Over the last two weeks, Anaheim Ducks goaltender Frederik Andersen has gone from relative unknown to one of the hottest properties in the league. During this time, the 24-year-old has appeared in four games, compiling a 4-0-0 record with a .952 save percentage and 1.36 GAA. Suffice to say, these numbers would make any goalie in the NHL proud.
Some will surely look at this burst onto the scene as a flash in the pan, pointing to the fact that Andersen had never played in the NHL before and that many others have had a brief run of success before being figured out. But, this does not give credence to the work that the Danish goaltender has done over the previous three years, as he has compiled goals against average marks of 2.19, 1.67 and 2.19 while moving from the AL-Bank Ligaen (the top league in Denmark) to the Swedish Elite League and finally to the AHL last season.
This transition from league to league has been made possible by his immense talents, as he uses a large 6-foot-4, 230-pound frame to get in front of nearly every puck that comes his way. He also has a great glove hand, which was used in a number of the 32 saves picked up in a 2-1 win over the New York Rangers on Monday night.
But while all Andersen’s talent and proven ability show that he is shaping up to be a top-notch goaltender for years to come, it doesn’t appear that this will come in Anaheim. This is because the Ducks already have Viktor Fasth and Jonas Hiller in their ranks, both of whom are in the midst of their primes at 31-years-old. Both are starting-caliber goaltenders and will make the Andersen’s path to starting a nearly impossible one anytime in the near future.
In addition to these two goaltenders at the NHL level, Anaheim also boasts top goaltender prospect John Gibson, who is playing for their AHL affiliate. In nine games for Norfolk Admirals this season, Gibson has compiled a 5-1-2 record with a 1.61 GAA and .951 save percentage. At 20-years old, he is simply going nowhere, furthering the case that Andersen simply will not have a place to start in Anaheim at any point in the future.
That does not mean that Andersen will not have any value for the organization though — in fact, far from it. With a two-year contract at $1.15 million annually through 2015-16, the goaltender will be available for an incredibly cheap salary, in turn only upping his trade value. Furthering this value is that numerous teams in the NHL are in dire need of a long-term solution in net and will pay a ransom for it.
It would appear that the time is right to cash in on Andersen by acquiring a chip that will help either the Ducks’ power play that ranks last in the NHL, or their penalty kill that ranks second to last. With the best record in the league at 12-3-1, the Ducks turning their third-string goaltender into multiple players that will help the team improve its special teams would be a no-brainer.