In his two full seasons in the NHL, Frederik Andersen has backstopped the Anaheim Ducks to a second round, and Western Conference Final playoff exit.
Yet, with his impending restricted free agent status, and the uncertainty of being with an agent that is going through a nasty split with a former partner, Anaheim has been unable to or unwilling to link the large, lanky Dane to a contract extension.
Insider Elliotte Friedman appeared on NHL Network's "NHL Live" earlier this afternoon to share his insight on the goalie's value on the market:
Friedman on NHL Network RE Andersen as a trade chip: "The only problem right now is you don't look at a lot of situations and see spots' 1/?— Anaheim Calling (@AnaheimCalling) January 11, 2016
'..where there're goaltenders really needed. Unless you're Montreal and you're gonna do him on a short term basis...' 2/?— Anaheim Calling (@AnaheimCalling) January 11, 2016
'There's a lot of situations right now where you see many teams that are set in their position." 3/?— Anaheim Calling (@AnaheimCalling) January 11, 2016
Friedman: "Look, Anaheim's got 4 goaltenders now when they traded for Dustin Tokarski last week. It's easy to look at that situation...' 4/?— Anaheim Calling (@AnaheimCalling) January 11, 2016
'See the way John Gibson is playing and say 'Yeah, the Ducks are eventually gonna make this move.' I think it's also possible...' 5/?— Anaheim Calling (@AnaheimCalling) January 11, 2016
'I've been talking a lot in the weekend about Jonathan Drouin, the Leafs being with the STL Blues, I think Anaheim's in this one too...' 6/?— Anaheim Calling (@AnaheimCalling) January 11, 2016
'They're a team that's...desperate for any kind of offense, they're having trouble scoring, I don't know if that's a particular match' 7/?— Anaheim Calling (@AnaheimCalling) January 11, 2016
'[Tampa]'s got goalies, but I do think there's a lot certainly hovering around the Anaheim Ducks right now." 8/? Friedman on NHL Live— Anaheim Calling (@AnaheimCalling) January 11, 2016
Intuitively it doesn't make sense for Tampa to acquire Andersen, considering Ben Bishop is under contract for this season and next, while Andrei Vasilevskiy will be a restricted free agent after next year as well.
Still, there is the matter of Anaheim's war chest of defensive prospects.
Considering Tampa Bay has $2.294 mil. of cap space available right now, and faces eight restricted free agent contracts as well as three (including captain Steven Stamkos) unrestricted deals at the NHL level this offseason, there seems to be a built in incentive for Tampa to make a move.
With $20.371 mil. coming off the books this coming offseason and a resulting $22.665 mil. of cap space to re-sign the 11 impending free agents according to nhlnumbers.com, the Lightning clearly don't need to make a move for a goaltender. However, with Braydon Coburn and Mattias Ohlund coming up as UFAs and Nikita Nesterov facing RFA status, the team may be open to listen to a trade proposal that includes a defenseman.
Surely with Sami Vatanen and Hampus Lindholm both at RFA status this offseason the Ducks should be open to making a move with one or both of them with how desperate the need for goal scoring has been. Also considering how well Shea Theodore has shown in his brief NHL exposure, as well as Brandon Montour's AHL All Star season, and Swedish World Junior U-20 selection Jacob Larsson in the system, Anaheim has a wealth of cost-controlled defensive prospects at their disposal that could entice Tampa Bay.
The Ducks face the tough decision of whether to hold on to defensive prospects that could help make the Anaheim back line the talk of the league in future seasons, or trade potential for potential in means to garner more goal scoring.
Drouin is not a sure thing, but he'd represent the highest potential quality young scoring forward that Anaheim has had as a developing prospect in a long time. The Ducks have all the makings of being a serious contender for the young forward on the trade market, but will have to come up with a highly enticing package if they expect to budge him from the sunshine state.