Freddie Andersen is set to become a free agent this offseason, so instead of letting him walk for free and potentially costing the Toronto Maple Leafs a Stanley Cup, maybe they should move on?
When Andersen is playing is “A-game,” he’s a top-10 goaltender in the NHL. His calm demeanor rivals Carey Price, but just like his North Division counterpart, both netminders haven’t been up to standard in a while. The Tororonto Maple Leafs can do better.
Trading, or trading for, a goaltender is the hardest thing to do in the NHL. Team’s rarely move their starting goaltender and when they do, it’s usually past their prime. Currently making $5M per season, it’s hard to find much better value than that contract heading into the NHL Trade Deadline.
Although the value is great, Andersen has been pretty mediocre this season. In year’s past, you could always argue that the defense in front of Freddie was abysmal and he was doing much better than his stats would show. However, this season, his stats are even worse than normal with a much improved defense.
The Leafs don’t need Andersen to be a Vezina Trophy type of netminder every night to win games. Toronto currently leads the NHL in Goals For, so a “good” performance from their goalie every night should help them secure the win.
Andersen has a 2.86 GAA, .900 Sv% and 13-7-2 record this year. Michael Hutchinson and Jack Campbell have a combined 1.86 GAA, 0.937 Sv% and 6-2-0 record when in net. (nhl.com).
I know the sample size is 14 fewer games with their back-up’s, but that’s a huge jump. Maybe the Leafs play harder when their back-up is in net because they don’t trust them like Andersen, but whatever the reasoning is, something has to change.
Although the core-four and offense needs to shine when the playoffs start, this team will only go as far as their goaltender takes them. It’s rare that a team will make it to the Stanley Cup Finals, or even win, without above-average goaltending. If Andersen doesn’t bring his best self in May, then he can say goodbye to an extension in Toronto or a big-time payday somewhere else.
Toronto has a limited window to win a Stanley Cup and Andersen could be getting in their way. As such, it may be time to trade him before the Deadline, acquire an asset and move on. That’s a bold move to make mid-season, but it could shake the dressing room up and show the team that they’re not messing around this year.
Here are three goalies that could replace Andersen as the starter heading into the playoffs.