ST. LOUIS, MO - FEBRUARY 2: Frederik Andersen #31 of the Toronto Maple Leafs defends the net against Paul Stastny #26 of the St. Louis Blues on February 2, 2017 at Scottrade Center in St. Louis, Missouri. (Photo by Jeff Curry/NHLI via Getty Images)

In today’s Leafs Links, the insiders discuss the Frederik Andersen trade interest amid the swirling rumours he will not return as Toronto Maple Leafs’ starting goaltender next season.

Leafs Links

Johnston: All signs point to Frederik Andersen moving (Sportsnet 590)
Chris Johnston reported last night that Frederik Andersen’s been preparing as though he won’t be returning to Toronto next season.

There is a good chance he is not playing in Toronto next season… There is interest in him and the Leafs are entertaining that interest at least in terms of taking those calls and having conversations. Even from what I have heard from Frederik Andersen’s side of things, I think he is preparing himself as though he is not going to be back in Toronto next season. Everything is pointing in that direction.

When you couple it with the fact that there is a huge class of FA goalies — and there are other goalies who can be had by trade, be it Matt Murray or Marc Andre Fleury — and it is just setting up as a year that is a good time to maybe deal a goalie and not a bad time to replace him. There is going to be some choice there.

The issue for the Leafs is going to be: Can you do it and make it a cap neutral move? No matter what you or I may think of Frederik Andersen, he has been very good value when you look at his peers around the league at $5 million. Like any goalie, he has gone through some tough stretches, but he has played a lot of games for the Leafs and he has delivered at an above-average rate over those four seasons. He is somewhere around the 16th or 17th best paid at his position.

I know for sure the Leafs could trade him. The questions of who they are bringing and what it is going to cost are going to be all factored into what ultimately happens here. As a result of this, I do think everything points to Freddy probably being moved, but we are probably not going to get clarity until we get into that free agent period and we start to see what sort of things happen. The Leafs would have a better idea of who they are replacing him with, and it’s not just a trade to get rid of him.

On the workload split for next season, whoever the tandem is:

Whether it is Freddy back as the no. 1 or whoever they bring in to fill that role, I think we are going to see way more of a split than we have at any time previous in Freddy’s career. The Leafs had already internally made that decision about Freddy. That was one of the things that prompted them to go trade for Jack Campbell in February. He is certainly a steadier backup option and has shown pretty well in the last couple of seasons in his NHL performances — well enough to give you at least the idea that you can play him 25-30 games as the backup.

The Leafs are going there, whether it is Andersen or if they sign Lehner as a free agent, or if they make a trade and bring in someone like Matt Murray. They would be starting the next year with the idea that it’s more if a split. You have to throw out the most recent season for a whole bunch of reasons, but in the seasons previous to that, we saw him wear down in March and into the playoffs. He is a goalie who likes to play a lot and they gave him input on those decisions in terms of how much they were using him, but when you examine the results closely, they were looking to build more rest into his workload and the way he is deployed.

Darren Dreger: “Calls are coming in on Freddy on a regular basis” (TSN1050)
Darren Dreger provided his lastest feel for the goaltending market on TSN Overdrive on Wednesday night, including the interest level in Frederik Andersen.

I think Toronto is willing to listen to the interest in Freddy. There is a contract not too far down the road. Goaltending wouldn’t be Toronto’s most pressing need — defense is, and I think that is where Kyle’s focus is — but he is willing to listen.

I know Toronto would be one of the teams with considerable interest in Matt Murray. There are many who believe that [with a change of scenery], Murray is going to take off running.

But if it was that simple, Dubas would’ve asked for Murray in the Kapanen trade, but he couldn’t. If you do that, your hands are tied and managers are going to try to pick your pocket. You don’t have the cap space to hang onto both of those guys.

It is intriguing. Toronto is willing to listen and there are calls coming in on a regular basis on Freddy.

Friedman: Nylander only in play for RHD who can play with Rielly (31 Thoughts)
On the 31 Thoguhts podcast, Elliotte Friedman wrapped up the Kasperi Kapanen trade, discussed the likelihood of Andersen moving, and gave us his sense of the availability of William Nylander and Zach Hyman to interested suitors via trade.

