Player Profile: Craig Anderson

Craig Anderson, G, Contract: 3.1875/15 (UFA) T 2011 (Murray)
6’2, Catches L, YOB 1981, Park Ridge, IL
2008-09 NHL Florida 15-7-5 2.71 0.924 SO 3
2009-10 NHL Colorado 38-25-7 2.64 0.917 SO 7
2010-11 NHL Ott/Col 24-20-4 2.83 0.913 SO 2
2011-12 NHL Ottawa 33-22-6 2.84 0.914 SO 3

On February 18th, Bryan Murray exchanged struggling RFA goaltender Brian Elliott (3.19 0.894) for Colorado’s struggling UFA goaltender Craig Anderson (3.28 0.897).  Elliott would continue to struggle (3.83 0.891 12-2-8-1) with Colorado as the Avalanche stumbled to finish 29th overall, but Anderson found new life in Ottawa (2.05 0.939) and dragged them up to 26th overall.  Murray rewarded Anderson with a four-year deal and the uncontested starting job going into the next season.

Anderson has been around for a long time, playing NHL games going back to 02-03 with Chicago, he’s only been a regular NHLer since 07-08.  He spent two years as a backup in Florida before Colorado gave him a chance to compete with Peter Budaj.  He was fantastic with the Avalanche in 09-10, but the wheels fell off the following season.  As Anderson said after signing his extension with Ottawa:

It’s about having a good fit and finding a place where I’m going to be happy, where players are treated with respect and the organization communicates with their players, and from day one, I’ve had great talks with the coaching staff, the goalie coach, the general manager, they’ve all gone out of their way to make me feel like I’m a part of the team.…You can’t put a price tag on that.

Prior to last season I predicted he would earn 30-35 wins and he hit the center of that target with 33.  He had a slow start to the season (3.66 0.881 in October), but gradually rounded into form.  It’s worth keeping in mind he was 28th in GAA among starting goaltenders and 18th in save percentage, so his stats are not among the top starters in the league.  How much he was hindered by having an awful backup in Alex Auld is hard to say.  I don’t think Ben Bishop will play much more than Auld so Anderson should clock in 30 wins again.

Many of Anderson‘s big saves as a Senator can be found here.