For five seasons, Frederik Andersen patrolled the crease for the Toronto Maple Leafs. Though he had some ups and downs with the team, he was well-liked — for the most part — by the fans and within the room. But, as most know, Andersen didn’t always don the blue and white of the Maple Leafs.
In 2012, the Danish goaltender was selected in the third round, 87th overall, by the Anaheim Ducks and became part of a goaltending duo that included him and Jonas Hiller to open up the 2013-14 NHL season.
Andersen made his debut that season for a Ducks club that finished the year atop the Pacific Division with a 54-20-8 record. As for his individual numbers, Andersen finished his rookie season with a 20-5-0 record in 28 games to go along with a 2.29 goals against average (GAA) and .923 save percentage (SV%). He was ninth in Calder Trophy voting that season.
The following season he took on the role of starter for the Ducks with a young John Gibson backing him up, before splitting time with Gibson in the 2015-16 season, when the two combined to win the Jennings Trophy for the fewest goals against. Both years he put up impressive numbers making him a sought after option for the Maple Leafs in the summer of 2016.
On June 20, 2016, the Maple Leafs made the move to pick up their guy. The trade saw the Maple Leafs receive Andersen in exchange for a 2016 first-round pick and a 2017 second-round pick going the other way.
Ducks Receive Steel, Comtois
The picks, which haven’t fully paid dividends for the Ducks to this point were as follows. The 2016 first-round pick ended up being the 30th overall selection — a pick the Maple Leafs acquired from the Pittsburgh Penguins in the Phil Kessel deal. The Ducks used it to select Sam Steel from the Regina Pats in the WHL.
As for the 2017 second-round pick, it became the 50th overall pick, which originally belonged to the San Jose Sharks and was acquired by the Maple Leafs in the Roman Polak deal in February 2016. The Ducks used the pick to select Maxime Comtois from the Victoriaville Tigres of the QMJHL.
Both players, to this point, have promising numbers early on in their respective careers. Comtois made his NHL debut with the Ducks in 2018-19 playing 10 games and putting up two goals and seven points. Since then he’s become more of a contributor on a Ducks team that is young and finding their way through the rebuilding stages.
Over the past four seasons, Comtois has accumulated 29 goals and 67 points in 146 regular season games for the Ducks and has become an important piece of their middle six. He has yet to see any playoff action at the NHL level, but considering the direction of the team that could change in the near future for Comtois.
As for Steel, he also made his NHL debut during the 2018-19 season as a 20-year-old. He’s been able to remain a little more healthy for the Ducks over the past four seasons. Still, his numbers are pretty similar overall. Over that time, he’s tallied 24 goals and 65 points in 197 regular season games. Like Comtois, he’s yet to experience NHL playoffs, but that will come.
Maple Leafs Land Andersen
As for what the Maple Leafs got in Andersen, they received five strong years of goaltending from the now two-time Jennings winner, but couldn’t get it done come playoff time.
As a regular season goaltender over his five seasons with the Maple Leafs, Andersen accumulated a record of 149-74-36 in 268 games. He finished with a 2.79 GAA and a respectable .914 SV% over that span, adding 13 shutouts.
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However, he never finished with a high-danger scoring chance save percentage over .800 while with the Maple Leafs during the regular season and that left question marks when it came to playoffs and stealing a game for the team.
Still, he took the Maple Leafs to the playoffs in four seasons — having been injured in his final year with the team and not getting a chance to play. As a postseason go-to for the Maple Leafs, he finished with a 10-14 record in 25 games and while his numbers didn’t change much from his regular season numbers — a .916 SV% and 2.78 GAA — he still wasn’t able to be the stand-on-your-head type of goalie the Maple Leafs needed to get out of the first round.
Now, in saying that, he surely can’t shoulder all of the blame, but his tenure in Toronto will be defined by the lack of success come playoff time.
Following the 2020-21 season, the Maple Leafs and Andersen parted ways with Andersen signing a fresh new deal with the Carolina Hurricanes and going on to have his best seasons statistically. Along with Antti Raanta, he won his second Jennings Trophy and finished fourth in Vezina Trophy voting, but the relief of not playing in front of the Toronto crowd seemed evident in his play.
As for the Maple Leafs, they held onto Jack Campbell instead of Andersen — a guy they would eventually lose to free agency following the 2021-22 season.
Maple Leafs or Ducks: Who Won?
Some might argue that it’s still too early to call this one, but let’s be frank. Assuming the Ducks can hold onto Comtois and Steel moving forward, their team looks good in the coming years. Both players will continue to contribute in a middle-six role for the time being and will play roles on both the power play and penalty kill making them valuable assets.
On the flip side, the Maple Leafs got their five years from Andersen and weren’t able to capitalize in the playoffs with him. His successes in the regular season are certainly admirable, but the overall success of the team always stopped at the end of the first round of the playoffs.
We’ll say it now, that the Ducks are the favourite as winners of this trade simply based off of the future they could see from the two young players they were able to draft. While it can’t be definitively stated, it’s safe to say that when we look back on this trade in a few years, the Ducks will be the clear cut winners of the Frederik Andersen trade of 2016.
Andrew is in his 8th year reporting for The Hockey Writers covering the Toronto Maple Leafs. He began his broadcasting with CBC’s Hockey Night in Canada team as well as being part of their coverage of the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi. He’s the former play-by-play voice of the London Jr. Knights for Rogers TV and currently hosts the Sticks in the 6ix podcast. You can follow him on Twitter at @AndrewGForbes.