Toronto Maple Leafs: Frederik Andersen’s stellar season provides optimism

TORONTO, ON - NOVEMBER 8: Frederik Andersen
TORONTO, ON - NOVEMBER 8: Frederik Andersen /

As the Toronto Maple Leafs set a new team record for points in a season, Frederik Andersen established a new franchise best with hope for more to come.

For years, the Toronto Maple Leafs struggled to find a bonafide starting goaltender and for some fans, the memory of those mediocre performances are hard to erase.

By winning his 38th game of the season against the Montreal Canadiens, Frederik Andersen passed Andrew Raycroft for the most wins in a season by a Leafs goalie. This should not be seen as a small accomplishment; instead, it should help provide the team with confidence that those struggles with goaltending from the past are gone.

From Raycroft to Vesa Toskala, then, Jean-Sebastien Giguere and of course who can forget “the Monster” Jonas Gustavsson, Leafs Nation was looking for anything to get them through the misery.

It was only during 2012-2013 when James Reimer burst onto the scene, that things looked like they could potentially turn around. Unfortunately, along with Jonathan Bernier, Reimer could not get the job done, leading to another overhaul in the crease.

More from Tip of the Tower

Then came Andersen, who could not beat out John Gibson for the starting job with the Anaheim Ducks which, but that turned out to be exactly what the Leafs needed. A goalie looking to prove his old team wrong, with the greatest challenge of his career.

If not for the 14 losses in overtime/shootout last season, the 28-year-old would have probably established a new franchise best then.

Now, as the team prepares for a second straight trip to the postseason, there should be confidence in the fact Andersen was able to handle a tougher workload.

No goalie faced more shots against than the Leafs’ starter, who had 2,211 pucks come his way. Despite having a higher goals against average and posting an average save percentage, there is no denying the impact Andersen has had on the Leafs.

It is part of the reason why fellow writer James Reeve threw out the idea of Andersen receiving some consideration for the Hart Trophy.

Having a dependable netminder between the pipes should bring back the memories of perennial goalies like; Ed Belfour, Curtis Joseph and Felix Potvin. The real question now is whether Andersen can get the Leafs far in the playoffs?

There is a legitimate chance for Toronto to get back to the Stanley Cup Finals, somewhere they have not been since 1967. If they want to get there, Andersen will have to be a big reason why, considering how important he has been to their success this season.

Next: What changed from last season for the Leafs?

How should Andersen’s season stack up against past Leafs goaltending performances? Is he capable of getting the team to the Finals? Let us know in the comments below.