Craig Anderson

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When Craig Anderson made the decision to sign with Colorado in the off-season, the primary reason was a simple desire to get enough games in to show that he could be the starting goaltender, after two seasons stuck behind Tomas Vokoun in Florida:

 

"The goaltending situation there is a positive one.  They give me a fighting chance to come in and play 50 or 60 games and that was the opportunity I was looking for."

 

Colorado perhaps wasn’t the team every free agent wanted to join; after all, in the off-season they were expected by most prognosticators to be one of the bottom feeders in the Western Conference.  That hasn’t happened, and Anderson is a big part of the reason why.

 

Anderson’s save percentage (0.917) has dipped a bit from his post-lockout average, perhaps a result of playing more games and facing better teams (since backups are generally run out against inferior opponents), but it’s still comfortably in the top half of NHL starters. 

 

Anderson’s been passed over as a Vezina finalist, and passed over as a Team USA goaltender this season, but he’s achieved something of greater value: he’s established himself as a starting goaltender in the NHL.  It’s relatively rare for a late-bloomer approaching 30 to get that kind of opportunity, and it’s even rarer for him to take advantage of it.  Anderson’s done both.