There is not a doubt in my mind that Frederik Andersen is the MVP of the Toronto Maple Leafs. He is the reason that we are in this playoff race at all, and he will be the reason if we are considered a threat in the playoffs. Now that he’s hurt, the chances of making it to the playoffs is greatly diminished.
Remember Auston Matthews”s NHL debut? (the one where he broke a league record by scoring 4 goals in his first NHL game. Ya. That one.) Well, despite Matthews’s huge offensive contributions, they still lost that game. Why? Because Frederik Andersen was not on the top of his game and gave up 5 goals. That just shows you that you can score all the goals you want, but if you can’t prevent teams from scoring on you, it’s useless.
Look at all the losing streaks that the Leafs have been on. All of them was because Andersen was in a slump. In October, the Leafs went 2-4-3 and Andersen had a .869 SV%. Compare that to this current 7-1-1 (Not counting the Buffalo game because he was hurt and didn’t even play the full game) hot streak and his SV% is .930. The difference is astounding.
Bad goaltending has been the downfall of many otherwise, strong teams. There are the Dallas Stars, Winnipeg Jets, and Edmonton Oilers before Cam Talbot. There are also teams who totally take advantage of a hot goaltender. Brian Elliot, Cam Ward, and Devon Dubnyk. In hockey, the goalie position is the one spot that can make or break your team. They are the foundation your team in built on.
And that’s why Frederik Andersen’s injury is a huge looming shadow over this Leafs team. If he is out for the season, so is the rest of the team. If he can recover quickly, so can the Leafs.
I know for a fact that Frederik Andersen’s health will make or break this team.
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