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About Last Season: Frederik Andersen

The Danish netminder had an up-and-down regular season followed by a stellar playoff run. Should the Hurricanes bring him back?

Carolina Hurricanes v Florida Panthers - Game Four Photo by Joel Auerbach/Getty Images

Frederik Andersen: 2022-23 By the Numbers

  • Age: 33
  • NHL seasons: 10
  • Regular season: 21-11-1, 2.48 goals-against average, .903 save percentage, one shutout in 33 games started
  • Playoffs: 5-3-0, 1.83 goals-against average, .927 save percentage, no shutouts in nine games started

As we continue our series looking back at each Hurricanes player’s 2022-23 season, we come to the player who represents perhaps the biggest decision the team needs to make regarding internal pending unrestricted free agents in goalie Frederik Andersen.

Andersen’s regular season this year was a decidedly rougher ride this season from the year before, as his numbers dipped across the board, from flirting with being a Vezina Trophy finalist at 35-14-3 with a .922 save percentage and 2.17 goals-against average the year before to 33-21-11 with a .248 GAA and .903 save percentage this year.

Andersen was fairly inconsistent in the regular season, at times showing flashes of the level he’d played the season before, but also being much more prone to giving up costly “soft/”he really should have had that one” goals and poor games.

After he missed the end of the 2021-22 regular season and all of the 2022 Stanley Cup playoffs with a lower-body injury, Andersen missed nearly two months in November and January with another lower-body ailment this year, ceding the net to Pytor Kochetkov and Antti Raanta for long stretches.

As his inconsistencies continued in the 2023 portion of the calendar year, there wasn’t much reason to be optimistic about “The Great Dane” going into the playoffs. A funny thing happened in those playoffs, however: Andersen was phenomenal.

No. 31 played a pivotal role in the Hurricanes making a run to the Eastern Conference Final despite missing some key players up front, with really only one bad start after he took the torch from Antti Raanta in game 6 against the New York Islanders.

In his long-awaited first playoff start as a Hurricane, Andersen rose to the task and then some, turning aside 33 of 34 Islanders shots and coming up with timely save after timely save in a lackluster first two periods for the Hurricanes, keeping Carolina in the game and giving it the ability to mount a comeback and take the series with an overtime win, rather than seeing a 3-1 series lead turn into a game 7.

In the second-round series against the New Jersey Devils, Andersen was rock solid in the Hurricanes’ four wins. He was decidedly less so in the game 3 blowout loss, a game in which he was pulled, but, frankly, the list of Hurricanes who played well that afternoon would be a short one.

Andersen had a knack for the “timely save” in that series, weathering an early Devils storm in game 2 to allow the Hurricanes to settle in and run the opponent out of PNC Arena, and effectively doing the same in the game 4 blowout that let Carolina take a 3-1 series lead.

In the quadruple overtime loss to the Florida Panthers in the game 1 of the Eastern Conference Final, Andersen turned in perhaps the best goalie performance in team history, stopping 57 of the 60 shots he faced, and making sharp save after sharp save as the Panthers began to tilt the ice in the later overtimes. In the game 3 and 4 losses, he was far from the problem.

Add it all up, and Andersen had a stellar playoff run for the Hurricanes, one in which the advanced stats bear out the “eye test” as he was fourth in goals-saved above expected.

So, where does all of this leave Andersen and the Hurricanes as the two-year, $4.5-million AAV deal he signed to return to the team that originally drafted him is set to expire?

Where it should leave them is seeking to extend that reunion, with Pierre LeBrun of The Athletic reporting the Hurricanes are looking to re-sign Andersen. That, at the moment, seems like the wisest course.

Goaltending is notoriously volatile, and the Hurricanes have someone they know is capable of playing well in their system, and showed in the playoffs that he’s still “got it” in terms of his stellar play from the 2021-22 season.

Pytor Kochetkov is unlikely to be ready to handle a full starter’s workload yet, and Andersen is also better in high volume than the Hurricanes’ other pending UFA, Antti Raanta.

Of those three options, or bringing in an unknown (the Hurricanes have yet to show any willingness to commit major assets or money to the goalie position), the best course seems to be bringing Andersen back.

Given his age and injury history, a one or two-year deal, at around his current $4.5-million AAV, probably makes the most sense.

What say you, Canes fans? Would you bring back Andersen? How do you rate his 2022-23 season? Let us know: