Should the Flames pursue reportedly available Ducks goaltender Frederik Andersen in a trade?

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Photo Credit: Sergei Belski/USA TODAY Sports

This was supposed to be the season in which the Brian Burke-Brad Treliving era Calgary Flames took a major step forward, but shoddy goaltending has sabotaged those lofty preseason expectations. 

From the perspective of performance, spending efficiency and asset management, the Flames’ goaltending has been a bit of a disaster. The club ranks 30th in all situation save percentage by a good margin, despite having committed the fourth most salary cap space among all NHL teams to the goaltending position, according to NHLNumbers.com. That’s ugly stuff.

The good news is that Calgary’s big-money goaltenders are on expiring contracts, but it’s clear that the Flames need to address their goaltending going forward, and there could be some intriguing names available on the trade market. One that stands out in particular is Danish-born Anaheim Ducks goaltender Frederik Andersen, who may shake loose in Orange County as a result of John Gibson’s stellar recent performance, according to a report from TSN’s Darren Dreger. Is this the sort of deal that the Flames should pursue aggressively?

Let’s begin with what Dreger reported during a Thursday night edition of ‘Insider Trading’:

Keep an eye too on the Anaheim Ducks. Not a strong market for goaltenders, but the belief is that maybe Anton Khudobin or perhaps (Frederik) Andersen could be available. It’s based on the play of John Gibson. Not a strong market but keep an eye on what’s going on in Montreal, perhaps there’s some interest there, maybe in Calgary. The asking price on Andersen is going to be extremely high, but word on the street is that those goalies are available.

So it would seem that not only is there some possibility that Andersen may be available, but Dreger specifically name checked the Flames as a possible fit. 

Andersen is currently on the injured reserve with a suspicious bout of the flu. The twice-drafted 26-year-old goaltender was scratched with flu-like symptoms 10 days ago, and has yet to return since though the Ducks have indicated that he’s getting close. He must’ve been really sick to have missed more than 10 days of action.

How good is Frederik Andersen?

The big Danish netminder has been dogged with questions about his technique, but there’s no doubt about his NHL size (he’s listed at 6-foot-3 and 225 pounds) and overall athleticism. There’s also no questioning his career results, as Andersen has been dominant in the SHL and the AHL and well above average in his 98-game NHL career.

I’d think that a goaltender with Andersen’s profile – sometimes choppy technique, but insane athleticism – would be particularly interesting to a Flames team that employs a highly-regarded goalie coach like Jordan Sigalet. 

Andersen has managed a .917 save percentage over 98 games, results that qualify as better than average for an NHL starter. The 26-year-old was sensational as a rookie, but managed only average results in a more demanding role during his first full season as a serious starting goaltender during the 2014-15 campaign. 

Andersen’s track record as a workhorse starter-type is a bit shallow, but his overall track record is suggestive of a goaltender that’s a safe bet to manage average results in heavy usage. Certainly you’d much rather have Andersen this season and beyond than any of Jonas Hiller, Karri Ramo or Joni Ortio.

Contract Status

Andersen’s contract status is a major reason why the Ducks will likely get a very decent return should they opt to deal Andersen.

Anaheim’s most regular starter in 2014-15, Andersen is on a affordable, expiring contract that carries a $1.15 million cap hit for this season. This summer Andersen will be a restricted free agent with arbitration rights. He’ll require a $1.3 million qualifying offer (QO) from a team if they hope to retain their first refusal rights in contract negotiations, though the Ducks (or a team that acquires Andersen via trade) could also opt for team-elected arbitration in lieu of extending him a QO.

There’s no doubt that Andersen is due a significant raise this summer, and he’ll be able to use Jonathan Bernier and his $4.125 million per year ticket as a comparable for his final restricted season. Of course, the whole point of trading for a player like Andersen would be to extend him for several years and use that final remaining restricted season to restrain the annual average value of a longer-term deal.

Acquisition Cost

This one is a bit hard to peg, particularly because the trade market for NHL goaltenders is as variable and unpredictable as goalie performance is.

