The Toronto Maple Leafs have acquired goaltender Frederik Andersen from the Anaheim Ducks in exchange for the 30th pick in the 2016 NHL draft and a second-round pick in 2017.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Can’t say this move comes as a surprise. For months, Andersen was linked to the Leafs in the rumor mill.
They obviously needed to bolster their depth between the pipes. Jonathan Bernier has struggled as their starter and there’s no one within their system capable of taking over the reins on a full-time basis.
The Ducks are committed to John Gibson through 2018-19. Andersen, 26, is a restricted free agent with arbitration rights who’s a year away from unrestricted free agent status. Being a budget-conscious club, they obviously couldn’t justify a long-term investment in him. It also explains why they accepted draft picks in return.
The Leafs have sought a quality starting goalie ever since Ed Belfour left town a decade ago. Andersen put up decent numbers during his tenure with the Ducks, but at times seemed to struggle with consistency. He could have his work cut out for him with the rebuilding Leafs. Time will tell if he can succeed in the starter’s job where so many have failed over the last 10 years.
Andersen earned an average cap hit of $1.15 million and is in line for a substantial raise. It’ll also be interesting to see how long the Leafs are willing to invest in him and for how much.
The Leafs have reportedly re-signed Andersen to a five-year contract worth an annual salary-cap hit in the “low $5 million per season range.”
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Well, now we know for how much and for how long. Andersen is the Leafs starting goalie entering the 2016-17 campaign, which likely means Jonathan Bernier’s days as a Leaf are numbered. Even if Bernier starts next season as a Leaf, he might not be there come the trade deadline.
Evidently Leafs management saw enough in Andersen’s game to be convinced he’ll be a reliable starter for them. He better be, or else this contract will go down as another in a long line of blunders by the Leafs.