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Toronto Acquires Frederik Andersen From Anaheim, Signs 5-Year Deal

Toronto Acquires Frederik Andersen From Anaheim, Signs 5-Year Deal

In an ideal world, the Anaheim Ducks would have been able to keep both Frederik Andersen and John Gibson in their system for the forseeable future. However, that isn’t the case.

The Ducks dealt Andersen to the Toronto Maple Leafs early Monday afternoon, for the 30th overall pick in this year’s draft, and a second-rounder in the 2017 draft.

When the Ducks switched from Gibson to Andersen during the postseason, we broke down a comparison of the two – and they both projected, as their numbers show bystanders at first glance, to be effective NHL starters for years to come.

Both goaltenders are young, with one under contract for at least three more seasons (Gibson) and the other a pending RFA this summer.

John Gibson

John Gibson should now become the undisputed starting goaltender for the Anaheim Ducks heading into next season.

The expected expansion draft next summer, though, threw a wrench in those plans.

In the coming week, the NHL is expected to announce the league’s expansion to Las Vegas, Nevada. That expansion will come with an expansion draft in the summer of 2017, where teams will be given a limited list of players to protect and the expansion team will be given their pick of the remaining skaters and goaltenders to create a team from.

Assuming the current expansion draft rules hold up, each team will only be allowed to protect one goaltender with more than two years of NHL experience.

That left the Ducks with the hard choice of deciding; they could either protect Andersen and expose Gibson, or vice versa.

As a result, they chose to deal Andersen out of the system.

General Manager Bob Murray told the OC Register’s Eric Stephens that he would have to move one of the two goaltenders soon, or he’d risk losing them for nothing at the expansion draft. During a talk with Stephens about Andersen’s ongoing contract negotiations (he’s currently an RFA), the GM came right out and admitted this was something he considered a certainty:

“If I can get Freddie signed one way or the other, I’ve got to move one because I’ll lose one for sure in expansion,” Murray said. “It just will happen. It’s just something that’s in front of us. It’s there. We have a lot of defensemen.

“So we have to turn some of these things into assets.”

Andersen played the second half of the postseason for the Ducks this spring, while Gibson started the team’s ultimately unsuccessful series against the Nashville Predators in net. Determining which of the two the team would keep on board was difficult; Andersen had proven more durability than Gibson, but the younger netminder offered longer cost control and a potentially higher ceiling.

Ultimately, though, the Ducks decided to move Andersen, getting quite a haul back from the Toronto Maple Leafs –  two high draft picks.

The Ducks' Frederik Andersen may be trade bait at the deadline.

Frederik Andersen begins a new chapter of his career in Toronto.

The cost isn’t altogether surprising. The Ducks have seen Andersen – who is 26 – play in over 50 games in a single season, racking up 97 total games in the last two years, while putting up positive GSAA metrics for the 2015-16 season and recording ‘quality starts’ in at least 60% of his appearances in each of the last two years. For the Leafs, this could hopefully mean a fairly cost-controlled starter; if they decide to retain Bernier as well, this gives them a solid tandem to work with.

The Ducks get more than just a first and a second out of the deal, though; they get the security of knowing they won’t have to expose the promising Gibson next summer.

To start, the Ducks have more cost control with Gibson than Andersen (who could command over $3 million per season this summer). The Pacific Division club will still have their remaining netminder under contract for just $2.3 million per season for the next three years. At the end of that deal, he’ll be an RFA once again; this is Andersen’s last contract before he hits UFA status.

The two have also posted nearly identical numbers in the last two years. Like Andersen, Gibson posted positive GSAA metrics for the 2015-16 season. He also recorded quality starts in more than 60% of his appearances in 2014-15, and in more than 50% of his appearances this past year. He should be a solid option for the forseeable future.

With a volatile market and a desire not to lose one of the two for nothing, the Ducks almost had no choice but to make this move. Given the tough corner they were in, though, it’s entirely possible Anaheim is as much a winner in this deal as Toronto.

UPDATE: The Leafs have followed up the trade by announcing that they have signed Andersen to a five-year contract extension. He was set to become a restricted free agent on July 1st.

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