10 Things To Consider Regarding Frederik Andersen

Photo Credit: John E. Sokolowski/USA TODAY SPORTS

Soo…. that happened. Some of us felt that the Leafs would pick up a new goalie, others felt they would hold on, and out of nowhere, the Leafs continued their tradition of stealing any spotlight back for themselves, making the biggest trade on a more active than anticipated day, sending a 1st and a 2nd round pick to Anaheim for Frederik Andersen.

Some love the trade. Some hate it. Now, most of us have had the chance to sleep on it, or if you’re a night owl like myself, barricade yourself in thought. Here are a few things worth considering before making a final judgement call.

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  • Giving up two picks seems contrarian for a rebuilding team, but it’s worth pointing out teams have contract and extended roster limits to worry about, that the Leafs are days away from having three blue chip forward prospects, and the team has a sizable supporting cast of U23 players. The Leafs were about to go into the draft with an inventory of picks that equaled the most ever. They’ve still got four more than were assigned to them. Late first rounders and early-mid second round picks have a better shot at success than most, but their odds are still low.
  • Andersen has been on Toronto’s radar for a long time. Elliotte Friedman first linked the Leafs to the Danish giant on March 27th, 2015; nearly 15 months ago. Toronto’s new regime have afforded themselves a reputation for being forward thinking and for maximizing their assets. It’s weird to give any Toronto-based group the benefit of the doubt, but the fact that they made the very surprising first move on the goalie market probably means that they see something in him and didn’t want another team (looking at you, Calgary) to move in first.
  • Maybe that “secret thing” has something to do with the new goalie equipment changes ahead? It was reported back in March that goaltenders would have the shape of their pants and upper body gear slimmed down for the upcoming season. Andersen is a genuinely big goalie; not just tall at 6’4, but far from lanky at 220 pounds. He’s someone who will likely not have much trimmed off of him, as he appears to fill out his gear as it is. On top of that, he is known for having top end post to post movement; agile goalies will see the least amount of hassle from the switch. He fits the bill in every way, which is a reason for optimism.
  • If you want to talk about recent comparable trades, last offseason saw Robin Lehner and David Legwand head to Ottawa for a 1st round pick on June 26th, Eddie Lack head to Carolina for a 3rd and 7th round pick on the 27th, Cam Talbot head to Edmonton for a 2nd, 3rd, and swap of 7th round picks on the 27th, and Martin Jones head to San Jose for a 2016 1st round pick and Sean Kuraly on the 30th. These are all reasonably hefty returns, and Andersen’s quantities were a little bit better known than anyone else’s were in the group.
  • Other goalies in the league signed for between 4.1-5.9 million: Steve Mason, Jonathan Bernier, the aforementioned Cam Talbot, Craig Anderson, Devan Dubnyk, Antti Niemi, Jaroslav Halak, Jimmy Howard, Roberto Luongo, Mike Smith, Marc-Andre Fleury, Jonathan Quick, Kari Lehtonen, Semyon Varlamov, and Ben Bishop. Only Andersen, Talbot, and Fleury had above league average save percentages in all three years leading into their signing, but most managed to get 2 of 3 years in and kept their performances up in the immediate seasons that followed.

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  • Andersen’s consistency in save percentage is something that has carried with him across multiple leagues. He was a 0.920 or above in all three of his seasons in Denmark, 0.943 in the SHL, 0.930 in the AHL, and is now 0.918 in his NHL career. He has never dipped below 0.914 (his second year in Anaheim) since hitting the men’s pro ranks. 
  • This is further shown in his Quality Start percentages. In his first 125 NHL games, he’s posted a quality start (above league average or >0.885 in games with <20 shots) in 68 of them (59.6%). This year, he was 64.9%, one of the best years of any goalie on our list and the best contract year of anybody other than Dubnyk (who got 4.33M at 28) or Varlamov (5.9M at 26). Having an above average goalie who you can rely on to keep you in most games is arguably more valuable than having one who can dominate or cost you a game on any given night.
  • Toronto doesn’t need him to win the Vezina to see a drastic improvement, anyway. In a doomsday scenario where Stamkos doesn’t sign, Matthews, Marner, and Nylander aren’t better than the rental crew, everybody’s sticks stay dry, the team still gives up 19 empty net goals, and the defence doesn’t get any better, the Leafs need to eliminate 48 goals to hit a goal differential of 0. That requires a team save percentage of 0.921, which isn’t drastically above Andersen’s career average. If the offence is still equally bad but the team can remove 100 shots on goal, they only need a 0.917. 
  • Speaking of Steven Stamkos, “We just got an above average goaltender despite needing only average to get 30 goals better” probably helps their pitch if (when) he hits the market, as does proving they’re willing to commit to beginning the climb now and that they’ll sign other players with term if they’re the right fit.
  • This leaves Jonathan Bernier in a bit of a rough place, especially with Lou Lamoriello making it clear that Andersen is their starting goaltender moving forward. With that said, I don’t think the Leafs are going to hold out for a massive bidding war for him, and moving him in the next three weeks shouldn’t be a problem. Teams without financial restraints might want to pounce on picking him up for a pick or fringe prospect in the coming days, or if you’re a cap floor team, you wait until Bernier is paid his $2M bonus on July 1st to pick up a goaltender likely to at least somewhat rebound with a $4.15M cap hit and a $2.15M salary.

