It’s a great day to be Craig Anderson, as the Ottawa Senators announced that they have signed the 29-year old goaltender to a new 4-year $12.75 deal. Anderson has been solid since being traded to Ottawa just days before the trade deadline, but it’s still a rather puzzling move by Senators GM Bryan Murray.

The Senators were in desperate need of reliable goaltending, that much we know. Robin Lehner was believed to be the goalie of the future until the announcement of the Anderson deal this morning. With Anderson earning an annual cap hit of $3.18 million for the next four seasons, Lehner is likely to be brought along much slower than previously expected. Anderson posted Vezina caliber numbers throughout most of the 2009-10 season, but struggled to find that form by posting a lousy .897 Sv% and an inflated 3.28 GAA in 33 games with the Avalanche this season. His .938 Sv% and 2.11 GAA since arriving in Ottawa are probably not the most reliable indicators of Anderson’s true potential, but they’re more akin to his career marks of .912 and 2.81.

Anderson’s new deal will plant him between Pekka Rinne ($3.4 million) and Carey Price ($2.75 million) in terms of annual cap hit value. Anderson is older than both of those goaltenders, and hardly possesses the pedigree of either. After the failed perpetually injured Pascal Leclaire as franchise goaltender experiment, the pressure was on Murray to bring a reliable and experienced netminder into the fold in Ottawa. Anderson has shown some semblance of a legitimate number one goalie, but we’ll stop short of calling him an elite talent.

Much like the Antti Niemi signing in San Jose, the term length on the Anderson deal doesn’t make as much sense as the dollars. Lehner is likely still the franchises’ best bet for a long-term solution in goal, and having Anderson around for a couple of seasons as some insurance for a rebuilding club is ideal. Still, it’s hard to fathom a hot prospect like Lehner riding the pine in three years time when the Senators could be in a position to contend again. Barring a future trade, Craig Anderson should make for an expensive backup down the road.

With salary cap date from CapGeek.com

Comments (13)

  1. We’ll see what he’s really made of if we ever get to see Leafs/Sens in the playoffs prior to him being boo’d out of town after 1 rough seaosn.

  2. I feel sorry for the sucker GM that has to come in and clean up Murray’s mess…

  3. Agreed^. Whoever the new GM will be, will have a tough time with contracts like Gonchar, Phillips and now Anderson.

    2 Years would have been a great signing, especially with Lehner coming up. Bryan Murray has lost it.

  4. I agree, 2 years would have been great. Anderson probably would have taken his chances and walked had the offer been for less years. He’s a decent goalie, but locking him up long-term like that makes little sense.

  5. Thing is murray says he wants to be a contender in two years which is reasonable. With lehner being a solid prospect they dont know exactly how successful he’s going to be, at the same time ottawa has done a horrible job developing goalies, its safe to have a solid starter in anderson and if they do need to cut his salary for lehner im sure they could get something nice for a decent price goalie in anderson. Either way ottawa had to get a goalie, lehner isnt ready and no one else in the system is either. Anderson would have been the best option in the offseason. Vokoun is too expensive for them. Watever ottawa is doing, looking nice!

  6. Harry, i agree with u. They are doing well for the future and in the deadline they did kept the valuable pieces and gain solid draft picks. Also shed some ugly salaries. Ottawa can now compete with their faster and younger guys. They already have promising players in Butler, Condra and Greening. Brian Lee who is only 23 is starting to show some poise, nice stay at home defencemans from Eric Gryba and Jared Cowan and David Rundblad who i think will be better then Erik Karlsson because hes bigger and more experienced already. Rundblad wil be on the opening day roster next year and hes the best defenceman in the swedish league. Lehner will have his chance in the future, hes only 19 and goalies dont reach their prime till they are around 23 unless hes Tom Barrasso. If ottawa finishes juss ahead of the Oilers then they will more then likely get the top six forward they’ve been searching for in Gabriel Landeskog who is compared to the modern Marian Hossa. 2-3 years they will be like philly, blackhawks and penguins. You still have your core players and veterans in Alfredsson, Spezza, Gonchar, and Phillips.

