Frederik Andersen will finally be able to take a breather.
The Toronto Maple Leafs have been riding Andersen a lot this year – due partly to his solid play, but more importantly, due to the poor play of their other main option between the pipes.
Related: Maple Leafs claim McElhinney on waivers
It's for that reason – and the fear of fatigue – that the Maple Leafs made a move Tuesday, claiming Curtis McElhinney on waivers from the Columbus Blue Jackets.
"We're trying to put a veteran in there that can take away some of those games that maybe (can) give (Andersen) a rest," general manager Lou Lamoriello said, according to Jonas Siegel of The Canadian Press.
The Maple Leafs' backups have largely dropped the ball this season, starting with Jhonas Enroth, whom the Maple Leafs inked to a one-year, $750,000 deal ahead of the regular season.
Enroth struggled mightily, going 0-3-1 in six games with a 3.94 goals-against average and a .872 save percentage.
The only other netminder to suit up for the Maple Leafs has been Antoine Bibeau, who's fared much better, going 1-1-0 with a 1.98 goals-against average and a .927 save percentage in just two games.
McElhinney gives the team a steadier and more veteran presence.
"He's been able to sort of sustain what's necessary from a backup," Lamoriello said. "The character and quality of him is exemplary and he's had some outstanding games this year. He's got great size so we felt that this was the right decision at this time."
That said, Lamoriello made it very clear that the crease still belongs to Andersen and this move is solely for relief purposes.
"He's our No. 1 goaltender," Lamoriello said of Andersen, "but we also have to make sure – because he has never played say No. 1 goaltender games because he split (in Anaheim), but he has the ability and capability of doing it – we have to make sure that we give him the proper rest ratio that's necessary to stay at the top his game."
Through the Maple Leafs' first 39 games this season, Andersen's made 33 starts, a number only bested by four other netminders.
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