Andersen proving to be bargain for Maple Leafs
The Maple Leafs are getting their money’s worth out of Frederik Andersen.
Of the 22 goaltenders in the National Hockey League this season who had played in at least 10 games through Tuesday, only three — Andrei Vasilevskiy of the Tampa Bay Lightning (.935), John Gibson of the Anaheim Ducks (.933) and Devan Dubnyk of the Minnesota Wild (.930) — had a better save percentage than the mark of .929 that Andersen has provided in 13 games for Toronto.
After 2018-19, Andersen will have two years remaining on a contract that carries an annual salary cap hit of $5-million US. This season, no less than 16 goalies in the NHL are costing their teams more money against the cap.
Andersen was the reason the Leafs beat the Vegas Golden Knights on Tuesday night at Scotiabank Arena, a victory that included Andersen turning aside all eight shots he faced in the third period.
Not a great workload to be sure, but it was a continuation of the kind of netminding Andersen has been providing in the final 20 minutes in each of his games. Andersen has posted a .936 save percentage in the third period, stopping 131 of 140 shots on goal.
With the Leafs’ offensive skills in abundance — though tested with Auston Matthews nursing a shoulder injury and restricted free agent William Nylander digging in his heels — Andersen doesn’t necessarily have to be terrific every night.
Often, though, Andersen has been that, and to the tune of $5-million, he has been a bargain.
“His ability to be as quick as he is going post to post, never really being out of it (are key assets),” Leafs forward John Tavares said. “As a shooter, knowing a goalie is really ever out of it, there is always a bit of doubt in the back of your mind in that he has the chance to make a save on you. He is just real poised.”
Perhaps it was not the way Babcock planned it, but with the Leafs holding on to a one-goal lead late against Vegas, defenceman Ron Hainsey had a shift that lasted one minute 56 seconds, ending two seconds before Nazem Kadri scored into an empty net. “It probably just turned out that way, (Hainsey) couldn’t get off the ice,” Babcock said. “Ron knows where to stand when the game is on the line so having a little knowledge and being a veteran and standing in the right spot never hurt anybody.” … Patrick Marleau’s assist on the goal by Kadri put him at 599 in his NHL career. That ties Marleau with Alex Kovalev for 88th on the NHL list … The Leafs, who did not practise on Wednesday, loaned forward Trevor Moore back to the Toronto Marlies. With the Leafs starting a four-game trip on Saturday in Boston, expect Moore, if not a different forward, to be recalled at some point in the coming days. Moore was recalled last Friday but did not get in a game … Vegas coach Gerard Gallant said on Wednesday that Erik Haula, who suffered a right knee injury when he was hit by Marleau in the third period and had to be taken off the ice on a stretcher, will remain with the team but will not play in the Knights’ next three games that comprise the rest of their trip.
Toronto goalie Frederik Andersen has been a steal for the Leafs this season.