Toronto Maple Leafs need more from Frederik Andersen

Winnipeg Jets forward Mason Appleton (22) scores on Toronto Maple Leafs goaltender Frederik Andersen (31. (John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports)
Winnipeg Jets forward Mason Appleton (22) scores on Toronto Maple Leafs goaltender Frederik Andersen (31. (John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports) /

Over the last three games, the Toronto Maple Leafs have had to deal with some strong to absolutely unbelievable goaltending performances. Over that same stretch, Frederik Andersen has played well, but not good enough.

Looking back, Thatcher Demko allowed a combined three goals to give the Vancouver Canucks a sweep of their two-game series against the Leafs. Then it was Hellebuyck—the reigning Vezina Trophy—winner putting on a clinic making 36 saves to extend Toronto’s losing streak to three games.

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Over his last two starts, Andersen has recorded a 4.18 GAA and .852 save percentage which isn’t great by any stretch. Of course, those numbers only reflect a two-game stretch but Andersen’s play hasn’t been putting up elite numbers.

There were some Leafs fans on Twitter coming to the aid of Andersen saying the team hasn’t exactly provided him with the support which was certainly the case on two of the four Jets goals. However, Toronto was dominating possession against Winnipeg and yet, the Jets came out on top thanks to Hellebuyck bailing out his team.

It’s always easy to point the finger at one player especially the goalie in a loss and while Andersen wasn’t better than Hellebuyck, he alone doesn’t deserve to own the loss. This was made clear by Sheldon Keefe in his postgame comments.

Some of the habits Keefe was probably talking about were the lazy line change that eventually led to Kyle Connor’s goal and Morgan Rielly’s turnover and defensive play on Mason Appleton’s game-winner.

Those are the types of plays that can swing the game in the favour of a team that is getting outplayed like the Jets were. Hellebuyck was doing his best to make sure his team could capitalize on those plays because they were thoroughly dominated from start to finish.

Toronto Maple Leafs: Should the spotlight be on Frederik Andersen now?

This is the last season of Andersen’s five-year deal that he signed when he joined the Leafs in 2016. There has been a lot of debate about what the team will do at the position going forward and for the most part, there hasn’t been a general consensus on what Toronto should do with Andersen.

This is a team that has had to navigate their salary cap delicately because of their high-end contracts. This is really the first time the team could see a big part of their roster depart this off-season.

Both Andersen and Zach Hyman are nearing the end of their deals and there’s likely a decision that has to be made on whether they can both be retained or if they need to pick one over the other. At this rate, Hyman would likely be the priority to bring back considering how consistent his play has been from the start of the season.

At this rate, Andersen has some work to do to make the decision harder for Kyle Dubas and the front office. While a 12-5-2 record is pretty good for Andersen, he’ll need to improve on his 2.76 GAA and .903 save percentage.

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What are your thoughts on Andersen’s play this season? Should the Leafs be concerned about his ability to get them to where they want to go? Let us know in the comments below.