The Danish netminder’s final year in Toronto, however, didn’t go as planned and it ended with him losing his starter’s role to Jack Campbell.
“I look back at the time in Toronto with great memories,” Andersen told Good Show on Thursday. “Not getting to play in the playoffs this year was obviously not fun, but I also understand where the coaching staff was coming from.”
The 31-year-old posted a strong 12-3-2 record through his first 17 games but finished the year on a 1-5-1 slide in what ended up being his worst season, statistically, in his eight-year NHL career.
Andersen only saw action in 24 games during his banged-up 2020-21 campaign and made only one start after mid-March. He said, with the benefit of hindsight, he realized playing through his lower-body ailment was perhaps not the best choice he could’ve made.
“With the way I dealt with things and playing through pain like that, and injuries, it wasn’t the best idea long term, I guess, looking back,” Andersen explained. “But that’s some of those things you learn from and I think in that situation I don’t think I was making the right move in trying to get playing.”
Andersen didn’t place any blame on the Maple Leafs organization for how his final year with the team unfolded.
“They knew about (the injury),” Andersen added. “We were trying to fix it throughout the season, it just didn’t really happen the way we were envisioning it, so it was a little bit of a frustrating process as well, but that’s really no fault of them.
“It’s just something I was trying to battle through and rehab at the same time which is not always easy.”
Andersen finished his tenure with the Maple Leafs ranked fourth in all-time franchise wins thanks to his 149-74-36 record.
He will form a tandem with Antti Raanta in the Hurricanes’ crease in 2021-22.