Dubas was asking for a first and a prospect for Kapanen. There were some teams that were saying it was too rich for our blood, but I think there were other teams who felt, “That is a draft deal, when we see what the market is. He is not going to get that now.” We all forgot that Jim Rutherford exists to all of our delight and excitement. He decided that is what he wanted and he got it.

One of the things that happened here is that the Leafs and the Penguins looked at it and said, “There are going to be some dancers here without partners.” I think there are worries out there that you are going to be the last one at the prom without a date. A lot of teams are cutting back. The Leafs and Penguins just said, “We are a match and we are going for it.”

There were some teams that were really unhappy, particularly the teams that are still playing, because they are sitting there saying, “A) We can’t get Kapanen, or B) The Penguins’ 15th overall pick.” They caught people by surprise, but they both had something the other side wanted, and as we know, Dubas and Rutherford have done deals together before. They are comfortable trading with one another.

On the Leafs not seeking out a lateral move for Andersen:

I thought the most interesting name to come out of there was Andersen. He is a year away from UFA. Also, his bonus is paid, so he is only making a million. Everyone is saying you can trade Andersen now.

There are a couple of things to that: 1) If the Maple Leafs have paid $4 million of the $5 million, they’d probably be very happy paying only the 1 for keeping him. Secondly, the thing I’ve heard is they are determined not to make an angry lateral move. Obviously, they are disappointed, but he is still a good goalie. Last year, they didn’t have capable backup goaltending. They really believe Jack Campbell is going to help the situation.

I am thinking that their logic is, “Why would we make a move just for the hell of it, or a lateral move? They are not going to do that.”

I think Carolina, who originally drafted Andersen, is the team that likes him. But I think the Leafs are going to sit. They are going to see how it all shakes down — Holtby, Greiss, Markstrom, Talbot, Khudobin, Lehner, and the trade candidates Murray, Kuemper. What is going to happen with Devan Dubnyk? Is he going to get bought out and then be a free agent?

I think they are going to wait and see where all of it lands, and then they are going to make their decision from there.

On potential player moves:

Some teams said, “What you want for Kapanen is too rich for my blood… What are you thinking about with Johnsson? I don’t know if they are ready to do that yet.

Nylander — unless they are getting a top-four right-handed D who can play with Morgan Rielly, I don’t think they are doing that.

I will tell you, after I wrote [31 thoughts], one GM said he heard they got asked about Hyman, who is a year away from UFA. But he doesn’t think Toronto wants to do that at all. He is too much of what they need and they really like him. They think Toronto rejected that like Pascal Siakam.

Burke: “Freddy isn’t what keeps me up at night if I am the GM” (Sportsnet 590)
On Hockey Central, Brian Burke argued that while it’s incumbent upon Kyle Dubas to listen to all offers and improve the team if he can, Frederik Andersen is low on his list concerns for the Leafs.

I am a season ticket holder and I watch the Leafs play. Very seldom do I walk out of the building or turn off my computer and say, “Frederik Andersen cost them that game.” I really don’t think that’s the core problem of the team. I think he is a quality goaltender. We tried very hard to get him in Calgary.

To me, if I am identifying flaws and the reasons the Leafs haven’t had playoff sucess, I think Freddy is partly to blame, but I don’t think he is the number-one cause. He’s a quality goaltender.

Now, Kyle Dubas has to listen and there is clearly interest in him. It is all about making the team better and no one should be untouchable, but he certainly isn’t what keeps me awake at night if I am the GM.

On the changing attitudes towards workload management in the league:

Now, a roughly 50-30 split is what we see. I’ve talked to a couple of goalie coaches about it, and they say the ideal is a 50-30. It is very different than 65-15 or 17. To me, that is the trend that lets you go into the playoffs with a rested goalie.

You see Montreal after the trade they made at $15 million for the goaltending position, and I don’t think that works either. If you are going to spend 10% of your cap on the goalie position, that is $8 million, or maybe $10 million, and then split the work. I think that is the trend you are going to see. I don’t think you are going to see a $10 million goaltender again.