On Sunday the Toronto Maple Leafs got their first look at their biggest offseason acquisition, No. 1 overall draft pick Auston Matthews.
On Tuesday, they are going to get their first look at another of their major offseason acquisitions when goaltender Frederik Andersen makes his preseason debut against the Ottawa Senators. The initial expectation for Andersen is that he will play a period, and perhaps a little more, during the game that will be played in Saskatoon.
The Maple Leafs acquired Andersen from the Anaheim Ducks over the summer in exchange for a first-round pick (No. 30 overall, a pick that Toronto acquired from the Pittsburgh Penguins for Phil Kessel) and a second-round pick. They then signed him to a five-year, $25 million extension.
His debut with the Maple Leafs has been delayed a little because he was injured while playing for Denmark at the Olympic qualifying tournament. It was an injury that forced him to miss the World Cup of Hockey and set the stage for Jaroslav Halak to take over for Team Europe in net and help lead them to the championship series against Team Canada.
Goaltending has been a significant issue for Toronto over the past two seasons with the team finishing near the bottom of the league in save percentage each season. In 2015-16 alone they were 24th with a .904 team mark. When you combine that goaltending performance with a defense that surrendered more than 30 shots per game, it helped drive the Maple Leafs to the bottom of the goals against rankings.
To help fix their shortcomings in net they completely overhauled the position over the summer by trading for Andersen and bringing in Jhonas Enroth to serve as his backup. Together that duo should be able to at least get the Maple Leafs back to the middle of the pack when it comes to their goaltending performance.
They paid a steep price to get Andersen, both in terms of assets and salary cap space, but he has proven to be a solid, above average starter in net through the first three years of his career. The team in front of him isn’t going to be as good as the one he had in front of him in Anaheim, so this will definitely be a test for him this season to see how good he really is, but his track record to this point is a promising one. The Maple Leafs need him to be every bit as good as they think he can be if they have any plans on climbing out of the NHL’s basement.