Frederik Andersen said there has been some of discussion about a contract extension with the Toronto Maple Leafs but vowed the situation will not distract him on the ice.
“I try not to think about it actually,” the goalie said Friday. “The main focus has just been to go day by day here with the team, raise our levels, the standards, and I think that’s everyone. That’s just really been the focus.
“I know by doing that I’m going to get the best opportunities in the future. And this year is the main focus.”
Andersen will play the final season of a five-year contract he signed with Toronto on June 20, 2016, and can become an unrestricted free agent after the season.
He was 29-13-7 in 52 games last season. His 2.85 goals-against average was the highest of his seven NHL seasons, and his .909 save percentage was the lowest. He was 2-3 with a 1.84 GAA and .936 save percentage against the Columbus Blue Jackets in the best-of-5 Stanley Cup Qualifiers.
Andersen is fifth in wins (136), third in save percentage (.916; minimum 100 games) and seventh in games (244) among Maple Leafs goalies, but is 10-14 in 25 games in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
General manager Kyle Dubas has not discussed Andersen’s contract situation this offseason. In October, he addressed reports that emerged after the Maple Leafs were eliminated by the Blue Jackets suggesting he was fielding trade calls on Andersen.
“I know where the [Andersen] speculation started and comes from, and rather than address it publicly or be hostile about it, I just addressed it directly with Fred,” Dubas said then. “So he and I have had many discussions over the last month or so about that. So he knows where we stand directly.”
Toronto coach Sheldon Keefe said he doesn’t think Andersen’s contract situation will effect his play.
“Distractions are really what you make of them,” Keefe said. “It’s a matter of distributing your focus, controlling what you can control. Whether it’s your contract year or not, that’s the message to our team: Block out the noise and focus on what we can control every single day. That’s all that really matters.
“We don’t expect any distractions. That’s on us to manage that.”
Andersen was chosen by the Anaheim Ducks in the third round (No. 87) of the 2012 NHL Draft and is 213-92-45 with a 2.63 GAA and .917 save percentage in 369 NHL games (358 starts). Toronto acquired him in a trade with Anaheim on June 20, 2016, for a first-round pick in the 2016 NHL Draft (Sam Steel) and a second-round pick in the 2017 NHL Draft (Max Comtois).