The Carolina Hurricanes entered the off-season with three free agent goaltenders: UFA’s Petr Mrazek and James Reimer and RFA Alex Nedeljkovic. They dealt Nedeljkovic to the Detroit Red Wings in a deal that landed them another free agent, UFA Jonathan Bernier. As of right now, it does not appear that any of these netminders will be with the team this season. Instead, the team has reportedly agreed to a two-year deal with former Toronto Maple Leafs starter Frederik Andersen. The Hurricanes seemingly believe in a bounce-back from Andersen, whose new contract will carry a $4.5MM AAV.
Prior to last season, no one would have batted an eye at the terms of Andersen’s new deal, though they likely would have expected it to come with the Maple Leafs. However, Andersen imploded in 2020-21, struggling to stay on the ice with a nagging injury and performing poorly when he did play. Andersen’s .895 save percentage was well below his own career average and below average league-wide as well. Andersen lost his job to Jack Campbell and all signs pointed to Toronto moving on. They did just that, ironically signing former Carolina starter Petr Mrazek.
It would be one thing for Carolina to replace Mrazek with Andersen if savings were involved or even at the same price. However, they ended up paying $700K more in AAV for Andersen, despite Mrazek being younger and having far better numbers over the past few years. Granted, Mrazek also missed considerable time this year due to injury and has not played more than 40 games in a season in the past four years. Carolina is looking for a legitimate starter and clearly feel that Andersen can be that. The 31-year-old has played 60+ games three times, all in the past five years, and the ’Canes hope he can do it once again. They payed up for that potential; hopefully Andersen can follow through.
What WILL the Leafs do now? (Hand-wringing, angst everywhere…)
Mrazek is the most volatile G in the league. hope they know what they’re getting into.
Andersen was volatile as well in terms of stopping pucks. He was terrible to start every season for a few weeks, and in the postseason he was always good to let in one weak goal a game.