Toronto Maple Leafs: Even If Injury Is Minor, Andersen Needs a Break

Frederik Andersen, Toronto Maple Leafs (Credit: Marc DesRosiers-USA TODAY Sports)
Frederik Andersen, Toronto Maple Leafs (Credit: Marc DesRosiers-USA TODAY Sports) /

The Toronto Maple Leafs and Jack Campbell beat the Calgary Flames last night, but Freddie Andersen wasn’t even available to back-up because of a lower body injury. 

The Toronto Maple Leafs started the season hot. It seemed as if everyone on the team was clicking, despite some problems with the PK, the Leafs were still ranked 3rd in the NHL in 5v5 save percentage entering March. (With a lot of that high ranking coming from the Leafs two backup goalies who have stellar numbers so far this season).

The team was playing great, then Freddie Andersen returned to the lineup after missing several games with an injury.  They have been in a slide ever since.

Andersen is in the last year of the five-year contract he signed back in 2016. We all know he can play like an elite goaltender, but we also know that he rides momentum. That means he will always start the season cold and only play well once he breaks the ice.

He has a solid record of 13-8-2, but the positivity stops there. His .894 save percentage, and 2.91 goals-against average, are both the worst of his career.  Many expected Andersen to start slow as usual, but no one expected it to go on this long. That is sparking uncertainty surrounding his future with the team.

For the first time since his arrival in Toronto, Andersen’s starting job is up in the air. While he has been struggling, the other goaltenders have been succeeding.  The duo of Jack Campbell and Michael Hutchinson combine for a record of 7-2-0. Both own a save percentage north of .920.

Campbell is considered the team’s backup, with Hutchinson being the emergency goaltender. Had Campbell stayed healthy, I’m sure he would get more ice-time. With that ice-time, he would prove he is worth at least half of the starts. That is while Freddie remains cold.

Give Andersen a break

Since Campbell is back, head coach Sheldon Keefe should consider sitting Andersen for a bit. That may even include scratching him and calling up Hutchinson.  That is what seemed to happen last night, until it was revealed post-game that Andersen is injured (possibly having reaggravated the injury that kept him out at the end of February).

Toronto has only won one game in regulation in the past eight games. The Leafs went from being comfy at the top of the division to the Edmonton Oilers and Winnipeg Jets on their tail. Andersen played six of those games and had a combined save percentage of .862. Whether or not his new injury is minor, he needs to rest. Even if he can play the next game, he shouldn’t.

The team needs more reliable goaltending, and Andersen needs a change of scenery. Give the guy a break, and let Campbell play. When he needs a break, you can either call up Hutchinson or hope Freddie is ready.

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The Toronto Maple Leafs need to fix their goaltending, and they need to do it now. Not changing anything will keep the team from winning and keep Frederik Andersen cold. It’s time to let him reset.