We know that goalies that are in that fringe starter/high-end backup range on expiring deals bound for unrestricted free agency – think Eddie Lack, Michal Neuvirth, Jhonas Enroth, Devan Dubnyk – are generally worth third-round draft picks, though Cam Talbot netted the New York Rangers significantly more than that as a result of a wild overpayment by the Edmonton Oilers. 

We also know that goaltenders who fit a similar profile, but have a few restricted free agent seasons remaining – think Martin Jones, Robin Lehner, Cory Schneider – generally cost about a first-round pick to acquire. Andersen isn’t quite a Schneider-quality goaltender, but he’s a better and more tested bet in my view than Jones or Lehner. 

Now the Flames aren’t in a position at the moment to deal a 2016 first-round pick without significant conditions attached, obviously, but that’s likely to be fair market value for a goaltender of Andersen’s quality.

Should the Flames do it?

The Flames need to have their eyes on two or three years down the road, and of course, they dealt their first-round pick in 2015 for Dougie Hamilton.

Dealing a first-round pick for a very young, very good defenseman is one thing. Dealing a first-round pick for a goaltender – even a goaltender like Andersen who does conceivably have his best years ahead of him – is another matter entirely. And of course, as previously mentioned, the Flames simply cannot afford to part with their 2016 first-round pick just in case they don’t get this ship righted. 

If there’s a deal to be made involving a conditional first-round pick or a second-round pick and a really good prospect, then maybe that begins to make some sense for the Flames. Ramo and Hiller’s deals are expiring, and anyway, they haven’t been nearly good enough to warrant another lucrative deal next season. Ortio will be a restricted free agent, but there’s no way he’s shown enough to be pencilled in as anything more than a true backup or as organizational depth.

And of course, the club lost probable goaltender-of-the-future Jon Gillies for four-to-six months to hip surgery on Thursday. It’s a tough break for a promising young player.

Now the hip injury shouldn’t change our bullish projections of Gillies’ abilities. As the goaltending position has evolved from the standup stylings of past generations to the physically demanding pseudo-martial art that we see today, hip surgery for goaltenders has become something like Tommy John surgery for pitchers – it’s going to happen eventually. That Gillies is losing a full year of development time doesn’t change our appraisal of his ceiling, but it may be reasonably expected to delay the timeline for his arrival as a full-time NHL goaltender.

At some point the Flames are going to need to address their goaltending, and Andersen is as good a young netminder as you’ll find available. He’s probably better than any of the top goaltenders likely to be available in free agency this summer and that he has a restricted season remaining, which can be used to restrain his annual average value on a longer-term deal, makes him a worthy trade target for any club desperate for help in net. 

And there’s no club in hockey more desperate in this area than the Flames are at the moment.

  • Giving up a 2016 1st round draft choice is equivalent to bringing back the Sutter days….not a chance!!

    Stay the course…take your lumps this year and gain a high draft pick as well as retaining your own 2016 1st rounder…. Plenty of free agent goalies will be available in the offseason….

  • Kevin R

    Goalies on the cusp of showing great promise but small sample size are so taboo, you have to be careful. But really, how do you bring in Andersen without dumping Ramo or Hiller back on to Anaheim. Suddenly the effective price goes up because we are in effect doing a goalie dump.
    In the Bernier thread I posted a scenario of our cap going into next year & we are hooped from being too creative, The only scenario that could fit going into the cap next year but available to a move now is Bernier. Otherwise Stu Cazz is right. We made our bed & we have to lie in it this year with Ramo/Hiller sheets & blankets. Shop for a goalie come June.

    I think depending how this home stand goes this month, we should be targeting the TDL & who gets jettisoned for picks & prospects. I like a lot of things BT has done, his contract negotiations have been solid & his trade last summer was very good. But he should have moved Wideman in the summer. His 5.250 cap space is going to be the only hope of keeping Hudler or Russell. I don’t know anymore about this team, they can be very good or very bad. If we get a win streak going on this home stand, we may have to ride with Hudler & Russell for a playoff race. If we go even just .500, we have no hope of fitting Russell, Hudler or Jones within our cap & start selling in January. Forget the goaltending options now, that’s a summer task. Unless you want to roll the dice Bernier can pull a Dubynek & leafs take Hiller back. A trade for Andersen right now is just not a fit, maybe in June when we’ll have no limitations & plenty of options.

