If the 2017-18 NHL season ended today, the Vezina Trophy nominees would be interesting. Sergei Bobrovsky and Andrei Vasilevskiy would probably be the frontrunners with the likes of Corey Crawford, Martin Jones, Pekka Rinne and even Connor Hellebuyck also being in the conversation.
If Don Cherry had his way, however, Toronto Maple Leafs netminder Frederik Andersen would be firmly in the mix. In fact, Cherry would go so far as to put Andersen in the Hart Trophy conversation.
“This guy is unbelievable,” Cherry said Saturday night during the Coach’s Corner segment on Hockey Night in Canada. “You people don’t understand. To me, he’s the most valuable player in the league. He stops more shots than anybody, he’s had more saves, he’s tied for the shutouts [lead], he sees more rubber than anybody.”
The Maple Leafs find themselves near the top of the Eastern Conference standings thanks in large part to Andersen’s play. The 28-year-old Dane had Saturday night off following a 43-save performance in a 5-4 victory over the Carolina Hurricanes Friday night.
Coming into Saturday’s action, Andersen had faced a league-high 721 shots and his 662 saves also ranked tops in the league. Andersen is 14th in save percentage and 19th in goals-against average among goalies with at least 10 starts.
“He holds them in there,” Cherry added. “He is the guy. He is what [Cam] Talbot was for Edmonton last year. The [Oilers] team wasn’t that good and the Leafs aren’t that good. It’s Anderson. He should be the MVP as far as I’m concerned. He is fantastic.”