I can’t say that the move was a home run in my eyes, especially  at the moment that it was made. My initial reaction was that those were a lot of picks to give up for a market that some speculated would be overflowing with goaltenders, and that the Leafs seemed to be a little eager to pony up the money.

In fact, I still wonder if they could have ridden Jonathan Bernier out to the sunset and addressed the situation at the end of next season. But now that the dust has settled a bit, it’s fair to say that this was a line drive acquisition by the Blue and White. Andersen’s history implies that he’s a stable goaltender that will more often than not give you what you need to be competitive on a night in, night out basis. If Toronto feels that their skaters will be able to overwhelm their opponents on most nights, a reliable “good enough” goaltender might be just the right fit for the foreseeable future. We’ll see if Andersen is that guy.

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  • Mitch92

    I would add to your list that the leafs got Andersen for a steal of a trade as value for an elite young goalie is much higher. And 5M for 5 years is a great cap efficient deal for a goalie that just about every team envies. On the open market, Andersen would have costed 6 to 7M at least and that would be the starting spot for the negotiation.

    Finally, the leafs after all this years have a capable starting goalie especially after the yo yo disasters of Bernier and Reimer the past few seasons. Andersen is much better talent then these other two goalies and his contract is vastly superior.

    Lou got the most sought after available goalie in the NHL for peanuts and signed him for a low term cap efficient deal. Lou and his crowbar does it yet again.

    • Trevor5555

      Are you suggesting it would take more or less time? I think next year we’ll still be a bottom 10 team in the league with a chance of fighting for the last playoff spot. I think the playoffs are very realistic in 2017-18. I think being a top 10 team is the goal in 2018-2019.

      • jasken

        He is not far off in that statement. It just dont happen that fast they need a continuous supply of talent and Leafs dont have that quality type of pool and wont for years.

        It wasn’t a knock against competing for a year it was a statement that the talent pool just isn’t there for continuous competing not in 3-5 years. You have those who just wont make NHL, injuries, cap issues. There are lots of things to prepare for and to maintain competitiveness.

        That’s the way I looked at that statement.

        • jasken

          Let’s not forget that the teams that are competitive now will be challenged in 3-5 years as their stars fade. Hard in a cap world to always be competitive. It is a combination of Leafs improving and maturing as other teams like the Hawks, Ducks, Kings, Rangers, Caps, Pens, etc.. age that lends credence to a 3-5 year window.

          I think buddy’s comment was more anti-Leaf than anything grounded in practicality. And unfortunately, history has proven these bozos right time and time again. But, you know, this time is different of course!

          • jasken

            Chicago’s rebuild started in 1999 they contended constently starting in 2009. Pittsburgh started theirs in 2001 and it took them 5 years. The Ducks got what is called an over abundance of players making it to NHL from their drafts more so than any team in the league with 15 regulars. Kings took 7 Years and Rangers still are not competing every year 2003 rebuild announcement. Which brings to Caps are you sure they are a constent threat every year I know they made it this year but they announced their rebuild in 1998 and still trying.

            When do you think their rebuilds started? What you think and when they started are 2 different things. I would like to believe the Leafs do it faster than Penguins but it dont make it so.

      • Gary Empey

        Your opinion is definitely in the majority for very sound reasons. There may be some confusion over the semantics of the word competitive.

        I am basing my opinion on a few things. This week when Lamoriello was asked, he stated he thought the Leafs were competitive last year. He mentioned over 20 goals were empty netters. He mentioned under Babcock the Leafs still had a chance to win at the end of almost every game. Let’s not forget we knocked off some of the top teams like Dallas.

        At the trade deadline the Leafs made their move for a top lottery pick, by jettisoning off veterans for picks and prospects, then bringing up the first wave from the Marlies. After a couple of games under Babcock that first wave nearly blew up the tank, and had to be sent down, because of how competitive they were.
        The second tier came up and got the job done by losing 7 of the last 10 games. Still they were competitive and showing improvement under Babcock.

