Toronto Maple Leafs and Blackhawks Are a Perfect Trade Match for Freddie Andersen

TORONTO, ON - OCTOBER 9: Patrick Kane #88 of the Chicago Blackhawks looks to make a play in front of Frederik Andersen #31 of the Toronto Maple Leafs in an NHL game at the Air Canada Centre on October 9, 2017 in Toronto, Ontario. (Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images)
TORONTO, ON - OCTOBER 9: Patrick Kane #88 of the Chicago Blackhawks looks to make a play in front of Frederik Andersen #31 of the Toronto Maple Leafs in an NHL game at the Air Canada Centre on October 9, 2017 in Toronto, Ontario. (Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images) /

Frederik Andersen is now front and centre within the Toronto Maple Leafs’ rumour mill, yet there’s a perfect trading partner that has yet to be discussed.

Kyle Dubas hasn’t wasted any time when it comes to his offseason workload to get the Toronto Maple Leafs into a more ideal situation heading into next year. While some moves are simply required due to timing, others will be in an effort to upgrade his team.

Kicking things off with a splash, Toronto sent Kasperi Kapanen back to the Pittsburgh Penguins organization that had traded him to the Maple Leafs in 2015. After Kapanen’s struggles through 2019-20, he was a logical choice to help free up some needed funds.

With Toronto currently at the ceiling of their cap, they also have a number of free agents they’ll be looking to retain. More movement will be necessary if they expect to find a way to afford them.

Follow the Money

Frederik Andersen is currently earning an AAV of $5,000,000 and is set to become an unrestricted free agent at the end of next season. Looking at their immediate financial situation and his cost, it makes sense to consider him amongst all options.

If he chooses not to re-sign in Toronto at the end of 2020-21, or they don’t offer him a new deal, then he walks without anything in return. It’s irresponsible to not consider how that impacts the organization’s future.

With that said, they now have a bargaining chip that could help put them into a more ideal situation when it comes to attracting potential trading partners. Consistent goalies are hard to come by and Andersen has been steady for this franchise the past four years.

Proving Himself This Postseason

Although Toronto’s 2019-20 downfalls were far from being isolated to goaltending, Andersen definitely experienced a dip in his play. Surprisingly, though, he did perform well during their short-lived postseason run.

Andersen is typically known to be less successful through the playoffs, but he flipped that script this year. After earning a .936 save percentage, he clearly wasn’t the sole reason Toronto lost their Stanley Cup Qualifiers.

As refreshing as his postseason resurgence was, it may simply be too little too late for justifying that he’ll be sticking around once his term is up. It makes sense for management to explore the value he could return, in finding what they’re after.

Looking For What They Lack

It’s no secret that the Toronto Maple Leafs need help on defense. Specifically, on their right side. Most of the trade rumours to date have included teams with star-studded defensive cores, proclaiming that one would be heading towards to the Maple Leafs.

Yet, there’s one team that hasn’t been included in the predictions that continue to circulate and they are certainly a worthwhile mention. Last season wasn’t brag-worthy for the Chicago Blackhawks, but they do have some pieces that could fit any lacking lineup.

What makes this a more intriguing collaboration is that the Blackhawks are in the market for goaltending support, with Corey Crawford now having concluded his previous contract. Chicago is a competitive franchise that isn’t looking to re-build. They need a solid starter.

Both of these teams are strapped for cash, so there will be moves they’d each have to make for this to be plausible. The reality is that they each have what the other needs. It makes sense for them to have a conversation.

It’s also not to suggest that these would necessarily be one for one type scenarios, but more so that select names stand out amongst the rest when it comes to those that would help both respective teams move forward.

The Blackhawks have an array of younger defensemen who could slot right into the Toronto Maple Leafs lineup and wouldn’t cost Toronto as much as some other proven veterans would. They could then grow alongside their new teammates while providing immediate contributions.

Here is a realistic selection of Chicago’s defensemen that would upgrade the Maple Leafs blue line, who the Blackhawks could justify losing if it meant Andersen was part of the return.

Connor Murphy – RD

For starters, it would take a lot for the Blackhawks to deal this promising 27-year-old. Murphy has the numbers that illustrate he’s one of the best on their backend. However, if Toronto’s price was right then it’s hard to claim it being impossible.

Murphy has an AAV of $3,850,000 until the end of 2021-22, which would put him in line with the Maple Leafs core group that are all contracted through that duration. He logged 21:15 of average ice time, accumulating 27 points, 138 blocks, and 128 hits through 2019-20.

Slater Koekkoek – LD/RD

Not as flashy as Murphy, lacking the numbers that would put him on that same level, 26-year-old Slater Koekkoek still brings value. Although he may be due for a raise from his AAV of $925,000 with a new deal, it won’t be as high as proven stars would demand.

Koekkoek didn’t have as prominent of a role as some of his colleagues, but elevated his play when it mattered most. Throughout the postseason, he was one of only two Chicago defensemen to score and ended at a +4 while his team let in more than three per game.

Adam Boqvist – RD

Adam Boqvist was drafted 8th overall by the Blackhawks at the 2018 NHL Entry Draft. He’s barely gotten his feet wet with the franchise. The now 20-year-old played in 41 games through 2019-20, racking up four goals, nine assists, 43 blocks, and 33 hits in that span.

Still being on his entry-level contract until the end of 2021-22 would be a major financial advantage for Toronto. While Boqvist hasn’t yet come close to his peak, Chicago might have to be willing to part with such potential if they hope to improve in the present.

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Stats courtesy of: Hockey-Reference and CapFriendly.

As the Toronto Maple Leafs continue to reformulate their recipe, they’ll be expecting a big return if they are to part ways with their undisputed starter in Andersen. Financial stability along with the potential of any newly acquired players needs to be factored into making sense of such a move.