In what could be a preview of the days and weeks to come, Monday offered the hockey world a glimpse of the run-up to the draft and free agency. We had the first blockbuster trade of the offseason and two potentially impact players had their rights dealt to new teams with others presumed on the move before the first and last picks are announced in Buffalo this weekend at the draft.
The biggest of the trades was obviously the one that saw Andersen dealt to the Maple Leafs. The Leafs traded one of their first round picks in this week’s NHL Entry Draft, 30th overall, and a 2017 second rounder to acquire the Danish netminder who was weeks away from entering restricted free agency. The Leafs took care of that quickly and announced immediately after they acquired Andersen that team and player had agreed on a five-year contract extension for the 26-year old. So naturally this begs the questions of what now for Andersen and the Maple Leafs, and John Gibson and the Ducks?
AAV for Andersen's five-year deal in TOR should be in the low to mid $5M range, that is $5.5M or a little less than that.
— Bob McKenzie (@TSNBobMcKenzie) June 20, 2016
What It Means for Andersen and the Maple Leafs
Lou Lamoriello loves Andersen, especially his size. The 6’4″, 225 pound goalie is very athletic for his size and despite being in a time-share with Gibson in seasons past has shown flashes of brilliance between the pipes. The one thing that we know about Andersen is that he wins.
In his young career he is 51 games above .500, sporting a sterling 77-26-12 record over three seasons with the Ducks. The Ducks are, and have been, a better team than Toronto but Andersen was playing against some of the stiffest competition in the NHL night-in and night-out in the Pacific Division.
Since the start of the 2013-14 season, the season that Andersen made his debut for the Ducks, 32 goalies in the NHL have made at least 100 starts. Andersen is one of those 32, notching 114 starts in 125 appearances. His numbers are reflective of his impressive record.
Over the course of those three seasons Andersen has posted the ninth-best GAA with a 2.33 mark, tied with Marc-Andre Fleury and besting the likes of Henrik Lundqvist, Roberto Luongo, Braden Holtby and Pekka Rinne. His .918 SV% also puts him in the top half of goalies in that time and ahead of Jonathan Quick, Devan Dubnyk, Jaro Halak and Rinne.
Lou Lamoriello says it was important for Frederik Andersen to know he was #Leafs' long-term No. 1 goaltender. Hence the contract.
— Stephen Whyno (@SWhyno) June 20, 2016
So what does this mean for team and player? It means that Andersen is the guy now in Toronto. They have gone all-in on him and it is his show going forward. It also means that the Jonathan Bernier experiment is all-but over in Toronto.
The Leafs will probably look to trade or buyout the final year of Bernier’s contract that still has a whopping $4.15 million AAV cap hit on it, but if they retain him he is gone in free agency next year. That is an expensive price to pay for a backup goalie, and if their pursuit of Steven Stamkos is really going to happen they will need all the cap space they can get.
Andersen will have his challenges in Toronto. The team is young and the defense is nowhere near as talented as the one that was in front of him for the last three seasons in Anaheim. The Leafs ranked in a tie for 24th in the league last year allowing 2.93 goals against per game versus the first overall that Andersen and the Ducks ranked. Anaheim tied for fifth in team SV% at .917, while Toronto tied for 23rd at .904.
The numbers for Toronto will get better as Andersen is an immediate upgrade over both Bernier and Garrett Sparks. Andersen’s fantasy value takes a little bit of a hit going into next season but it also helps that he is no longer in a time-share with Gibson, meaning that he will have more ability to move up the ranks.
He is still a top-20 fantasy goalie to start the season in 2016-17, is a solid option in keeper leagues thanks to his age and guaranteed starting position and could easily jump into the top-15 in some drafts depending the moves that Toronto makes before the season.
What It Means for John Gibson and the Ducks
Ducks GM Bob Murray on media call says Andersen trade "had to happen."
— Pierre LeBrun (@PierreVLeBrun) June 20, 2016
As Pierre LeBrun reiterated from the media call that Ducks GM Bob Murray made after the trade, it was something that needed to happen. Both the Ducks and Andersen needed something different.
We have seen in the past that teams with time-shares in goal don’t go far; see Blues, St. Louis. The Ducks were facing a conundrum in a few weeks when Andersen would be an RFA and they would either have had to sign him, let someone sign him to an offer sheet or trade him.
The team has now gone in on Gibson as the guy in Anaheim and the writing had been on the wall for awhile. The Ducks extended Gibson last September before the regular season ended, as Gibson was entering the final year of his entry-level contract.
The three-year extension, that begins this coming season, is paying Gibson an AAV of $2.3 million and gives Anaheim a clear-cut number one goalie for less than half what it would have cost for Andersen. Gibson is also four years younger at the ripe age of 22.
The stats between the two are almost comparable, despite Gibson starting 50 less games and only being a factor on the team for two seasons instead of three. But the numbers favored Gibson. It was Gibson’s play this season that sealed Andersen’s fate in Anaheim.
Gibson started the season in the AHL before Andersen’s November bout with the flu forced the Ducks to call him up, and never send him back. In 40 games, 38 starts, Gibson was one of the best goalies in the league. He rode a 21-13-4 record into the playoffs for the Ducks while posting the second-best GAA in the league of 2.07, tied with Brian Elliott, while leading the league in the GAA category for some time. Gibson finished 11th in the league with a .920 SV%.
Gibson proved that he was the starter the Ducks were looking for and now the net in Anaheim is his. He excelled under former coach Bruce Boudreau’s system and we don’t yet know what the new system under new/old Ducks coach Randy Carlyle will look like, but he will have a familiar face in front of him on defense with the Ducks extension of defenseman Sami Vatanen over the weekend.
Now that Andersen is gone and the time-share is broken up Gibson becomes a top-tier, must own fantasy goalie. He will start the season easily in the top-10 at the goalie position and one could easily make the argument that he is top-7, especially in keeper leagues, ahead of the likes of Matt Murray, Henrik Lundqvist and Brian Elliott.
I’m a New York guy who grew up and has remained a huge Islanders fan. I have been writing for smaller sites for years about a myriad of sports. I focus primarily on fantasy hockey content and spent the 2014-2015 NHL season writing Daily Fantasy Sports content for DraftKings, Inc.