Jeremy Smith move on (he’s an RFA on July 1), keep Hellberg in Milwaukee as the starter, and have Mazanec back him up.

Either way, things just got interesting between the pipes.

The official press release is below.

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Nashville, Tenn. – Nashville Predators President of Hockey Operations/General Manager David Poile announced today that the club has signed 2012 sixth-round draft pick Marek Mazanec (MAIR-ehk muh-ZAN-ehk) to a two-year entry-level contract.

Mazanec, 21 (7/18/91), recently led Plzen to its first Czech League title by stopping 48-of-51 shots in a Game Seven double-OT victory. 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, the 6-4, 189-pound native of Pisek, Czech Republic ranked sixth in the Czech Extraliga in goals-against average (2.49).

Nashville’s ninth choice, 179th overall (sixth round), in the 2012 Entry Draft represented the Czech Republic at the 2011 World Junior Championships and the 2009 World Under-19 Championships.

PHOTO CREDIT: Sarah Fuqua (used with permission)