        If it had all ended right there then your thoughts would be right on the money.
        But it didn’t stop there. We won the lottery. We added an allstar defenceman. This week we have filled in a major hole in the net. Later this week we will be adding a true number one center who looks ready for prime time.

        Lastly, parity. When I look at the Atlantic Division and which teams have made some good moves. So far only Florida. I firmly believe even though the media hasn’t caught on yet, Tampa has big management problems. After looking great in the Stanley Cups finals they were in danger of missing the playoffs last year, until they snapped out of it half way through he season. Stamkos has a good reason for wanting out, and I doubt it is only money. Who wouldn’t want to live in Tampa millions of dollars in your pocket. The beach, fishing, hot women, summers off to spend in God’s country at the cottage? That whole business with Drouin was a sure sign of it. Punishing a young player whom you are unwilling to put in the lineup for the previous year and a half, for quietly asking for a trade, sends two messages. We are the absolute boss, and if you don’t like how we treat you, we will ruin your career.

        I see Toronto by grabbing the 3rd or even 2nd spot, in the Atlantic, avoiding the circus that is sure come in the fight for those final two wildcard spots.

        Finally I noticed at the start of the week, the Vegas odds, of the Leafs winning the Cup were 66 to 1. We all know the Leafs are a longshot but those are great odds. If you know where to get a bet down, for a sawbuck you could walk away with $666.00. If you are superstitious about the number 666, make it twenty

  • Mitch92

    The only downside to this acquisition is that they traded the 30th overall selection. I think many were hoping that they might use that pick in an attempt to move up in the draft. As I see that as an unlikely possibility I am happy to see them spend the asset in acquiring a legit number one goalie. The Leafs still have many other picks and assets available to them to make other moves. Cap space is getting tight so packaging some bodies with picks and prospects might be the way to go with any future transactions leading up to the draft. Will they have room to sign both Stamkos and Vesey with guys like Lupul, Horton and Robidas eating valuable cap space? The 10% overage cushion may save their bacon leading up to the season but they still need to be compliant before they can begin to use the LTIR space provided by Horton. Expect a the Leafs to pluck a defender at the beginning of the regular season once the other teams determine who they can or can’t afford.

  • Gary Empey

    Andersen’s contract seems to be designed so that if either Andersen or the Leafs unexpectedly run into future problems, the contract is still moveable.

    I tried to find out if there is a no trade clause but could not find out.

  • Trevor5555

    I think it was a great trade at the perfect time. During a rebuild you need a goalie that inspires confidence so the prospects can play their game without thinking every mistake can end up on the scoresheet.

    Andersen was one of the best potentially available and waiting untill next year would only limit the Leafs options. Hes at the perfect point in his development just entering his prime.

    Now that the goalie situation is dealt with the leafs can focus on trying to add a good young d-man to the mix. Why not stick with Anaheim and try to help them avoid losing one of those talented young defenders they are overstocked with? Lindholm, Despres, Fowler or Vatanen would look good in blue and white.

  • The tank is over. Long live the tank.

    I enjoyed reading this article, it seems to be the fairest and most considered take I’ve come across yet. Andersen has never really looked like a world-beater any time I’ve seen him, but he does seem to be an upgrade on what Bernier has become.

    I always liked Bernier and it would have been nice to see him succeed here but he seems like a diminished player since the tank rolled in to town, and I imagine he would benefit from a new situation as well.

  • Foximus

    From everything I’ve seen so far with the rebuild in TO I don’t believe anyone can complain.

    Anderson is a solid goalie with the history to prove it. A 30th pick isn’t a guarantee, especially with a goalie. Anderson is a guaranteed starter.

    Now I suspect Lou and company will start focusing on the d. That’s their biggest question mark going forward.

    They have an amazing group of forward prospects with an extremely high upside and I’m guessing Hunter will find more this year.

    Everyone wishes they had this management team running their team.

  • Capt.Jay

    So our core is something like this If we sign Stamkos

    Stamkos, Mathews, Marner, Nylander. 1 is a blue chip, 3 will be soon.
    JVR, Kadri, 2 great supporting cast members.
    Komarov, Bozak, 2 good supporting cast members.

    That’s 8 solid NHL forwards, with 4 of them being potential elite and the others good to at least above average.


    Rielly, Gardiner, 2 great supporting crew members.
    Zeitsev, ?????? But probably above average

    That’s half of what we need on defence


    Andersen, good.
    Bernier, bad
    A competent back up to Andersen cough cough Reimer and goaltending is set.

    Prospects and question marks


    Kapennen, Brown, Hyman, Lypseic, Leivo, Gauthier, Bracco,


    Dermott, Harrington,Loov, Valiev, Percy, Carrick.

