Leafs: Tough to Pass Up Opportunity to Acquire Frederik Andersen

Nov 6, 2015; Anaheim, CA, USA; Anaheim Ducks goalie Frederik Andersen (31) makes a save against the Columbus Blue Jackets during the third period at Honda Center. The Anaheim Ducks won 4-2. Mandatory Credit: Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports
Nov 6, 2015; Anaheim, CA, USA; Anaheim Ducks goalie Frederik Andersen (31) makes a save against the Columbus Blue Jackets during the third period at Honda Center. The Anaheim Ducks won 4-2. Mandatory Credit: Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports /

While the Toronto Maple Leafs have not had much success when it comes to trading for goalies, they could not pass up on the opportunity to get Frederik Andersen.

For anyone wondering whether the Toronto Maple Leafs would be aggressive when it comes to making moves ahead of the NHL draft, trading for Frederik Andersen should be a clear indication of that.

The team traded the 30th pick in the 2016 draft and a second-round pick in 2017 to the Anaheim Ducks to acquire Andersen, who they expect to be the number one goalie going into next season.

The 27-year-old goaltender from Denmark has played 125 games (114 games started) going 77-26-12 with a 2.33 goals against average and a .918 save percentage in his career. In the playoffs Andersen has started 28 games posting a 17-9-3 record, a 2.34 goals against average and a .916 save percentage.

This is why he was targeted by the Leafs and why they could not pass up on the opportunity to acquire him.

Leafs Want to be Competitive Next Season

Head coach Mike Babcock made it clear this Leafs team was going to be better and more competitive going into next season. There was also word that the organization was not willing to go forward with Jonathan Bernier as the number one goalie, meaning the team was most likely going to look for another option.

The opportunity for the Leafs to acquire Andersen had been long rumoured, ever since word about a potential expansion draft was going to happen after next season. The Ducks knew they would have to make a choice on a goalie and they decided to go with the younger John Gibson, a deal that GM Bob Murray said that “there was no avoiding”.

While the Leafs have preached patience and that building a contending team will take time, they could not afford to miss on this opportunity.

Toronto Maple Leafs
Apr 21, 2016; Nashville, TN, USA; Anaheim Ducks goalie Frederik Andersen (31) in net during the first period against the Nashville Predators in game four of the first round of the 2016 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Bridgestone Arena. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports /

The fact the organization was not confident in what the team has in net moving forward, meant they could not take the chance in losing out on acquiring a goalie like Andersen.

Having him under contract for the next five years was also important, because the Leafs are making it clear he is their guy moving forward.

With a lot of their younger players ready to make the jump to the NHL next season, having a goalie like Andersen will help those players feel confident, knowing they have a capable goalie behind them.

This was not a decision the Leafs just made recently. It was reported that general manager Lou Lamoriello and the Leafs had been looking at Andersen since March, when Anaheim visited Toronto. The team had him in their sightlines and were able to get him, something the team has had a lot of success doing since Brendan Shanahan took over as President.

Past History Should Not Make Fans Worry

There are some people who do not see this deal as a slam dunk, considering the Leafs history with trading for goaltenders. In the past Toronto has struck out, when it comes to making deals to acquire goalies.

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Since Ed Belfour left in 2006, the team has traded for Andrew Raycroft, Vesa Toskala, Jean-Sebastien Giguere, and Jonathan Bernier. Other than Giguere, the Leafs have not traded for a goalie who had the experience as a number one goalie, especially one with the playoff experience that Andersen has.

This is especially the case with Bernier – who the Leafs traded a second-round pick – Ben Scrivens and Matt Frattin. The team failed to establish Bernier as the clear-cut number one, as they had him compete with James Reimer for the position.

The main reason for this was that Bernier had never established himself as a starter. because he played behind Jonathan Quick. Anyone comparing the Andersen deal to Bernier, or citing the 125 games as too small of a sample size, have not seen what he has done the past three seasons in Anaheim.

He started to make his mark in his first season with Anaheim, by beating out Jonas Hiller for playing time in the playoffs. The Ducks then let Hiller go to Calgary and Andersen played 54 games the year after, in only his second season in the league as the starter.

Andersen played 16 games in the playoffs, losing to the Chicago Blackhawks in the Western Conference finals. This past year he only played 43 games (started 37) because of Injuries and strong play from Gibson, but he took over in the playoffs, posting a 3-2 record with a .947 save percentage and a 1.41 goals against average.

Toronto Maple Leafs
Feb 15, 2016; Calgary, Alberta, CAN; Anaheim Ducks goalie Frederik Andersen (31) against the Calgary Flames during the first period at Scotiabank Saddledome. Anaheim Ducks won 6-4. Mandatory Credit: Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports /

Leafs Paid a Reasonable Price to Acquire Andersen

Andersen is the type of goalie you hate to let go and teams usually have to pay a premium to acquire. The New Jersey Devils traded a top 10 pick to the Vancouver Canucks for Cory Schneider when Lamoriello was the general manager there.

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The Buffalo Sabres traded the 21st overall pick in the 2015 draft for Robin Lehner. Semyon Varlamov was traded by the Washington Capitals to the Colorado Avalanche for a first-round and second-round pick. Martin Jones was traded to the San Jose Sharks for a first-round pick in the 2016 draft and Sean Kuraly. Considering the price the Leafs paid it is not unreasonable, considering the goalie they are getting.

Signing Andersen to a five-year extension also means the Leafs are not going to toy with the idea of bringing in another goalie to compete with him. It also means the team is ready to roll forward with their rebuild and get in contention for a playoff spot.

It would have been tough for the Leafs to go through another tough season like they went through this past year, even with a player like Nolan Patrick slated to go first overall in 2017. The Leafs are ready for their young players to play in a competitive environment and Lamoriello believes Andersen is a vital component to that.

"“I think it’s extremely important,” said Lamoriello. “I think that he has to know that he’s our No. 1 goaltender and that the support is there, the confidence is there and the commitment’s there.”– via Sportsnet.ca"

Next: Maple Leafs: The Summer of Lou Begins

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