The question for the Carolina Hurricanes has always been the goalkeeper. The offseason was a huge risk from the front office and brought two new goalkeepers. But man, Frederik Andersen proves how right the step was.
Petr Mrazek and Alex Nedeljkovic were a solid tandem. Not elitist, but solid. Ned’s off-season deal caused an uproar among the Caniacs after the young goalkeeper performed brilliantly in last year’s playoffs. Mrazek was a fan favorite and the chants of “PETR! PETR! PETR! ”Echoed frequently in the PNC Arena. However, the Hurricanes front office still felt they needed a top notch starter on the net.
Enter: Frederik Andersen.
After an injury-ridden season and constant ridicule from the Toronto media, Andersen’s departure was on the wall. Carolina threw herself on the first day of the free agency and signed the Danish goalkeeper on a two-year deal worth $ 9 million. A cut in salary, but the chance to keep up in a team with a winning culture and to own the network. Questions and critics still had their doubts.
Is Andersen moving the needle for Carolina? Will he ever find the shape he was at the beginning of his career?
How has it gone so far? In all honesty, it couldn’t have started better.
‘Freddie’ started the first six games of the season and won all of them. His performances got better and better with every game, crowned by a 33-saave shutout against the Boston Bruins. Andersen quickly touches the hearts of Canes fans. Instead of a “PETR!” Or a “NED!”, Now it’s “FREDDIE!” Loud and proud.
Freddie’s run of six games marks NHL history, making him the second goalkeeper to ever win his first six games with a new team, joining only Frank McCool of the Toronto Maple Leafs in 1944-45.
The performance before Andersen was also nothing short of something special. A team that plays with the same mentality as its head coach and is based on hard work, pressure and speed. Sebastian Aho and Andrei Svechnikov were elite at the beginning of the season and the new faces in the defense have fitted in seamlessly. But it never hurts to have a goalkeeper behind you who has a * double check * .956 savings percentage.
Adjustment is something that Freddie needed. The carefree, serene nature of Raleigh isn’t the most flashy place for a free agent. However, it’s the perfect landing spot for a goalkeeper who needed a change of scenery and has a chance to prove people wrong. Much like Dougie Hamilton, Andersen has left the Canadian limelight and so far has excelled in Carolina.
Don Waddell and Tom Dundon took a huge risk and rebuilt the roster with so many new players. It feels like the Carolina Hurricanes play chess and the rest of the league play checkers. Every step seems to be paying off.
And the jackpot seems to have been hit with Freddie Andersen.