- Frederik Andersen has started more games than any other NHL goalie in the past three seasons
- The Toronto Maple Leafs have allowed the second-most goals in the league
- See analysis of Andersen’s Vezina odds, and who bettors should be targeting
Tuesday was a rude awakening for the Toronto Maple Leafs of just how lethal their Atlantic Division foes, the Tampa Bay Lightning, can be with the puck. Tampa Bay poured seven goals into the Maple Leafs’ net — all against starter Frederik Andersen — in a blowout that Toronto fans had to witness on home ice.
The individual meltdown was enough to sink Andersen’s 2020 Vezina odds, which are now set at +800. Back in March, those odds were all the way down at +300.
2020 NHL Vezina Odds
|Andrei Vasilevskiy (Lightning)||+500|
|Ben Bishop (Stars)||+750|
|Frederik Andersen (Maple Leafs)||+800|
|Sergei Bobrovsky (Panthers)||+800|
|John Gibson (Ducks)||+900|
|Carey Price (Canadiens)||+1000|
|Marc-Andre Fleury (Golden Knights)||+1400|
|Jordan Binnington (Blues)||+1600|
|Devan Dubnyk (Wild)||+1600|
|Braden Holtby (Capitals)||+1600|
|Tuukka Rask (Bruins)||-125|
|Martin Jones (Sharks)||+2000|
|Matt Murray (Penguins)||+2500|
|Connor Hellebuyck (Jets)||+2200|
Odds taken 10/12/19
Andersen’s Anticipated Load Management
No one has started more games the past three seasons than Andersen (192). The Maple Leafs have also lost in the first round of the playoffs each of those years. No one really knows if Andersen was fatigued or not in those instances, but the team appears to be taking a measure to ease his workload this year anyway.
“I’m sure we’ll try to do some load management or whatever you call it.” -Frederik Andersen, workhorse
— luke fox (@lukefoxjukebox) September 4, 2019
In the first 10 days of the season, that hasn’t really been the case — Andersen has started four of Toronto’s five games. And in order to play Andersen less than in the past, the Maple Leafs must believe they have a viable backup to take his place. So Andersen’s potential load management is likely very situational.
Mike Babcock on what he’s looking for from #Leafs next back-up goalie: “We have to make the playoffs. We can all agree that’s the priority. So that answers that question.”
So, load management for Frederik Andersen is not exactly the priority.
— Kristen Shilton (@kristen_shilton) September 12, 2019
In terms of his Vezina prospects, a high volume of starts is a good thing because it improves his chances of leading the league in wins (something three of the past five winners have done). Three of the past five winners started at least 60 games, too.
Maple Leafs’ Electric Offense Hurts Andersen
To the extent that it exists in the NHL, the Maple Leafs play a run-and-gun type of offense. They fight fire with fire, taking a “best defense is a good offense” type of approach.
That’s how it’s been early this season, in which Toronto has allowed the second-most goals in the NHL (19) and the second-most shots against (160). Andersen has simply been tested too much in the early going.
— Sportsnet (@Sportsnet) October 10, 2019
Of course, overcoming that kind of onslaught would make Andersen quite the Vezina candidate.
Andersen has finished as high as fourth in Vezina voting in his career (back in 2017-18, when he faced the most shots in the NHL and made the most saves), but he has never had Vezina-caliber numbers. As a starter, he has hovered around a 2.60 goals against average and .917 save percentage, while Vezina winners are typically in the range of a 2.20 GAA and .925 save percentage.
Torched for 7 goals in the #MapleLeafs lopsided loss to the Lightning tonight, Frederik Andersen's career struggles against the Bolts continued (as these numbers can attest to) pic.twitter.com/tefGJckwom
— StatsCentre (@StatsCentre) October 11, 2019
With that said, he shouldn’t be your Vezina pick even as the value of his odds has grown more lucrative. If load management does come into play, that will hurt him. His team’s sub-standard defense is already hurting him.
A better buy-low candidate is Tampa Bay’s Andrei Vasilevskiy (+500). He probably doesn’t seem like a buy-low candidate, since he’s still the frontrunner. But his odds have taken quite a hit due to a slow start (3.04 GAA, .903 save percentage). Bet on the reigning Vezina winner to bounce back.