Author Topic: Nik's Blazing Hot Morning After Goaltending Take  (Read 4454 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline Nik the Trik

  • Sittler Status
  • ******
  • Posts: 21711
  • Some Guy On a Message Board
    • View Profile
Nik's Blazing Hot Morning After Goaltending Take
« on: April 24, 2017, 10:18:22 AM »

So now that the season is over and we've all enjoyed the unexpected playoff run and night-in, night-out competitiveness of this young team there's something I want to say. Something I've been sitting on for a while that I didn't want to be a point of contention while we were all having so much fun. Here goes:

I still don't like the Andersen trade.

I know, it seems crazy. Andersen is going to win the MotM standings and had what I would definitely agree was a good, even very good, year. Some people will probably say that his very good year was crucial to this team making the playoffs(I sort of agree) and that making the playoffs is going to be huge for this team's development(I mainly disagree).

But let's consider a few things:

1. Andersen was good, he wasn't great. Among goalies who played 50 games, he finished 10th in save percentage. Among the same group he was 13th in SV% at even strength. He deserves a ton of credit for durability and showed occasional brilliance but he also showed some real areas of weakness(those shootout points will really matter one day) and struggled with consistency(he basically had 3 great months and 3 bad ones)

2. I think we're overvaluing his individual contribution because of the swing from going from getting bad goaltending in one year to getting good goaltending the next. That's a huge shift and will drastically impact a team's fortunes but it doesn't make good great. I don't think Andersen's performance made Matthews or Marner or Nylander exciting players. I don't think it made Kadri have a better season. I think a lot of what we liked about this season would have happened anyway, especially because...

3. You know who else had a good but not great season? Jonathan Bernier. Bernier was better than he showed last year. Perfectly capable of, with a better team in front of him, delivering the kind of goaltending we saw him give the Ducks this year. Bernier's save percentage was .003 behind Bernier for the year but actually a point ahead at even strength. He's a good goalie and he has been for most of his career. The three point difference between Bernier and Andersen this year is identical to the difference between the two of them for their careers.

And after all of the fun of the playoff chase and the playoffs, now we're left with the genuinely difficult question. How do we take what was, to be perfectly blunt, an at times overwhelmed looking defence and turn them into a championship unit. We're already discussing how the free agent market looks bad. The trade market might be worse. The Leafs are probably going to be picking 18th. There really aren't any great avenues.

So while I had a lot of fun this year and Andersen's relative ability was a part of that, I'm still leaning on the side of the Leafs being better off keeping their picks(Sam Steel!) and seeing what Bernier could have given them. While we can debate the value of the experience making the playoffs might or might not give the players, I can say with some confidence that I didn't see anything from Andersen this year that made me think that his availability was something that needed urgent seeing to. I think goalies capable of playing roughly at that level do get moved with some degree of frequency these days.

Making that move once the team had some clearer picture of how to put together their defense still seems like the better decision to me.
Give a man the reputation of an early riser and he can sleep 'til noon
-Mark Twain

Offline CarltonTheBear

  • Global Moderator
  • Sittler Status
  • *****
  • Posts: 18651
    • View Profile
Re: Nik's Blazing Hot Morning After Goaltending Take
« Reply #1 on: April 24, 2017, 10:23:41 AM »
3. You know who else had a good but not great season? Jonathan Bernier. Bernier was better than he showed last year. Perfectly capable of, with a better team in front of him, delivering the kind of goaltending we saw him give the Ducks this year. Bernier's save percentage was .003 behind Bernier for the year but actually a point ahead at even strength. He's a good goalie and he has been for most of his career. The three point difference between Bernier and Andersen this year is identical to the difference between the two of them for their careers.

And Reimer finished with a save percentage higher than both of them.

Offline Nik the Trik

  • Sittler Status
  • ******
  • Posts: 21711
  • Some Guy On a Message Board
    • View Profile
Re: Nik's Blazing Hot Morning After Goaltending Take
« Reply #2 on: April 24, 2017, 10:27:29 AM »
And Reimer finished with a save percentage higher than both of them.

True. I still don't want any part of that contract though.
Give a man the reputation of an early riser and he can sleep 'til noon
-Mark Twain

Offline Bill_Berg

  • Rookie
  • ***
  • Posts: 720
  • Gender: Male
    • View Profile
Re: Nik's Blazing Hot Morning After Goaltending Take
« Reply #3 on: April 24, 2017, 10:29:26 AM »
I agree overall, but Bernier may have had a resurgence in Anaheim that may not have come here. So I don't think it's a given that he has the season he had if he stayed. Assuming we don't make the playoffs with Bernier/without Andersen, we are looking at trading a better pick and an open goal tending potion (not a bad thing) with this year's playoff round. I really liked watching this year so it's a tough call emotionally, but the better long term move was to not get Andersen for sure.

