Toronto Maple Leafs: Andersen deserves Hart Trophy consideration

TORONTO, ON - MARCH 24: Frederik Andersen
TORONTO, ON - MARCH 24: Frederik Andersen /

The NHL regular season is coming to a close and Toronto Maple Leafs goaltender Frederik Andersen deserves to be recognised for helping guide the team to the playoffs.

The Toronto Maple Leafs are guaranteed to finish third in the Atlantic Division, securing them a first-round bout with either the Boston Bruins or Tampa Bay Lightning.

Whoever they face, they will do it in the knowledge that Frederik Andersen is one of the biggest reasons for them being in this position.

In 65 regular season games, Andersen has faced a league-high 2,178 shots with a save percentage of .917.

This puts Andersen 135 shots ahead of second-placed Andrei Vasilevskiy as well as 180 more than Cam Talbot and another 161 ahead of Connor Hellebuyck, who have both played one game more than the big Dane at the time of writing.

Andersen also possesses a goalie point share of 13.3, just 0.3 behind first placed Hellebuyck, meaning he has been directly responsible for over 13 points during the Leafs’ regular season.

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His .917 save percentage and 2.82 GAA are not spectacular, but Andersen has played behind a defensive core which needs some upgrades, He has not had the support other netminders like Vasilevskiy have this season.

His performances this season should make him the undoubted MVP of the Leafs.

Some may say Auston Matthews deserves that title, but the big American centre has missed extended periods of time this season and the Leafs have performed around the same as when he was in the line-up.

If the Leafs lost Andersen for the same amount of time, things would look significantly worse for Mike Babcock’s team.

Curtis McElhinney has performed admirably in relief of Freddy this season, but there’s no guarantee he could maintain that level of performance across up to potentially half a season.

Which brings us to the Hart Memorial Trophy, which is awarded to the player deemed to have the most value for his team.

This does not necessarily mean the best player, but one who impacts the team so much that if they were to lose them, it would effectively determine the outcome of the season.

Connor McDavid won the award last year and, with 106 points this season, will no doubt be in the running for it again this year.

However, McDavid’s value to the Edmonton Oilers should not be considered as high as Andersen’s to the Leafs this season.

Take McDavid out of the Oilers line-up and the team are still going to finish near the bottom of the league this season, failing to make the playoffs regardless of his presence on the team.

The Leafs, however, may not make the playoffs if they lose their starting goalie.

Andersen has been a rock at times when the team’s defence has made poor decisions and allowed opponents to out-shoot the team on many occasions.

Having Andersen between the pipes gives the Leafs the kind of security many other goalies might not give you.

If the Hart Trophy is truly awarded to the player who has the biggest value/impact for his team, then Andersen deserves to at least be considered given the workload he has had to deal with this season.

Next: History suggests strong cup chance for Leafs

What do you think Toronto Maple Leafs fans? Is Andersen deserving of consideration for the Hart Memorial Trophy? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!