According to multiple sources now, the Pittsburgh Penguins may have their sights set on pending UFA goaltender Frederik Andersen. A player new Penguins’ President of Hockey Operations Brian Burke knows well, chatter is that the Penguins are looking for someone to come in an lessen the load for Tristan Jarry and that someone could be the polarizing Andersen out of Toronto.
The Penguins window is to win is shrinking and many argue their undoing this postseason was poor goaltending. Talk now is the franchise may decide to make a call when free agency opens, but if they are keenly interested, might actually try to trade with Toronto for Andersen’s rights.
Andersen spent five seasons with the Maple Leafs and while he could take a discount to return as Jack Campbell’s backup next season, it appears he’s closer to leaving the organization than staying. At 31, he fits with the age group of the Penguins roster and if they’re in desperate need to improve between the pipes, he might get the best deal from that organization on a short-term contract. That is, assuming they can work with their salary cap to fit him in.
Dan Kingerski of Pittsburgh Hockey Now cited Andersen as someone the Penguins would be kicking tires on and he noted the organization isn’t afraid of his reputation as a goalie who has led the Maple Leafs to multiple first-round playoff losses. The fact Burke knows him well and Ron Hextall is a former goalie himself, they might feel they have inside knowledge on whether or Andersen’s playoff numbers (which aren’t that bad) are a better indication of how he’ll perform than the fact the Leafs can’t seem to go deep in the postseason.
Andersen Could Mentor Jarry and Win the Starter’s Job
Lyle Richardson of SI.com writes, “Andersen could find it difficult to land another starter’s job in what’s expected to be a buyer’s market. He could be receptive to a short-term deal as Jarry’s mentor in Pittsburgh.” If the Penguins can get through a round or two, perhaps Andersen’s image as a playoff flop will go away and he can land a better deal in the free agent market a year or two from now.
The reason he’d be attractive is if Jarry struggles and the Penguins call on Andersen to take over. Should that happen, Andersen’s stock would rise on the open market. At the end of the day, Andersen will be looking to maximize his value on the open market, but it’s not clear if that comes this summer or next.
There are a couple of other teams who could be in the mix. If the Edmonton Oilers can move Mikko Koskinen, they might be looking for a 1A to Mike Smith and in a year’s time, the Oilers might be able to offer Andersen a bit longer term if they can’t move Koskinen.