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Thursday’s FTB: Creating a load management program for Frederik Andersen

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The road to start number 56.

NHL: Toronto Maple Leafs at Calgary Flames Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports

Freddie. Fred. Fredex. The Denmark Wall. The Orange-Headed Protector of the Blue and White.

There’s no way to downplay the kind of season Frederik Andersen has had in net for the Leafs. His .924 save percentage (Sv%) is tied for seventh in the NHL with Jaroslav Halak (ironically) while he is tied for first in wins at 32 in 48 games.

Andersen’s season looks even better when looking at one of my personal favourite advanced stats: Goals Saved Above Average (GSAA). To put it simply, this is the “How much is our goalie saving or screwing us” stat. GSAA takes a goaltender’s Sv% relative to league average Sv% to determine how many individual goals that specific goalie is saving (a positive stat) or allowing (a negative stat).

Based on that, Andersen has personally saved approximately 24 goals (GSAA = 23.61). In comparison, Jonathan Quick, who is tied with Keith Kinkaid for the worst Sv% in the league at .891, has a GSAA of -18.65!

Wicked regular season for Andersen wouldn’t you say? But with the calendars on March heading into April, the focus is shifting to the playoffs.

There were many issues during that “fun” series against Boston last season and one of them was goaltending. Andersen finished the series at a .896 Sv% allowing 23 goals. Obviously he wasn’t all to blame and we’ll never know exactly what went wrong but possible fatigue was brought up.

Andersen played 66 regular season games in each of his last two years as a Leaf and apparently Mike Babcock (via Mark Masters) wants to reduce that number by ten.

After the Vancouver game, Andersen ideally has seven more starts for the rest of the season. We can already give three of those starts to Garret Sparks as the Leafs have three more back to backs. That leaves four remaining (as Andersen will likely get the first half of each set) to spread among himself and Sparks.

I think the two games against Tampa (on March 11th and April 4th) have to be Freddie. The Lightning have always been a test for the Leafs and if they want to be at their best, it’ll be with Andersen between the pipes.

Given the craze of Saturday nights, I wouldn’t be surprised if Babcock have the other two starts be against the Edmonton Oilers this coming Saturday and the New York Rangers at home (March 23rd).

The Sens are the Sens, and there isn’t a reason why Sparks shouldn’t be a win against them on the 30th.

To recap:

Andersen

Sparks

I doubt this is exactly how Babcock runs the Leafs crease for the remainder of the season and it’ll be interesting to see the final program. How do you think it’ll play out?

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