Let Freddie stay
Since the Toronto Maple Leafs were eliminated in the play-in round of the National Hockey League (NHL) playoffs, I’ve heard a number of trade rumours surrounding the team. After a disappointing early exit, it is to be expected that there will be rumours of change for that team’s roster. But there is one specific rumour that I’m concerned about. Right now, I don’t think it is the time for the team to trade their starting goaltender, Frederik Andersen. If you are trading your starter, it is usually to allow the team to upgrade at the position. But looking at the players who could be available in free agency or trade, I don’t see any of them being an upgrade on Andersen. Let’s start with the possible free agents. Braden Holtby of the Washington Capitals could be a free agent whenever the off-season begins, but he is coming off one of his worst regular seasons, posting an 0.897 save percentage and a goals against average of over three. Another possible free agent, Corey Crawford of the Chicago Blackhawks, has won Stanley cups, but the fact he is 35 years-old and has struggled to stay healthy concerns me. Trade wise, the Leafs are rumoured to have interest in Pittsburgh Penguins goalie Matt Murray. But Murray has been inconsistent stat wise the last couple seasons, and the Leafs need stability in the crease after falling in the postseason for the fourth straight time. In comparison to these options, Andersen posted a 2.85 goals against average and a 0.909 save percentage. Not to mention, to get an upgrade in net, the Leafs will probably have to pay a higher cap hit than Andersen’s current affordable yearly $5 million contract. In the current flat salary cap position the league is in, it would be difficult for the team to accommodate more than what Andersen is presently earning. After a trade that failed the Leafs as much as the Nazem Kadri for Tyson Barrie and Alex Kerfoot deal did, General Manager Kyle Dubas needs to be careful he is not making another mistake like that. Kadri was a star in the playoffs, while Barrie struggled to find a fit in Toronto. Kerfoot was okay, but having bounced around the lineup the team seems unsure whether he is a true centre or not. Frederik Andersen should be allowed to play out the final year of his contract in Toronto. Trading him now would be a mistake.