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Everybody take a deep breath: Examining the Frederik Andersen trade

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Bob Murray has finally pulled the trigger on trading one of his young goaltenders, but did he make the right move?

Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

From the moment the final horn sounded at Honda Center after a 2-1 loss to Nashville, a clock started counting down.

We all knew that with all the players the Ducks would have to sign at the end of this season, either Frederik Andersen or John Gibson was going to have to go. Two talented goalies sharing the crease was only going to work for so long. With Andersen's contract being up after the 2015-2016 season this summer was going to be decision time for Bob Murray.

The clock on the Anaheim goalie situation finally struck midnight today as the Ducks GM made a move sending Frederik Andersen to Toronto for a 1st round selection this season (No. 30 overall) and a second round pick in 2017.

While some have heralded the trade as a good move for Bob Murray, who gets a return for a player that isn't even under contract, others feel the Ducks GM sent away a #1 goalie for a mere two picks.

Twitter was an immediate battleground for people on either side of the debate. Others just voiced their sadness over another fan favorite (see Patrick Maroon) being shipped off to a Canadian market. But was this in fact a good move for Anaheim? There are a few different factors that played into today's trade.

First of all, let's look at Anaheim goalie play.Frederik Andersen began playing for Anaheim during the 2013-2014 season. Over 3 years, Andersen amassed a record of 77-26-12 in 125 career regular season games along with a .918 save percentage, 2.33 goals against average and 6 shutouts. In the playoffs, Andersen was 17-9 in 28 games, recording a .916 SV% and a 2.34 GAA. Most notably, Freddie was 3-2 with a .941 SV% and a 1.41 GAA in this year's playoffs. Compare those stats to John Gibson (37-21-4 in 66 GP, .920 SV%, 2.22 GAA regular season; 2-4 in 6 GP, .912 SV%, 2.84 GAA playoffs) and an argument can be made that the better goalie was traded away.

However, this past season has shown that Gibson may be very close to hitting his stride as a #1 NHL goalie. Andersen going down with the flu as well as a back injury in the middle of the season opened the door for Gibson who had began the season with the San Diego Gulls. Gibson came out firing, looking to show Ducks management that he is in fact their goalie of the future. John finished the regular season with a record of 21-13-4 and a whopping 4 shutouts in just 38 games. While he has struggled in his playoff appearances to date, you can't draw very many conclusions from such a small sample size.  Bob Murray was quoted as saying "I'm not worried about what we have left" in reference to Gibson after today's trade and I couldn't agree more.

Another thing that will soon start to weigh on the minds of many GM's in the NHL is the expansion draft. With it being announced last week that Las Vegas will in fact be home to the NHL's newest franchise, an expansion draft is imminent.

General consensus is that each NHL franchise will be required to expose a goaltender. That would mean that if Anaheim signed Andersen, they would be forced to expose either he or Gibson to the expansion draft in just a year's time and any team would be crazy not to pick one of them. While some may smirk at the two picks that Anaheim got in exchange for Andersen as "chump change," it's much better compared to he or Gibson walking for nothing in a year's time. It's also key to remember that returns for players that aren't under contract are historically low (see Keith Yandle).

Finally, this decision comes down to money. It was reported just minutes after the trade was official that Andersen was set to sign a 5-year, $25 million contract with the Leafs. With key RFA's Rickard Rakell and Hampus Lindholm as well as UFA's David Perron, Jamie McGinn, and more still yet to resign, Bob Murray doesn't have the room to fit in a $5 million AAV contract for Andersen. Anaheim has traditionally been a budget team. Over the last four years, Murray has been allotted around $65 million of cap space to spend on his NHL roster. His biggest payroll over those years was the 2012-2013 season in which he had $67 million spent on NHL roster players. If we are to give the Duck's GM the most room that he has been recently allotted, that means he only has around $10 million in cap space left to spend considering he already has $57 million already committed to just 15 players. Giving Andersen the contract that he was given by Toronto would almost certainly mean he would have to give up either Lindholm or Rakell and most likely both Perron and McGinn. While no one wanted to see Freddie leave, a contract with him would have made it impossible to sign other core players.

In the end, this was a move no one wanted to make but needed to get done. Gibson has shown he is Anaheim's goalie of the future, losing one of these goalies to the expansion draft would have been a disaster, and signing Freddie would have hamstrung Bob Murray's efforts at signing other FA's.

While we all agree it hurts to see Andersen leave, Bob Murray made a smart move today getting a solid return for a player not under contract, moving him out of the Western Conference, and also putting himself in a better position for his budget. We at Anaheim Calling wish Freddie the best of luck with Toronto and thank him for his time with our Ducks.

{Insert sappy goodbye video here}