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Get to Know a Maple Leaf: Frederik Andersen

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As part of the build-up to the first-round playoff series between the Capitals and the Maple Leafs, Japers' Rink will be looking at some of the important Leafs players and how they might impact the series.

NHL: Washington Capitals at Toronto Maple Leafs Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports

Frederik Andersen

#31 / Goaltender / Toronto Maple Leafs

Height: 6-4 | Weight: 230 | Born: October 2, 1989

Birthplace: Herning, Denmark | Drafted: 187th, 2010 (Carolina); 87th, 2012 (Anaheim)

  • Assets: Has tremendous size for the goaltending position, as well as loads of natural puck-stopping ability. Has proven capable of putting up great numbers at lower levels. Is capable of making both the routine and the spectacular save.
  • Flaws: Is still a little raw in terms of his overall technique, so he needs to gain more experience against elite shooters. Also must continue to work on adding more consistency to his game. Injuries can be an issue here.
  • Career Potential: Big, talented goaltender with a little upside, when healthy.

Career 25-Game Rolling Five-on-Five Save Percentage (via Corsica):

Why you should know who he is: Andersen is a competent NHL-caliber starter. His career .918 save percentage in the NHL (over nearly 200 games) is sound, and he was Anaheim’s starter on the Ducks’ run to within a game of the Stanley Cup Final two years ago. This season, he started 66 games and posted a .918.

While that’s not so different from average (for a starter), it’s also worth remembering the quality of the defense in front of him didn’t help. Per Corsica, Andersen stopped nearly 99% of “low danger” shots faced, ranking fourth this year among goalies with at least 1000 minutes played (behind Braden Holtby, Keith Kinkaid, and Ben Bishop). He may not be a goalie who breaks under a barrage of long-range shots.

How the Caps can stop him: The first part is mental. Andersen is good, but not good enough to merit a significant change in game plan by himself—many teams have similar caliber goalies, and he may be the weakest netminder of the playoff teams in the East. If the Caps are thinking about him much, he’s gotten inside their heads (and it’s not tough to imagine what happens next).

Second, save percentage is a function of both goalie quality and team defense quality. As good as Andersen may be, Toronto’s defense gives some of that advantage back. The Caps already seem to prioritize shot quality over quantity a little more than the typical team—if they continue to do that, they should be able to get a variety of high-quality looks, and more than enough should end up in the net.