    Can any of the prospects step up and be good third and forth liners? Can any of the defense prospects step up and be 4.5, and 6 D man?

    I like the first two lines for sure. Very exciting.

    • Gary Empey

      Aye Aye Captain. The lads are just wheeling the last of the crew on board now. They look a little rough but they will come around in a couple of days at sea. We can always “Shanghai” a couple more on our way, if we need them.

  • Gary Empey

    This is moving a little quicker than expected, but with a goal to compete in years 3 – 5 this deal fits well.

    Now, if Stammer signs the core of Stamkos -Matthews – Kadri – Marner – Nylander – JVR – Reilly – Gardiner – Zaitsev – Anderssen – Babcock is intriguing. Overloaded at the forward position and in need of an elite D. I think they will wait to see how Zaitsev plays out, and then make a decision on whether they can package up JVR and one of the blue chip forwards to acquire an elite young D over next 2 years. If Stamkos does not sign, then we’ll simply have to be more patient to see where the management team can extract some value from other teams in years 1 – 3 which is fine. Hopefully a few more of our picks/prospects bubble up, but number 1 focus is Stamkos if available at fair value and the elusive elite D.

    Can TLN do a piece on what it would take for stars to align on John Tavares? Shanahan has to have some hooks in here, lacrosse and west TO connection and what not. He’d fit the timeframe better but may be more expensive given Stamkos health issues.

  • GY99

    This is a great start to the season. Leafs haven’t had long-term quality goaltending since pre-lockout with Eddie Belfour.
    Sing Stamkos, pick Matthews and I can’t see how this team doesn’t make a run for the playoffs next year. This re-build has the opportunity to really get some forward momentum this summer.
    We don’t need to be the Oilers and pick 1st overall every year. Gets old after awhile.

  • jasken

    I’ve watched every ducks game, many in person, for the last 10 years and know that Andersen is going to be a pleasant surprise for leafs fans. The guy’s incredible

  • SEER

    ..And I’ll give my apologies in advance, for any more possible typos…
    Haven’t got a lot to say about it, until I see him play at least 10 games with the Leafs,
    but I will say that he is most likely an upgrade over Bernier, for sure…

    Management must know more about him.. I do trust them, so far..

    Frederik Andersen /
    Goalie / shoots L /
    Born Oct 2 1989 / Herning, Denmark /
    26 yrs. ago /
    Height 6.04 / Weight 220


    2013-14 – Anaheim Ducks – NHL
    28 Games… 20 Wins.. 5 Losses… 0 Ties… *0 S/O’s..
    .923 SV % … 2.29 GAA..

    2013-14 – Norfolk Admirals – AHL
    1 Game… 1 Win.. *1 S/O..
    7 Games… 3 Wins.. 2 Losses… 5 Ties… *0 S/O’s..
    .899 SV % … 3.10 GAA..
    2014-15 – Anaheim Ducks – NHL
    54 Games… 35 Wins.. 12 Losses… 5 Ties… *3 S/O’s..
    .914 SV % … 2.38 GAA..

    16 Games… 11 Wins.. 5 Losses… 0 Ties… *1 S/O..
    .913 SV % … 2.34 GAA..
    2015-16 – Anaheim Ducks – NHL
    43 Games… 22 Wins.. 9 Losses… 4 Ties… *3 S/O’s..
    .919 SV % … 2.30 GAA..
    5 Games… 3 Wins.. 2 Losses… 0 Ties… *1 S/O…
    .947 SV % … 1.41 GAA..

    Nucleus: Frederik Andersen 2014-16 Saves & Highlights – TML (*HD)

    —> https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N1w6FIIXdxk

  • Brent Wisken

    Not quite sure if I like the acquisition and signing either. I’m going to be patient before deciding, see how it plays out. Another point to think about – having a good goalie can be helpful for a rebuilding team with prospects already playing in the NHL. It allows the young players to make mistakes and still keep their confidence knowing that their goalie will bail them out. I remember Florida using that justification when acquiring Luongo, saying that it would allow their young d-men to keep their confidence.

  • Brad Rose

    Great article!

    I think if anything Andersen gives Leafs a chance each night to be competitive which is all you can ask for. In addition, should they decide to say draft a goalie during the draft, this will allow them to let that player develop or see what you have with Sparks/Bibeau with the Marlies.

    As long as they play better defensibly in front of Andersen I think they’ll be fine. It’s a gamble no matter how you look at it but I trust Lou and the process. One thought though, if a 1st and a 2nd is the going rate for a goalie, much less 5 mil/5 years what’s that say for other goalies about to hit the market?