Workload weighing on Leafs goalie Andersen
TORONTO — Frederik Andersen is headed for one of the busiest seasons in NHL history.
The 27-year-old is on pace to face 2,173 shots in his first season with the Toronto Maple Leafs in what would be the 15th highest total ever. Only 31 times in league history has a goaltender faced even 2,100 shots in a single season — Pekka Rinne and Cam Ward the last to do so five years ago.
Facing four shots per game more this season than last with Anaheim, Andersen should blow by a careerhigh for shots f aced in one season by the weekend. But the busy workload hasn’t come without a hitch or two in the first go-around for Andersen, a part-time starter previously with the Ducks.
Andersen has posted an .894 save percentage since Jan. 1. That includes a superb 38-save effort in a 2-1 overtime defeat against St. Louis on Thursday night.
“Well, it hasn’t been good enough but there’s times in the year you have little dips,” Leafs coach Mike Babcock said before f acing the Blues. “You’ve just got to make sure you work hard every single day and those dips are shorter and they don’t happen as often. “So that’s the challenge for him.” Unlike Cam Talbot, who’s been rather consistent while leading the league both i n shots faced and starts for the Edmonton Oilers, Andersen has been up and down. There were significant October woes (.876 save percentage), stupendous highs i n November and December (.939), and a series of lows in January and early February.
He hasn’t been helped at times, either, by the Leafs’ sometimes wobbly defensive play.
Andersen says he and Leafs goalie coach Steve Briere take that into account when evaluating performance. Sometimes an opponent might score five and “you feel worse than you actually played” and other times the stat-line might look great but was more the result of strong team play.
“You’ve got to take ownership of what you can do,” said Andersen, stuck on 99 career wins for almost a week. “Say it’s a big scoring chance; you’ve still got to look at what (you) could’ve done in every situation.
“That’s how you learn and get better.”