Should the Toronto Maple Leafs Move On from Freddie Andersen?

Frederik Andersen, Toronto Maple Leafs (Photo by Frederick Breedon/Getty Images)
Frederik Andersen, Toronto Maple Leafs (Photo by Frederick Breedon/Getty Images) /

Either you love him or hate him, but the Toronto Maple Leafs must decide

For ten seasons, the Toronto Maple Leafs were without their go-to starting goaltender. They would not commit to one goalie until June 20, 2016. It was on that day when things changed.

In a trade with the Anaheim Ducks, the Leafs acquired goaltender Frederick Andersen. They signed him to a five-year contract, making him the clear number one goaltender.

Now playing in his final season under that contract, should Toronto move on from Andersen?

Frederick Andersen’s history in Toronto

I was a big fan of the Danish goalie when he first arrived. He just came off a season where he had a .919 save percentage in 43 games. Having a .947 save percentage in the five playoff games that season added to the excitement.

The thought that finally, the Toronto Maple Leafs found their starting goaltender gave me peace. For his first three seasons in the 6ix, Andersen played well despite facing a ton of shots. He held a .918 save percentage in his first two seasons and a .917 save percentage in his third season.

No goaltender faced more shots than Andersen since his arrival in Toronto in 2016. He faced 350 more shots than the second-place Connor Hellebuyck.

Rather than blaming Andersen, it was the team’s defense that was under fire. Rightfully so, as no goalie should stop 30+ shots in 60+ games per season.

General manager Kyle Dubas has added numerous players over the past two seasons through their AHL team, the Toronto Marlies, trades, and free agency. Among them are defensemen Justin Holl and T.J. Brodie and forwards Alex Kerfoot and Jason Spezza.

Despite the team adding players and getting a new coaching staff, Andersen regressed. The goaltender sits under a .910 save percentage so far this season after ending the ’19-’20 season under that mark.

He has struggled with closing out games and stopping pucks through his five-hole. We just saw a collapse for the team in which a 5-1 lead turned into a 6-5 loss. While Freddie doesn’t deserve all the blame, you can’t say he doesn’t have a large role in the loss.

The 31-year-old’s contract expires this offseason, and that means Dubas will need to decide how to address the goaltending situation. Re-signing Andersen will mean the Leafs continue with their struggles, but at least have a starting goalie. Letting him walk away will force Dubas to find a replacement.

Names to look out for

There aren’t many proven goaltenders expected to hit free agency this offseason. They can take a shot at Devan Dubnyk or Igor Shesterkin, but Dubnyk will be 35 to start next season, and the latter only played in 21 NHL games.

They can give their current backup Jack Campbell a look. Then again, he never played a starting role, with 31 games being the most he played in one season.

There aren’t any reliable options to replace Andersen. The Toronto Maple Leafs failed to draft and develop a goalie for years. That includes the fallout of Joseph Woll and the uncertainty surrounding Ian Scott.

While many are frustrated with Frederick Andersen, there may be other options available on the market. Unless the Toronto Maple Leafs strike a trade for a current starting goaltender, Andersen will return.

Next. Leafs Top 10 Prospects. dark

He is not as bad as some make him seem. He is not an elite goaltender, but Andersen is still a starting goalie in the NHL. I would expect Dubas to sign him to a short-term contract while they search for his eventual replacement.