By Jen D’Amico
Third string goalies never see much ice time in the NHL, but Sunday night, rookie Frederik Andersen got his chance to swap his baseball cap for his fiberglass mask.
#31 made his NHL debut for the Anaheim Ducks, replacing starting goaltender Jonas Hiller to start the second period. Inheriting a 3-1 deficit, he logged two shutout periods, earning his first NHL win, a 6-3 victory over the Dallas Stars. He was recalled on Friday from the Norfolk Admirals of the AHL to back up Hiller, as Viktor Fasth has been out since suffering an injury during practice on October 17th. Andersen came to the Ducks having already once been drafted, by Carolina in 2010 (seventh round, 187th overall). Unable to come to terms with the Hurricanes, he re-entered the draft in 2012 and was selected with the 87th overall pick in the third round by the Ducks. He signed a two-year entry-level contract and was re-assigned to the Admirals where he made his North American debut.
“It’s not too often you get drafted twice,” Andersen said. “I’m glad about the Ducks. It’s an exciting situation for me.”
24 year old Frederik is a taller-than-average goalie at 6 ft. 4 in., nearly catching Tampa Bay Lightning Goalie Ben Bishop who holds the tallest NHL goalie record at 6 ft. 7 in. The Denmark native ranked sixth in the AHL in GAA and second in SV%, which was .929 in the 47 games played last season for the Admirals. Prior to being assigned to Norfolk, Andersen appeared in 39 games for Frolunda of the Swedish Elite League, where he posted seven shutouts during the 2011-2012 season. He has also represented Team Denmark at four IIHF World Championships from 2009-2012.
While on the surface it seemed that Coach Bruce Boudreau pulled Hiller due to 3 un-answered goals on 9 Dallas shots, Hiller had injured himself at Saturday’s practice and with 8 road games coming up, Boudreau maintains health was the deciding factor to pull him at the end of the first.
“He just tweaked something lower body yesterday at the end of practice,” Boudreau said. “It’s precautionary. We’ve got so many games coming up, the last thing we need is somebody to get hurt badly.”
Andersen mustered up 24 saves for his NHL debut. It is hard to say if and when he will get more prime-time play as Fasth is expected to return from being injured within the next few games. I can say from seeing it in person, it made an exciting game even more enjoyable to see Andersen get his chance with the big boys.