Toronto Maple Leafs: Frederik Andersen Needs To Find Consistency
The Toronto Maple Leafs have allowed 23 goals over their last four games, a number that’s disgustingly unacceptable.
Only three of the 23 goals the Toronto Maple Leafs have allowed in the last four games have been by Curtis McElhinney. That leaves the majority of the blame on Frederik Andersen, so let’s focus on the Leafs starter.
At the start of the season when Andersen was preparing for his public hanging the narrative should have been wait and see. After a flood of irrational, negative and baseless cries for his demise, Andersen pulled through and started to play well.
This isn’t me quitting on Andersen, it’s just a true statement. Frederik Andersen needs to play better and find consistency.
Over the past 11 games – which happens to be a month ago today – Frederik Andersen has the third worst even strength save percentage in the league among goalies with at least 10 games in that stretch.
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That’s even more terrifying when you consider that in those 11 games is a set of back-to-back shutouts for Toronto’s starter. If not for those shutouts he probably falls to dead last behind Cam Ward and Tuukka Rask.
Again, it’s not because he lacks talent. The talent is there, it’s just inconsistent, so let’s not take this as running Andersen out of town – because that’s not what I’m saying.
Here’s a look at his even strength numbers going back month to month (including this past months totals):
January 7th – February 7th: 89.2% (16th out of 18 goalies with 10+ GP)
December 7th – January 7th: 93.9% (3rd out of 20 goalies with 10+ GP)
November 7th – December 7th: 92.9% (14th out of 23 goalies with 10+ GP)
October 7th – November 7th: 90.5% (7th out of 9 goalies with 10+ GP)
His two month stretch beginning on December 7th are high and low extremes, with his first month actually being his 2nd worst.
If the Leafs are truly going to be a good hockey team they need him to find a happy place somewhere around his Nov-Dec stretch. He doesn’t need to be 93.9% great, he just needs to be average good.
This team is shooting at a very high percentage at even strength – a number which is more likely to come down rather than increase. When that happens there will be no games where Toronto allows six goals and still ends up with a point.
How low that number goes – or when it happens – is a guessing game. A factor surely helping the Leafs high percentage and scoring is the fact that they are extremely smart on where they shoot from. Toronto has the 4th lowest average shot distance for in the league at 30.03 feet. The more high quality shots you take, the better chance you have to score more and maintain an above average shooting percentage.
Andersen, though, can’t bank on those shots being available nor can he rely on a high shooting percentage to help him through month stretches of bad times.
He has the skill to be successful for the Toronto Maple Leafs and he’s already shown it for over half the season. What he needs to show everyone now is that he can be consistent so the playoff push can continue.