Frederick Andersen or Freddie a name that can instantly stir debate among Leaf fans everywhere. Especially after another first-round exit. Andersen may not look like he has aged a day in his life, but he is 30-years-old and turns 31 in October. Andersen has 1 year left on his $5 million a season contract. Should the Leafs move on from Freddie Andersen? If so then when?
Make no mistake I think Andersen is a good goalie, but he is coming off a very average season. His save percentage was .909 during the regular season: the lowest of his career. You could blame this on the Leaf’s defense, but his GAA was very similar the 2 seasons before this.
Freddie was 34th in the league this season in GAA which I think says more about the Leaf’s team as a whole than it does about Freddie. GAA or Goals Against Average is used as a goalie stat when it should be viewed more as a team statistic. There are so many better stats to judge a goalie by.
Some better stats to judge goalies are save percentage (SV %), quality start percentage (QS %), and my personal favorite, goals saved above average (GSAA). Freddie had 27 quality starts this season which was good for 6th in the league. A quality start is when a goalie stops more shots than the median save percentage for the league or gives up less than 3 goals while stopping more than .885 of shots faced.
Quality starts paired with Freddie being 4th in the league in wins can make this past season look like another elite season for Freddie. However, what it really tells you is that most teams started their backup a lot more than the Leafs did. Freddie was tied for 3rd in games played. Freddie only had a .519 QS % this season which is very average.
Freddie’s GSAA this season was -.40. To put that into perspective, Rask was number 1 in the league in GSAA at 22.51. How is GSAA calculated? Good question. GSAA is the number of goals a goalie has prevented given his save percentage and shots faced vs. the league average save percentage on the same number of shots.
Yes, this last series was not technically a playoff series, but the statisticians will view it as playoffs so I will as well. Andersen performed well against the Blue Jackets and was not the reason the Leafs lost. His save percentage was .936, he had 3 quality starts, and his GSAA was 2.79. However, once again in an elimination game Freddie let in a soft goal. Liam Foudy’s goal was not only soft but it was also backbreaking for the Leafs. Again Freddie was NOT the reason for the Leafs demise. He played very well in that game other than that goal. However, this will be forgotten by most Leaf fans considering his track record of poor performances in elimination games.
Jack Campbell was a good midseason acquisition for the Leafs. Campbell performed very well for the Leafs. Some statistics even show that he performed better than Freddie in his 6 starts (small sample size I know). He had a .915 SV % and 4 QS in his 6 starts for the Leafs. For a better look at Campbell, we have to look at his time with the Kings.
The Kings have been average or dreadful since Campbell joined them in 2016. Campbell has had his ups and downs with the Kings. Campbell was brilliant in 2017/2018, he had a SV % of .928, .640 QS%, and a GSAA of 15.16 in 25 starts. So the ceiling on Campbell is high. Campbell was struggling this season with a .900 SV% and a -5.28 GSAA, but this was with a terrible Kings team. Once he moved to the Leafs he improved considerably. I think the Leafs should definitely consider giving Campbell more starts even if they keep Freddie.
Current Market For Goalies
There are so many goalies who are about to hit the free agent market this off-season. Matt Murray and Alexander Georgiev are restricted free agents who might not be signed by their respective teams. Robin Lehner, Thomas Greiss, Brayden Holtby, Anton Khudobin, Cam Talbot, Corey Crawford, Jacob Markstrom, and Aaron Dell will all be unrestricted free agents (and that is just the half of it).
The Leafs would have to find a suitor for Andersen to bring in any of these free agents. This would be very difficult at this point. In this saturated goalie market finding a suitor for Freddie’s 5 million dollar contract will be pretty much impossible. Why take on a 1-year contract of $5 million of an ageing goalie when you can easily find a better deal with a UFA.
Could the Leafs find a cheap option within their own system to replace Freddie Andersen? Ian Scott is an option for a possible successor to Freddie. Scott is 21-years-old and was taken 117th overall in 2017. He had a great 2018/19 season for the Prince Albert Raiders in the WHL posting a .932 save percentage.
Unfortunately for Scott and the Leafs, he missed all of last season with a hip injury which required surgery. He should be back ready for next season, but because he missed a year of development I don’t think we will see him soon unless he lights it up with the Marlies.
Rock and Woll
Joseph Woll is another option in the Leafs system. Woll is 22-years-old and was selected 62nd overall in the 3rd round. He did not put up good numbers for the Marlies last season, but that is hard to do when the Leafs call up half the defensemen on the team. He had very good numbers with Boston College, but I would not expect to see him for in the NHL anytime soon unless he can begin to replicate those numbers in the AHL.
The Leafs are the definition of a win-now team. Andersen will most definitely play the next season with the Leafs, but after that, I don’t think he will resign with the Leafs unless he takes a big pay cut. There are many cheaper options for goalies to pair with Campbell as a 1A/1B which could be the way forward for the Leafs to help free up cap space while staying competitive.
Ian Scott is a big question mark, but if he comes back strong after his hip surgery he definitely could be the answer for the 2021/22 season. If Scott still does not look ready, there will be another batch of cheaper UFA goalie replacements for Andersen that the Leafs could sign as a 1B role while Campbell takes the 1A position.
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