    JMHO

  • Max_Power

    I really can’t see Anaheim wanting to trade a good young starting goaltender within division. GM’s are reluctant to do this.
    I think because of this Calgary would have to overpay. Best look elsewhere.

  • OKG

    Maybe if we get a good return on Hudler at the trade deadline, we can flip that after the season for Andersen. Not interested in any such moves immediately.

    Play Hiller Against Boston For Auston.

  • It Was In!

    Wouldn’t that be a huge kick in the balls for Hiller. Loses his job to the kid in Anaheim, then the kid comes over here and steals his job again. Hopefully the idea of that lights a fire under Hiller and he actually plays a stretch of good games for us.

  • travisbell

    I know where everyone above is coming from when they say to ride the course (with its turbulence and all) but the big point to me is that Andersen seems like as much of a sure NHL calibre starting goaltender as I’ve ever seen. At 26, you should still have a number of solid years left. Say what you will about our prospects but I think both Ortio and Gillies could use another few years before getting a serious look at taking the reigns as a true #1.

    I’d be shocked if Hiller or Ramo stick around beyond this year (unless one of them starts playing like a real NHL goalie) so that puts the Flames looking for a real #1 goalie.

    Everyone applauded BT for picking up Hamilton (a young, fairly sure top 4 D) for the price of a first round draft pick. I’m not sure this situation is any different. Toss a first rounder for a sure #1 goalie? Could be worth it. You’re never going to do very well with the league worst GAA and SV% no matter who’s up front.

    • piscera.infada

      Okay. So you’re saying give up your first-round pick this year (which is definitely what they’ll want)?

      In all likelihood that pick is falling in the top-10 of the draft, and could very well be in the top-5. It could potentially end up being a top-3 pick with the new lottery rules. That’s, quite simply, an absolute no go.

      • travisbell

        I’m not saying that I am 100% sold on this idea but I am saying it’s something that you have to think about. Good UFA goalies don’t seem to available in spades and the teams that seem to be poised for the cup are backed by good high quality guys who ride the train with a team for a while–just like Kipper did.

        Speaking of Kipper, ever since he left our goalie situation has been pretty depressing. I don’t see the Flames ever doing well until there’s some stability in this position. You want a guy who can help carry the team for the next 5 or 6 years. Is Andersen the guy who can help with that? Maybe, I don’t know. But he is the closest thing I’ve seen for a while that’s being reported as available.

        • piscera.infada

          Look, I completely understand what you’re getting at. If the Flames didn’t have the makings of a cemented lottery team this year, I could probably get behind the idea.

          Simply put, what if the Oilers had made a similar deal last year?

          I just think this team has bigger issues than just goaltending (and that goaltending has been unsustainably bad). I prefer then much more cautious option of doing what Dallas did last year. They were sunk by horrible goaltending, and they made an effort to fix it in the offseason. Acquiring Andersen in-season when the whole league can clearly see your goalie woes is dealing from an incredible position of weakness. Now couple that with the fact that (as Kevin R said above) you’re trying to get Anaheim to deal him in-division (where if you’re right about his potential, he could burn them for close to a decade), and you have a recipe for a massive overpay.

      • supra steve

        Dude. Welcome to the dark side. Yes, a top 5 pick is a real possibility this year. Contrary to your comment from yesterday…”-I honestly don’t see this team being bottom-5 bad, and I still think they go on a run at point.”

        A top 5 pick has real potential to yield one of the 3 lotto picks, thus is to valuable to move.

        • piscera.infada

          I never said “they won’t finish in the bottom-5”. I said, “I’m not getting my hopes up about picking first-overall because that will take a lot of luck”.

