After being acquired by the Toronto Maple Leafs earlier this off-season, Frederik Andersen was about to get his first taste of playing on Air Canada Centre ice as a Maple Leaf when he took the net for Team Europe. Unfortunately, due to an injury during the pre-Olympic qualifying tournament, Andersen’s first game in Toronto while a member of the hometown team will have to wait.
Andersen, 26, was injured Friday during an Olympic qualifier against Slovenia. Late in the game, Andersen came out of his crease to play a puck that was heading back towards the Danish goal. Andersen beat the attacking Slovenian forward and Danish winger Oliver Bjorkstrand, who was backchecking, to the puck, but the forechecking pressure caused Bjorkstrand to lose his footing and collide with Andersen. The result was Andersen falling forward with his right arm bent under his body.
The Maple Leafs reportedly flew Andersen back into town after he sustained the injury, and it was later announced that he would be out 3-4 weeks with an upper-body injury.
"This gives him extra rest to get ready for the Leafs. He's doing really good, he'll be ready to go for training camp,” Maple Leafs coach Mike Babcock said Monday, according to NHL.com. "It’s unfortunate he didn’t get to represent his team and build confidence in this tournament, but it’s also a good situation for us that we can work with everyday and he’ll be very fit and he’ll be ready to go when we’re ready to go.”
Even though it’s no doubt disappointing, missing the World Cup isn’t the worst news for Andersen, who has already played a handful of the pre-Olympic qualifying games and wasn’t the surefire starter for Team Europe. Being held out of the tournament will give his injury time to heal and allow him to work back into the lineup through a somewhat normal training camp.
However, the 3-4 week timeline for recovery means he’ll only have roughly one week to get back into full game shape before the start of the NHL season. He may only see one or two games of pre-season action if his recovery takes the entire four weeks.
The Maple Leafs will be hoping that’s enough time for Andersen to get back to form. This past season with the Anaheim Ducks, Andersen registered a 22-9-7 record, three shutouts, 2.30 goals-against average and .919 save percentage. He also went 3-2 in the post-season with one shutout, 1.41 GAA and .947 SP.
With Andersen out of the lineup, Team Europe will call on Washington Capitals netminder Philipp Grubauer as the replacement, according to CBC’s Tim Wharnsby. Grubauer saw 22 games of action with the Capitals this past season. He went 8-9-1 with a 2.32 GAA and .918 SP.
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