Maple Leafs G Frederik Andersen goals to ‘keep within the second’ in closing 12 months of contract
TORONTO — It appears to be the recommendation you get in nearly any stroll of life. Take it at some point at a time. Do not look too far forward.Getting into the ultimate 12 months of his contract right into a season in contrast to another, Frederik Andersen rebuffed a query about what constitutes a great 12 months for the Toronto Maple Leafs goaltender.”Staying within the second is my purpose proper now, and all these different questions are actually simply distractions,” Andersen informed reporters in a Zoom teleconference on Tuesday. “It is not going to do something, good or dangerous, to consider that stuff.”In his protection, Andersen prefaced these feedback by saying it was a great query.Distractions are plentiful. So let’s assess the state of affairs.Final week, Andersen acknowledged reviews that he and the Maple Leafs “had some talks, however not a lot proper now.” Other than making an attempt to remain protected and wholesome amid a worldwide pandemic, there’s a cloud of uncertainty about the place Andersen suits in with the Maple Leafs’ long-term plans.Getting into the fifth 12 months of a contract that pays him $5 million yearly, Andersen had a forgettable 2019-20 common season. His .909 save proportion ranked 35th amongst goaltenders who performed in not less than eight video games. In the course of the playoffs, he redeemed himself with a .936 save proportion and the Danish goaltender carried out about in addition to you possibly can ask out of your starter. The issue was the workforce in entrance of him could not rating, because the Maple Leafs fell to Columbus Blue Jackets in 5 video games of their best-of-five qualifying-round sequence in August.For Andersen and the Maple Leafs, it was a protracted summer time (and on this bizarre 12 months, fall). His contract turned a subject of commerce hypothesis. With 80 p.c of his wage for the upcoming season paid in signing bonus on July 1, Andersen’s remaining monetary dedication of $1 million seemed like a gorgeous piece for groups trying to spend much less cash.However the timing of the pandemic — and the dearth of a transparent timeline to get previous it — is the place Andersen’s state of affairs turns into complicated.The wage cap for 2021-22, the season that Andersen heads into free company, is prone to keep flat at $81.5 million, with league-wide revenues on a speedy decline.”We’re out of the ‘M’ vary and into the ‘B’ vary,” NHL commissioner Gary Bettman stated in a Zoom convention with reviews on Monday, referring to billions misplaced as a substitute of tens of millions.If Andersen has a career-best season and helps information the Leafs right into a deep playoff run, he’ll desire a increase. The biggest sum of money paid to a goalie this previous offseason on a mean annual worth was Matt Murray with the Ottawa Senators at $6.25 million. With groups turning into fickle about their cap state of affairs, the urge for food to commit giant sums of cash to a beginning goaltender is waning. If Andersen has a season comparable season to any of his final 4 with Toronto, it will be difficult for the Maple Leafs to ask for Andersen to take a pay reduce. Paying the goaltender the identical (or extra) cash could possibly be troublesome for Toronto, given their strained wage cap state of affairs.Earlier than the pandemic, the Leafs counted on annual cap will increase to doll out required raises and recruit gamers. In a flat-cap world, discovering a super state of affairs the place Andersen suits completely and is compensated on the proper stage shall be powerful.If Andersen performs beneath expectations, the Maple Leafs might have a look at cheaper avenues of enhancing their goaltending altogether.Evaluating this season might also pose a problem for the Maple Leafs. Whereas previous outcomes should not all the time a sign of future success, Andersen has a profession file of 53-11-14 towards Canadian groups with three shutouts and a .920 save proportion.Granted, the Canadian groups made some strides in enhancing their squads this summer time, however Andersen’s file stands out in a 12 months the place all video games shall be with Canadian opponents.If Andersen’s going to have a profession 12 months and assist his workforce recover from their latest playoff malaise, there isn’t a time like the current. Assessing what it would imply and discovering the precise compensation is the place it will get tough.