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Maple Leafs’ Frederik Andersen Deserves More Appreciation

It looks as if the Toronto Maple Leafs and Frederik Andersen will part ways after this season. If so, why does Andersen deserve our thanks?

The genesis of this post came as I watched Frederik Andersen – the Toronto Maple Leafs’ former starting goalie – being welcomed back to the team this week after being out with a knee injury since March 19. His teammates love him – it was obvious from what they said and how they said it.

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Frederik Andersen Has Earned Our Respect

And, when you think about it, there’s good reason why he’s earned that affection and respect by the other players on the Maple Leafs’ roster. He deserves it.

Since Andersen came to the Maple Leafs six seasons ago from the Anaheim Ducks, he’s been the Maple Leafs’ uncontested starting goalie. And, he’d still be except for two things: (a) his knee injury and (b) the record-setting emergence of backup goalie Jack Campbell as a viable alternative. In fact, Campbell’s performance was a key reason this Maple Leafs’ team won the North Division title. Campbell has been really good in net.

But, so has Andersen. And, no matter what happens over the rest of Andersen’s NHL career, he’ll be remembered in franchise history of one of the best goalies who’s ever played for this historic franchise. In fact, he’s been every bit as important to the Maple Leafs as either Curtis Joseph or Ed Belfour season’s earlier.

Frederik Andersen Maple Leafs
Frederik Andersen, Maple Leafs

All that said, my logic suggests that this is Andersen’s last season with the Maple Leafs. He’ll likely move to a new team next season. If he does, the Maple Leafs’ franchise will miss him; Maple Leafs’ fans will miss him; but, perhaps equally as important, his Maple Leafs’ teammates who remain will miss him.

He Was Often Called “Frederik the Great” for Good Reason

Andersen had the nickname “Frederik the Great” for good reason. He was both a great goalie for the team and a great competitor as well.

Specifically, Andersen was injured this season, but at the time so was Campbell. While both were injured, Andersen hung in there and played – not very successfully, but heroically. He worked hard to play through a knee injury that didn’t allow him to move fluidly in the net: specifically, he didn’t have the knee strength to push off and move across the crease.

And, while it’s true that the Maple Leafs haven’t gotten out of round one of a playoff series in several seasons, that’s not all on Andersen. Every series he’s played as starter has gone the maximum number of games. And in two cases only incredible comebacks by the Boston Bruins allowed them to oust the Maple Leafs.

But Andersen didn’t collapse on defense; nor, is he a forward who’s paid to be a goal-scorer. Others carry some of the weight.

The Times Don’t Allow for Andersen’s Re-signing

I have to believe that Maple Leafs’ general manager likes and appreciates Andersen as a person and as a goalie. Were next season’s salary-cap upper limits as upwardly dynamic as they’d been before the pandemic, I’m guessing Dubas would seek a way that might allow Andersen to stay with the team. He still might.

However, the knot that salary-cap limits pose to pandemic-impacted possibilities seems just too tight to unravel easily. Value Andersen’s history with the club or not, these aren’t a time of limitless possibility.

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For Nostalgic Reasons, an Andersen Playoff Series Win Would Be Incredible

It would be nice to see Andersen win a postseason series. And, while I hope that Campbell starts during the playoffs – he deserves to do so because of his record this season – part of me also would love to see the Maple Leafs play in front of a full Scotia Place Arena one more time and to listen to a hyped-up Maple Leafs’ fanbase chanting “Freddie, Freddie” after a quick glove keeps the puck from crossing the line.

Andersen has done this time-after-time, one great save after another. Stay or go, it’s time to appreciate him more.

8 Comments

8 Comments

  1. Brian l

    May 14, 2021 at 6:25 am

    If the players love him soooo much why do they play like crap in front t of him?

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