Toronto Maple Leafs goalie Frederik Andersen is ready to return this week.
After being out since December 23, Frederick Andersen is ready to return this Saturday when the Toronto Maple Leafs take the ice against the Boston Bruins.
Andersen hasn’t played since a December 22 game against the New York Rangers, where, one supposes, he injured his groin. The Leafs won that game 5-3.
The injury was at first not considered serious, but it will have cost Andersen three weeks.
Not only did Freddie Andersen get injured, but back-up goalie Garrett Sparks (playing decent enough in his role despite a certain contingent of the fan base intent on complaining about him regardless) was injured as well when William Nylander hit him in the face with a puck in practice. Sparks has been in ‘concussion protocol’ ever since.
In the interim, the Leafs sent a 2020 fifth rounder to the Panthers for goalie Michael Hutchinson, who has played fantastic in an emergency role. In three games, Hutchinson only won one, but he kept the Leafs in it and at least gave them a chance in every game he played.
The Toronto Maple Leafs have played to a 3-3 record since Andersen went down, and they have one more game against the New Jersey Devils tonight before he returns.
Should the Leafs win tonight – and it’s highly likely that they will, since the New Jersey Devils are an absolutely awful team – they will have had a winning record without their starter, which included several games (probably four, assuming Hutchinson plays tonight) where they were reduced to their third string goalie.
That isn’t too shabby.
Despite the star power of the Toronto Maple Leafs, Frederik Andersen is arguably their MVP so far this year, since they are in second place overall in the league standings despite some questionable defense that has seen them be one of the NHL’s worst teams in terms of shots allowed.
Near the bottom of the NHL in shots allowed, and the middle of the pack in terms of puck possession, the Leafs record is much better than it has any right to be. Some have defended their defense by noting the goals against numbers, but history shows that low goals against numbers don’t last when the underlying numbers are bad.
Andersen helps the Leafs hide their biggest flaw, and he is once again included in the conversation for the Vezina Trophy, the award that goes to the NHL’s best goalie at the end of the season.
Should Andersen maintain his stellar play upon his return, he should have a good chance of finally winning the elusive Vezina.