On Episode 6 of the MLHS podcast, Ian Tulloch and Anthony Petrielli discussed Frederik Andersen’s overall play this season in the final year of his $5 million AAV contract.
Petrielli: Andersen has generally been fine. Even last night, he kind of gets the bad rap, but on the four goals, two of them were tips — one his own guy tipping it — and one was a brutal line change with a cross-crease play. On the fourth one, anyone watching it who didn’t go, “Woah,” when Mason Appleton pulled it over and put it in is kidding themselves. Anyone is lying to themselves if they saw that coming.
Tulloch: You start to learn how fans litigate goaltending. They go through every single goal. Back when Garret Sparks was the goalie and there were five or six goals against, you’d have fans saying, “You can’t blame him for four of those or five of those.” At some point, even though it is a high-quality chance, you want your goaltender to stop some of them. You want your goalie to make some big saves. It can be frustrating when the other team’s goalie just goes on a heater and your goalie plays okay. You are going to lose that game. It is just the nature of the sport of hockey.
If we are measuring Andersen’s goaltending this year by some of the goalie metrics: If we look at goals save above expected at even strength, he is still in the top 15. Earlier in the year, he was in the top 10. If you went a week or two back, he was in the top five at even strength.
It is the penalty kill save percentage that is really dragging him down. He is 30th out of 31 in PK save percentage.
Petrielli: At 5v5, he is eighth out of 31.
Tulloch: That is where I am thinking: 5-on-5 is what actually matters. There is a lot more repeatability there as a goaltender. Frederik Andersen has a long track record of being a strong goaltender at 5-on-5.
In Toronto, there are frustrations that you don’t trust him in the playoffs, but at some point, I am just looking at the larger body of work and think, “This guy is still a top 10 goalie in the NHL.” I am not sure if he is someone you want to re-sign into his 30s, but I still think he is in that department.
Petrielli: I think he is just a generally solid above-average goalie. I am not going to sit here and say he is a stud, but he has generally been solid. He has generally been above average. I know people look at games like the one versus Winnipeg and say, “You’ve got to make a big save.” And that is true, but some of it comes in moderation.
At one point, he stopped a Blake Wheeler breakaway to keep the Leafs within distance. That is making a save. What is the difference there?
Tulloch: A lot of it is confirmation bias at the end of the day. You see what you want to see and remember what you want to remember.
Petrielli: People will look and say, “He let in four. He has to make a save.” But you can’t really blame him on any of the four, and he did make a huge save to actually keep the game alive. Remember when they made it 4-3 and there was a bunch of drama at the end? That was because Freddy stopped that breakaway to allow that to happen.
They are not paying him $8-10 million a year. He doesn’t have a Jakob Markstrom-type of contract. He gets paid well. He is a good goalie. Ultimately, what you touched on at the end of the day is the truth: Until he does something in the playoffs, he has been the second-best goalie in every series they have been in.
That would still be the case if they play the Jets. It might still be the case if they play Calgary. It could feasibly be the case if they play Montreal. I am not saying it is — Andersen has been better than Carey Price this season so far, but we have also seen that Carey Price can still turn it on and “Carey Price” it a little bit at times.
Tulloch: I wonder how much of that is overblown by a lot of people in the media who tend to remember what he was five years ago as opposed to what he is today.
Petrielli: 100% it is. I am just saying that if they got into a playoff series with them and Carey Price blacked out for a few weeks, would I be shocked? No.
Tulloch: What if Frederik Andersen blacked out for a week or two in the playoffs? These are things that happen sometimes. Marc Andre Fleury was labeled a playoff choker for almost a decade and then he went on that absolute tear with Vegas. With goaltenders, sometimes they go on heaters, and sometimes it doesn’t matter how your team plays if the other team’s goalie is better.
Petrielli: The Leafs have had four straight years of him not being the better goalie in the playoffs. I am not saying he can’t or he won’t. I am just saying that it has been four times and he hasn’t. That is what people are going to judge him on at the end of the day.
MLHS Podcast Episode #6 — Season’s First Losing Skid, Frederik Andersen’s play, Trade Deadline Buzz, Auston Matthews’ wrist & the PK struggles
Support the MLHS Podcast on Patreon
Early-release full-length video episodes are available to our patrons each week: