Toronto Maple Leafs: Can Freddie Andersen be Carey Price?

TORONTO, ON - NOVEMBER 7: Frederik Andersen #31 of the Toronto Maple Leafs makes a huge glove save against the Vegas Golden Knights during an NHL game at Scotiabank Arena on November 7, 2019 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images)
TORONTO, ON - NOVEMBER 7: Frederik Andersen #31 of the Toronto Maple Leafs makes a huge glove save against the Vegas Golden Knights during an NHL game at Scotiabank Arena on November 7, 2019 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images) /

The Toronto Maple Leafs staring goalie Frederik Andersen has had an extremely up and down season.

The Toronto Maple Leafs star goalie was, prior to this season, among the most consistent goaltenders in the NHL.

This is easily resembled in his raw Save Percentage year-over-year from 2013-2014 to 2018-2019, with his best being .923% and, his worst S% being .914%.

This season through 52 games, Andersen has put up a .909 Save Percentage which clearly doesn’t resemble his past performance, and which has greatly contributed to the Leafs problems this season. 

Toronto Maple Leafs and Freddie Andersen

This all brings us to the question, could the restart of the season help Andersen’s performance moving forward with a mental and physical break?

The first thing that comes to mind for me is more on the pessimistic side of things. With Andersen it is well known by hardcore fans that his performance in October is generally subpar. It seems as though he needs a certain amount of time to get used to the speed of the game every season.

Since Andersen has been with the Toronto Maple Leafs his October S% averages out at .899% which is far from ideal for any starting goaltender.

The idea that Andersen generally starts out the season poorly is a fact, but the idea that he will start the renewal of the season poorly is only a theory. In fact, in the 2018-2019 season, Andersen’s October S% was 919%  which goes to show that he has not had a bad start every season.

Curving back to the more optimistic standpoint, a physical and mental break for Andersen could prove to be a favorable situation.

The most obvious concept on the mental well-being of Andersen is he will be able to come back with a fresh mind after a noticeably rough season. Having the opportunity to come back strong and makeup for a rough season will allow for a positive mindset that can come with many benefits that may translate into his game.

Andersen will have had the time to review some of what went wrong this season to come back better. He has noted that he is working to stay “sharp”  and has been in communication with Steve Briere discussing video and drills.

The physical health of Andersen has been widely discussed over the past few seasons and I am confident everyone has pondered about load manging Andersen’s workload to keep him healthy for the playoffs.  The pause of the NHL season has done exactly that for Andersen and he will surely be healthy if the NHL does resume.

At 30 years-old and with multiple injuries over the years including a neck injury only this past February, a physical break will be crucial for Andersen to perform at the highest possible level.

Why Can’t Andersen Be Regarded Like Carey Price?

I’m am sure most have been keeping up with the recent news about the 24 team playoff format where Montreal makes the playoffs as the last seed. With this, several headlines have come about discussing how Carey Price has the ability to steal series and win a cup for the Habs.

As a reaction to this, I would like to ask the question of why Andersen can’t be regarded like Price as he has shown he can be an amazing goalie as well.

The funny thing is, Carey Price has not been a top 5 goalie statistically since 2016, whereas Andersen has been a consistent top goaltender almost every season in recent memory except the current season.

I am well aware that Price was amazing, but his prime was years ago.

Admittedly Price has had a few stints of brilliance recently but you can say that for almost any NHL starting goaltender.

For example, Andersen has shown he can have moments of brilliance. Take November of this season where Andersen put up a .937 S%, I’d consider that a stint of brilliance.

When we account for Andersen’s entire year this season it comes out as a well below average season even with the amazing month of November, just as Price’s recent seasons have concluded.

I’m not going to say Carey Price doesn’t have it in him to turn up come playoffs and carry the Habs to victory. I think Andersen has the ability to do exactly that, and you can say this for almost every starting goalie in the league.

There is, of course, the other side of things where Price or Andersen or any goaltender can come back and completely fall apart.

The point is, if members of the media are arguing for Price having the ability to take over an entire playoffs and he may have that ability, but betting Andersen to be able to do such a thing would be a stronger argument based on recent annual performance.

The unpredictability and uncertainty are what makes hockey such a fantastic sport.

So Will The Restart To The Season Be a Good or Bad Thing For Frederik Andersen?

Obviously we can’t be sure, but while looking at past performance and theories I can imagine there is hardly any negative that can sprout from this situation.

The number one thing that will come from the break for Andersen is a break mentally and physically where he is able to start as if it were a fresh new season in peak condition. Ending the rhythm of a bumpy season can only be a profitable thing.

It is entirely possible that Andersen comes and plays like “October Freddie” but if he was playing bad while the season was still going, he was already in that subpar level of play anyway so there is no way a restart could do harm.

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It would be difficult for Andersen to play any worse than he did before the pause, so it is much more likely he improves.