However, Andersen seemed to have trouble adjusting to a new city and the Toronto hype, and it was his first season playing with such a heavy workload. He may be better next year. If he is, that makes the deal a lot easier to like.

I still think the cart was put before the horse, but I don't think management will ever agree. They wanted to make the playoffs this year and addressed a need to get the team there, for long term better or worse. I don't think it's the end of the world that we got Andersen though. It looks to me like he will suffice at least.



Offline Nik the Trik

  • Sittler Status
  • ******
  • Posts: 21711
  • Some Guy On a Message Board
    • View Profile
Re: Nik's Blazing Hot Morning After Goaltending Take
« Reply #4 on: April 24, 2017, 10:33:07 AM »
I agree overall, but Bernier may have had a resurgence in Anaheim that may not have come here. So I don't think it's a given that he has the season he had if he stayed.

I think I acknowledge pretty explicitly in the body texy that I don't think that's a given. I will point out though that Bernier's numbers last year are such a departure from his career averages that I think smart money would have been on him bouncing back to some degree wherever he was.
Give a man the reputation of an early riser and he can sleep 'til noon
-Mark Twain

Offline CarltonTheBear

  • Global Moderator
  • Sittler Status
  • *****
  • Posts: 18651
    • View Profile
Re: Nik's Blazing Hot Morning After Goaltending Take
« Reply #5 on: April 24, 2017, 10:34:57 AM »
And Reimer finished with a save percentage higher than both of them.

True. I still don't want any part of that contract though.

Yeah, it's probably a year or maybe even 2 too long. Especially considering his injury history. But who knows, if the team showed some commitment to him earlier I think they could have probably gotten a deal done on more favourable terms.

Offline Nik the Trik

  • Sittler Status
  • ******
  • Posts: 21711
  • Some Guy On a Message Board
    • View Profile
Re: Nik's Blazing Hot Morning After Goaltending Take
« Reply #6 on: April 24, 2017, 10:41:25 AM »
Yeah, it's probably a year or maybe even 2 too long. Especially considering his injury history. But who knows, if the team showed some commitment to him earlier I think they could have probably gotten a deal done on more favourable terms.

Maybe. I only really focused on Bernier because they had him under contract and effectively paid Anaheim to take him.

Still I think what you're saying underlines the point. Good goaltending is out there.
Give a man the reputation of an early riser and he can sleep 'til noon
-Mark Twain

Offline Bill_Berg

  • Rookie
  • ***
  • Posts: 720
  • Gender: Male
    • View Profile
Re: Nik's Blazing Hot Morning After Goaltending Take
« Reply #7 on: April 24, 2017, 10:45:26 AM »
Yeah, it's probably a year or maybe even 2 too long. Especially considering his injury history. But who knows, if the team showed some commitment to him earlier I think they could have probably gotten a deal done on more favourable terms.

Maybe. I only really focused on Bernier because they had him under contract and effectively paid Anaheim to take him.

Still I think what you're saying underlines the point. Good goaltending is out there.

Good but not great is what you're saying, right? They are rolling the dice that Andersen will be great.

Online L K

  • All Star
  • *****
  • Posts: 8504
    • View Profile
Re: Nik's Blazing Hot Morning After Goaltending Take
« Reply #8 on: April 24, 2017, 11:24:16 AM »
Yeah, it's probably a year or maybe even 2 too long. Especially considering his injury history. But who knows, if the team showed some commitment to him earlier I think they could have probably gotten a deal done on more favourable terms.

Maybe. I only really focused on Bernier because they had him under contract and effectively paid Anaheim to take him.

Still I think what you're saying underlines the point. Good goaltending is out there.

Good but not great is what you're saying, right? They are rolling the dice that Andersen will be great.

Which he wasn't.  Andersen is 27.  In comparison Carey Price is 29.  Jake Allen is 26.    Most goalies who are going to hit that "elite top 5" level of performance will have done so around this age.

Offline Bill_Berg

  • Rookie
  • ***
  • Posts: 720
  • Gender: Male
    • View Profile
Re: Nik's Blazing Hot Morning After Goaltending Take
« Reply #9 on: April 24, 2017, 11:47:33 AM »
Yeah, it's probably a year or maybe even 2 too long. Especially considering his injury history. But who knows, if the team showed some commitment to him earlier I think they could have probably gotten a deal done on more favourable terms.

Maybe. I only really focused on Bernier because they had him under contract and effectively paid Anaheim to take him.

Still I think what you're saying underlines the point. Good goaltending is out there.

Good but not great is what you're saying, right? They are rolling the dice that Andersen will be great.

