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Fantasy: Andersen clear-cut starter with Maple Leafs

Goalie eyes heavier workload after trade; should remain top 15 at position

by Pete Jensen @NHLJensen / Fantasy Insider

The Toronto Maple Leafs kicked off their summer by acquiring one of the best timeshare goalies in the NHL to be their starter.

The Maple Leafs landed goalie Frederik Andersen in a trade with the Anaheim Ducks on Monday and signed him to a five-year contract. Andersen, the first Danish-born goalie to play in the NHL, has a career regular-season record of 77-26-12 in his first three seasons, with at least 20 wins in each. This move puts him in position to finally be a full-time starter for fantasy owners.

Andersen finished 95th in Yahoo's performance-based fantasy rankings this season, 16th among goalies because of his efficient profile. He went 22-9-7 with a 2.30 goals-against average, .919 save percentage and three shutouts in 43 regular-season games (37 starts).

He has been locked into a work split with John Gibson for the past two seasons, forming one of the best goalie tandems in the NHL. Gibson went 21-13-4 with a 2.07 GAA, .920 SV% and four shutouts this regular season, finishing 58th overall in Yahoo and 11th at his position.

Though Jonathan Bernier has one year left on his contract with the Maple Leafs, fantasy owners can expect Andersen to see a workload similar to, if not greater than, when he started 53 games for the Ducks in 2014-15. Andersen's peripheral coverage that season was only slightly inferior to his performance in 2015-16; he had a 2.38 GAA, .914 SV% to go with 35 wins and three shutouts.

After a disappointing end to his mostly successful Anaheim tenure, Andersen gets a fresh start in Toronto.

The Ducks fired coach Bruce Boudreau after losing their fourth straight Game 7 at home in as many Stanley Cup Playoffs. Andersen was in net for Anaheim's two most recent series-deciding games. He allowed five goals on 26 shots faced in a Game 7 loss to the Chicago Blackhawks in the 2015 Western Conference Final, and allowed two goals on 20 shots faced in a Game 7 loss to the Nashville Predators in the first round this postseason.

The end result this postseason was similar to the previous year for Andersen, but he took over for Gibson after the Ducks fell behind 2-0 in the series and nearly rescued them by stealing Games 3 and 4 in Nashville and winning Game 5 in Anaheim. He finished with the best SV% (.947) among goalies with at least four games played this postseason.

Fantasy owners will be looking for red flags as Andersen transitions from a perennial playoff team to one that has missed the playoffs in each of the past three seasons. One of the Ducks' biggest strengths this season was their penalty kill; they led the League in the regular season (87.2 percent) and playoffs (96.2). The Maple Leafs, for comparison's sake, were respectable in that area, ranking 13th at 81.6 percent this regular season.

Toronto finished tied for 23rd in team SV% (.904) and tied for fifth in goals allowed per game (2.93), but here comes Andersen to help their cause -- and there may be more reinforcements on the way. The Maple Leafs will pick first in the 2016 NHL Draft on Friday and are projected to draft center Auston Matthews. They are also likely in the running for Tampa Bay Lightning captain Steven Stamkos, who could become an unrestricted free agent July 1.

The Maple Leafs vastly improved their Shot Attempts Close percentage (50.74, 14th in NHL; 45.56, 27th in 2014-15) in their first season under coach Mike Babcock.

Even before free agency or any further trades, Andersen is well worth a selection among the top 100 fantasy assets and the top 15 goalies on your draft board. He has been one of the most successful goalies League-wide in the past two seasons per appearance, and is an intriguing option given how goalies with heavier workloads have shaken up the fantasy landscape in recent years.

Andersen will also have a chance to get comfortable in his new home, Air Canada Centre, and potentially gain fantasy value at the 2016 World Cup of Hockey, where he will compete for Team Europe.

The Maple Leafs lineup still carries its share of concerns, especially on defense, but Andersen brings enough experience (regular season and postseason) to mask some of its shortcomings, accelerate the rebuild and return value for fantasy owners.

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