The trade deadline for the 2015-16 NHL regular season is right around the corner. For the Anaheim Ducks, it just might be the most important trade deadline in franchise history.
With a mediocre first half to the season, the Ducks are on the outside looking in, in terms of the postseason. Since the holiday break, there have been improvements made but this team is still in desperate need of consistent goals scoring. You can bet your bottom dollar that General Manager Bob Murray will be looking to fix this issue by the 29th of February.
Anaheim’s greatest trade chip to acquire a scorer that can make an immediate impact could be goaltender Frederik Andersen. With four NHL-caliber goalies in the Ducks organization, you can almost guarantee that Murray has no plan to keep all of them passed the deadline. There is no argument that Anaheim would receive the most value for Andersen but it is unclear if sending the netminder away would be the best move.
So we must ask, what should the Ducks do with Frederik Andersen?
Why They Trade Him
As I mentioned before the Ducks have four NHL-ready goaltenders in Andersen, John Gibson, Anton Khudobin, and Dustin Tokarski. Gibson has been on fire since joining the Ducks after starting the season in the AHL with the San Diego Gulls. With a 9-6-2 record, .926 SV%, and 1.84 GAA, Gibson has demonstrated that he has what it takes to be Anaheim’s starting goalie of the present and future.
Although he has not gotten as many opportunities in net recently, Andersen still has the skill to be a number one goaltender in the National Hockey League. In his 22 games played, Andersen is 6-8-5 with a .915 SV% and 2.42 goals-against-average. The record might not be the flashiest but we need to remember how abysmal the Ducks offense has been.
There is no chance that Anaheim trades Gibson which makes Andersen the goalie who the Ducks can obtain the most value for. There are a few teams that are in need of an upgrade between the pipes and Andersen might be just what the doctor ordered. In addition, he is a restricted free-agent after this season. If the Ducks still have Andersen on their roster by the time free agency starts, there is no way that he comes back. There is a team out there that will pay him starting goalie money and it won’t be Anaheim. The Ducks can get some nice pieces for the net-minder if they deal him away now and do not have to see him away this summer leaving them empty-handed.
Why They Keep Him
The reasoning for this is quite simple. What if the Ducks lose Gibson to injury for an extended period of time? Would the team really feel comfortable having their goaltenders be Khudobin and Tokarski? This would be the case if Gibson gets hurt and Andersen is traded.
Having Andersen on the roster provides the Ducks with a sense of security. As I mentioned before, he is a starting caliber goalie who has proven to be pretty reliable. In addition, Andersen also provides Anaheim with the opportunity to sit Gibson on a few more occasions to acquire necessary rest before the postseason, if they make it.
So Deal Him or Keep Him?
In my opinion, Anaheim needs to trade away Frederik Andersen for some more offensive firepower before the trade deadline passes. I completely understand the risk of trading him and putting the Ducks faith in the hands of Khudobin and Tokarski if Gibson suffers an injury. However, I am finding it hard to believe that this team is going to make the postseason if they cannot find ways to put the puck in the net more frequently. Murray has waited long enough to see if his slumping players will turn things around and now needs to turn to the trade market to find offense.
After this season, Andersen is as good as gone. He is sure to be looking for a starting goalie role and the Ducks will not be able to provide him with that. I believe that Anaheim could receive some pretty valuable pieces for Andersen in a deal which could benefit them both in the short and long term. So even though there is some risk involved, trading Andersen is the move Anaheim needs to make.