Which he wasn't.  Andersen is 27.  In comparison Carey Price is 29.  Jake Allen is 26.    Most goalies who are going to hit that "elite top 5" level of performance will have done so around this age.

He wasn't great. And I'm not hot on arguing that he will be great, but I think there are examples of older guys getting great, maybe only briefly though. Tim Thomas comes to mind.

I'm less interested in can he be great and more can he be good enough. I hope so.

Online herman

  • All Star
  • *****
  • Posts: 7803
  • Gender: Male
    • View Profile
Re: Nik's Blazing Hot Morning After Goaltending Take
« Reply #10 on: April 24, 2017, 12:14:59 PM »
I think there was some intangible value in Bernier getting a change of scenery, and Andersen getting out from behind Gibson. I don't know if Bernier would've had a similar season here as he did behind Anaheim's superior defense.

My initial take post-trade was initially both "why so expensive?" and "he'll at the minimum be league average, and will have a chance to outplay his contract, while the Leafs groom an internal option", so I was in the 'love the player, hate the trade' camp.

After one season, I don't see much reason to change that position.

Ideally, as the Leafs up front get more consistent with scoring and playing their structure, Andersen's penchant for soft goals will become less of a factor. We were on the wrong side of a lot of one goal games this year, and generally that is not sustained year over year.

Offline iwas11in67

  • Rookie
  • ***
  • Posts: 404
  • Gender: Male
    • View Profile
Re: Nik's Blazing Hot Morning After Goaltending Take
« Reply #11 on: April 24, 2017, 12:47:21 PM »
Hey Nik, would you trade Andersen and Marner for Price?

Online L K

  • All Star
  • *****
  • Posts: 8504
    • View Profile
Re: Nik's Blazing Hot Morning After Goaltending Take
« Reply #12 on: April 24, 2017, 01:33:23 PM »
Yeah, it's probably a year or maybe even 2 too long. Especially considering his injury history. But who knows, if the team showed some commitment to him earlier I think they could have probably gotten a deal done on more favourable terms.

Maybe. I only really focused on Bernier because they had him under contract and effectively paid Anaheim to take him.

Still I think what you're saying underlines the point. Good goaltending is out there.

Good but not great is what you're saying, right? They are rolling the dice that Andersen will be great.

Which he wasn't.  Andersen is 27.  In comparison Carey Price is 29.  Jake Allen is 26.    Most goalies who are going to hit that "elite top 5" level of performance will have done so around this age.

He wasn't great. And I'm not hot on arguing that he will be great, but I think there are examples of older guys getting great, maybe only briefly though. Tim Thomas comes to mind.

I'm less interested in can he be great and more can he be good enough. I hope so.

I think one important distinction about Tim Thomas is that he wasn't really given an opportunity to play high level hockey so I'm not sure how applicable a guy like Tim Thomas was.  I'm not sure that there are many examples of good starting goaltenders suddenly become arguably the best in the league  when they have been around as a starter in the NHL.

Offline Omallley

  • Global Moderator
  • Rookie
  • *****
  • Posts: 517
    • View Profile
Re: Nik's Blazing Hot Morning After Goaltending Take
« Reply #13 on: April 24, 2017, 02:02:31 PM »
Making that move once the team had some clearer picture of how to put together their defense still seems like the better decision to me.

This, I wholeheartedly agree with.

I do think there's value in a young team playing playoff hockey (especially in being competitive with the leagues best team), and I think that, as the blueline is shored-up, Andersen will see his numbers improve - but I can't help but wonder if doing things in reverse - getting the blueline that you want/need, then building out the goaltending from there would have resulted in spending less assets overall?

Online herman

  • All Star
  • *****
  • Posts: 7803
  • Gender: Male
    • View Profile
Re: Nik's Blazing Hot Morning After Goaltending Take
« Reply #14 on: April 24, 2017, 02:12:18 PM »
Making that move once the team had some clearer picture of how to put together their defense still seems like the better decision to me.

This, I wholeheartedly agree with.

I do think there's value in a young team playing playoff hockey (especially in being competitive with the leagues best team), and I think that, as the blueline is shored-up, Andersen will see his numbers improve - but I can't help but wonder if doing things in reverse - getting the blueline that you want/need, then building out the goaltending from there would have resulted in spending less assets overall?

My guess is that the team wanted a safety net that the young defense could grow under without fear of every. single. mistake. ending up in the back of their net, like it seemed to with Bernier and the first two weeks of Andersen. Hence the jettisoning of Enroth too.

Andersen did bail them out on many an occasion. It could be argued that Bernier would have as well, but his confidence was shot and Babcock had none in him anyway.

TMLfans.ca

Re: Nik's Blazing Hot Morning After Goaltending Take
« Reply #14 on: April 24, 2017, 02:12:18 PM »