I first saw the news that Frederik Andersen was leaving the Toronto Maple Leafs from a Pierre LeBrun tweet. I wasn’t surprised, given the nature of the NHL’s hard salary cap, the seemingly-constant wrestling match between the Maple Leafs and the salary-cap’s upper limits, the difficult season Andersen had in 2020-21, and the emergence of Jack Campbell as both viable and likeable in net.
The news was that the Carolina Hurricanes had signed Andersen to a two-year, $9 million contract. In the end, the internal negotiations didn’t make sense to either side and Frederik Andersen left the Maple Leafs joined the Hurricanes. Andersen now has a chance to prove that his less-than-stellar, injury-plagued 2020-21 season was a fluke and that he can improve on his record of 13-8-3, goals-against-average of 2.96, and save percentage of .895 over his last games in a Maple Leafs’ uniform.
Good for him, and I wish him well. Last season’s numbers aside, Andersen has historically been a strong starting goalie and I wouldn’t be surprised to see him bounce back in 2021-22.
It’s Time to Thank Andersen for His Time with the Team
In this post, I hope to give Andersen the tribute I believe he deserves. Andersen has played his last game in a Maple Leafs’ uniform. Although he’s had detractors because he wasn’t able to lead the team to playoff series’ wins, I have to believe most Maple Leaf fans appreciated Andersen in goal and are with me in saying thank you.
I appreciate what Andersen’s brought to the team. In my review of his body of work, there’s no mistake that Andersen’s been a star for the Maple Leafs. Over his five seasons with the team, he’s been their go-to starter. In fact, during his first three seasons with the team, he played an incredible 60+ games each season. He’s been durable and, the 2020-21 season aside when he was injured, has been a beast in net – night after night.
Remembering Andersen’s Record and Play with the Maple Leafs
Obviously, now that Andersen has left the team, he’ll be replaced. That’s the way the NHL works. New goalies will come to take his place, and some will probably become stars with the team and might even surpass Andersen’s contributions. Here, I’d like to offer a sense of what those contributions have been over the seasons.
Here are four key facts that to me suggest Andersen’s impact during his Maple Leafs’ career. I believe these facts point to the fact that he’s been one of the best goalies in Maple Leafs’ franchise history.
Fact #1: Andersen Set the Maple Leafs’ Record for Most Wins During a Season
Counting all the goalies who’ve ever played for the Maple Leafs over their long franchise history, no goalie has won more games than Andersen during a single season. During the 2017-18 regular season, he recorded 38 wins. During the 2018-19 season, Andersen also was fourth on the list of wins in a single season by chalking up 36 wins.
For Maple Leafs’s fans who, like myself, love to track such numbers, the other Maple Leafs’ goalies who’ve made the Top 10 in wins during a season include Andrew Raycroft (2006-07) and Ed Belfour (2003-04) who each won 37 games those seasons.
Fact #2: Andersen Has Never Been in the Top 10 for Single Season Losses
When he’s been healthy, Andersen’s been a horse in the net. However, for all the games he’s played, he’s not once been in the Top 10 in Maple Leafs losses for a single season. Obviously, part of that has been that he’s been a key cog in an improving Maple Leafs’ team since 2016-17, but he’s been an integral part of that strong team as well.
During the 2017-18 season when he set the Maple Leafs’ record with 38-wins, his record was 38-21-5. Those 21 losses were his highest loss total ever during a season. His next highest loss total was 16 during the 2018-19 season when he posted a 36-16-7 record.
The point is that Andersen helped the Maple Leafs become a winning team during each season he’s played.
Fact #3: During His History with the Maple Leafs, Andersen Is Fourth in Wins but only 13th in Losses
Totalling all the goalies who ever played for the Maple Leafs, Andersen is sixth with 268 games played in net in franchise history. In those games, he’s fourth in wins with 149 but he only has 74 losses, which puts him far down the list in 13th place.
During his great five-season Maple Leafs’ career, Andersen posted a 149-74-36 record. He’s seventh in save percentage at 0.914 and seventh in minutes in net with 15625. Including the other teams he’s played for, he’s put together a career record during his eight NHL seasons of 226-100-48, with a save percentage of .915, and a goals-against-average of 2.65.
Andersen twice got votes for the Vezina Trophy, and after the 2018 season came in fourth-place in Vezina Trophy voting. Since coming into the NHL in 2013-14, only four goalies — Braden Holtby, Marc-Andre Fleury, Tuukka Rask, and Sergei Bobrovsky — have exceeded his 226 wins. (from “Hurricanes bank on bounce-back years from new goalies Andersen, Raanta, Cory Lavalette, North State Journal, 30/07/21).
Fact #4: Andersen Has Faced Tons of Shots, But Hasn’t Given Up Tons of Goals
During all of Maple Leafs’ history and including all the goalies who’ve ever played for the team, Andersen has been in the Top 10 in facing shots-on-net three times. For long-time Maple Leafs’ fans, he’s tied with Felix Potvin for that record.
During all of Maple Leafs’ franchise history, only four other goalies have even come close to facing as many shots as Potvin and Andersen. Potvin set the record when he faced 2438 shots during the 1996-97 season. Andersen’s in second place, and during the 2017-18 season faced 2211 shots.
However, for all the shots as Andersen has faced, he’s never been in the Top 10 in goals given up. Surprisingly, that record is held by Hall of Fame goalie Grant Fuhr. During the 1991-92 season, Fuhr gave 230 goals.
Remembering Frederik Andersen
Andersen might have left the Maple Leafs as a player, but his name will forever be linked to the team in the franchise record book. He’s been one of the best goalies who’ve played with this historic Original-Six franchise. It’s also unlikely that, given the way goalies share the net these days, no one will likely top his 38 single-season win total in the foreseeable future.
I have appreciated Andersen’s contribution to the Maple Leafs over his career. If he can stay healthy with the Hurricanes, there’s more than a chance he’ll rebound nicely during the 2021-22 season.
I wish him well with his new team. I just hope he doesn’t win his first playoff series against his old team. That would be just too ironic.
The Old Prof (Jim Parsons, Sr.) taught for more than 40 years in the Faculty of Education at the University of Alberta. He’s a Canadian boy, who has two degrees from the University of Kentucky and a doctorate from the University of Texas. He is now retired on Vancouver Island, where he lives with his family. His hobbies include playing with his hockey cards and simply being a sports fan – hockey, the Toronto Raptors, and CFL football (thinks Ricky Ray personifies how a professional athlete should act).
If you wonder why he doesn’t use his real name, it’s because his son – who’s also Jim Parsons – wrote for The Hockey Writers first and asked Jim Sr. to use another name so readers wouldn’t confuse their work.
Because Jim Sr. had worked in China, he adopted the Mandarin word for teacher (老師). The first character lǎo (老) means “old,” and the second character shī (師) means “teacher.” The literal translation of lǎoshī is “old teacher.” That became his pen name. Today, other than writing for The Hockey Writers, he teaches graduate students research design at several Canadian universities.
He looks forward to sharing his insights about the Toronto Maple Leafs and about how sports engages life more fully. His Twitter address is https://twitter.com/TheOldProf