          I don’t think this team is bottom-5 bad, and yes, I still think they go on a run at some point, but it would be utterly moronic for me to say that a team that currently sits in the bottom-5 can’t finish in the bottom-5. It’s simply that you’re never going to hear me say “Auston Matthews” after every loss. That’s not realistic (in my opinion)–being calculated with your draft picks, is.

  • piscera.infada

    Giving up two first round picks in a row doesn’t seem like a good idea to me. That being said, if we can somehow obtain a second first round pick or several second/third round picks in exchange for a vet (hudler, Russell, Wideman, Jones, hiller, ramo) then I would definitely be open to using those picks in a package for Anderson.

    That being said, I think our best bet for a trading partner is still Tampa.

  • travisbell

    Ya, to gamble on what looks like a top 3 draft pick (lets assume this is the case for the rest of the year–which is likely) is dangerous. God knows we can’t afford to repeat the Sutter years.

    I’m not sure we can compare any situation to Edmonton… haha, there’s something pretty special happening up there… *cough*

  • I have no idea why the Ducks would even be considering this. Anton Khudobin is bad. Very bad. Gibson has a great track record and is poised to be a very good goaltender but what if he isn’t ready? I suppose if the Ducks are ready to blow things up then by all means but they will be looking at a pretty good return for Andersen. I don’t think they are even close to the blow it up and rebuild mindset so him being available doesn’t make sense to me.

  • Attention is needed related to our D TJ, Gio and Hammy are keepers. Wilson got a raw deal at the end of camp. He was steady and one of the best D in camp. Bring him back as second pairing D . We have kids who can play the game in Kulak and Kulkin. Smid could stick around as a safety net. Loses Engelland on a buy out. Trade Wideman and bobs your uncle. D looking better.

    I wouldn’t resign any of our goalies. There will be lots including starters in
    Free agency. Others will be available at the draft. You move Wideman for. 2 and
    A 3. You move Russell at the TDL for a 2 and a 3. Now we have 10 or 11 picks in 16. Plus you can see Edmonton, Carolina and Buffalo as well as TO all vying
    For that 1 pick. Take your chances in the lotto. It is fixed and Bettman loves the Calgary brass. You might wind up picking 1/2/3. You’re gonna get a great player from the top 5 slots even through the top 10Be patient and just ride it out. It’s not just a 1/2/3 it is the early picks through all seven rounds.

  • Frederik Andersen is a .922evsv% goalie in his time in Anahiem, over 98 games and only 2000ish evSA

    Jonas Hiller during the same period was a .929evsv% goalie in 76 games. Hiller is .927 career over 9000SA

    Anahiem is not Calgary. Andersen is not likely to some here and burn the place down.

    If he can be had at fair value for the Flames, he’s an upgrade over Ramo, but don’t expect a savior.

  • KiLLKiND

    I don’t want Anderson personally as trading with the Ducks could lead to lots of regret in the future. Another reason is that the Tampa’s 3 headed goaltending problem is full goalies that are in my opinion better than Anderson.

    If Calgary is going to trade for a goalie we should trade for a goalie that makes us come away winning the trade hands down. Anderson isn’t wanted in Anaheim for a reason he isn’t going to be a starter he will be a better than average backup. If Calgary is considering trading our 1st to fix goaltending we need to go after a goalie with a much higher ceiling. package our 1st with something but trading for an above average backup sounds silly to me when that is a marginal improvement over our goalies.

    To win the cup I believe we will need a goalie that is considered top 10 or elite. Anderson does not appear to be in that category. As I’ve said before Calgary should try and get Gudlevskis. Tampa will need to trade one of their goalies within the next year they will probably prefer not to trade him but when you have 3 goalies at some point they will have to bite the bullet and lose one of their goalies. hopefully it’s to us and hopefully it’s Gudlevskis.

  • amaninvan

    Thomas Drance wrote:

    “I’d think that a goaltender with Andersen’s profile – sometimes choppy technique, but insane athleticism – would be particularly interesting to a Flames team that employs a highly-regarded goalie coach like Jordan Sigalet.”

    Isn’t that basically describing Ramo?