  7. im a leafs fan first off. I actually dont mind the anderson signing ottawa has lacked a goaltender forever and yes its risky but what have they got to lose i mean theyve had tons of practice getting rid of goaltenders in past years so if andersons a flop theyll just martin gerber him. Thing is the long term deal really doesnt hurt the sens as the cap hits actually quite good. I do agree that some of murrays other contracts are horrendous in particular the gonchar contract.

  8. i do agree ottawas got some nice prospects but i think sens fans are dillusional if they think its only gunna take two years to compete. Yes you have some pretty good defensive prospects but they have a LONG way to go if i was a sens fan i think best scenario id want them to take again next year and get the first overall pick as next years draft is suppose to be fantastic.

  9. Clearly im a sens fan, i dnt hate leafs nothing against them but an example of a team that didnt develop well is toronto. For sure they are nice now with Kadri, Aulie, and like Coulbourne but for sure couldve done better. Props to brian burke for fixing the mess of the past two GM’s im sure we can all agree gonchar’s deal isnt as bad as jeff finger. But T.O. is solid now. With ottawa their weakness was speed cuz they were sooo old, goltending and scoring. Younger team, promising future players seems good in about three years time. Just Opinions :) BTW didn;t know that Tom Gilbert makes 5.5 million a year :|

  10. Also i agree wen u say its risky ESPECIALLY with the gerber signing along with Pascal. Gonchar’s first year was horrible but showed potential until he got sidelined with a concussion. Worst contract is Filip Kuba, hes useless.

  11. well, Lehner is the future, but the kid is 19 years old… he needs AT LEAST 2 years, I would say 3 would be safe. Then, let’s get him in here. By then, maybe we will have traded Anderson. I think this was a good signing though, but I would have preferred 3 years. But it’s not like that is going to make a whole lot of difference. At least he didn’t get a NMC (he didn’t, right?).

    Sens could turn it around if they play the free agent market right. I would guess next year is a bust, the year after is a low-seeded playoff berth, then it’s business time. Just don’t handle things like the Leafs or Islanders… in today’s league, it shouldn’t take 5 (or 8….) years to rebuild if you do it properly.

    Also, I bet Murray is in for at LEAST next year. Clouston…. I dunno about…

  12. 1. The recruits will need dependable (but not Vezina) goaltending to develop properly – this deal does that at an acceptable cap hit. Anderson actually can handle the puck and communicates effectively, which will positively affect team play and build confidence in a young defence core. the deal had to be a mixed blessing – No NT clause and middling $’s works for Sens, in return for 4 yrs, which made it work for Anderson. It allows Lehrner to develop properly in the AHL, where he belongs and NEEDS grooming. If Sens had had goaltending in the first 25 games like they’ll have in the last 25, they’d be in or competing for the playoffs, not blown up.
    2. Wouldn’t mind them renewing Curtis for a year at under $0.75 mil, if they can do it or, will Brust ever get a shot?
    3. Agree term of Gonchar deal is a problem, but it was NOT done as part of a rebuild, but a tweak of 5th place team to fix a lack of PP QB and help Karlsson learn by example. It took 3 yr term to get him – Sens took their chances. Too bad Rangers took McCabe instead of Kuba, but I predict a much better year for him and Gonchar next year and, if so, maybe a move for both before the deadline – we’ll see how they and the kids do…
    4. It’s an interesting time for Sens, after almost 15 years of competing well. During that time they also developed some of the best young GM talent in the business (Chiarelli and Shero, among others) but couldn’t make room for them and had to watch them walk. I see Brian back next year as either GM or advisor, Tim being groomed to take the reigns, and Clouston is at least 50-50 to stay long enough to develop the kids for a year or two. Then they top off with free agents and a top-level, experienced coach, if the right guy is available. It will be interesting to watch and second guess, with some of that 20-20 hindsight we all possess in such vast quantity…

  13. [...] on Mar 22, 2011 I wish that I could say I was thunderstruck by the Ottawa Senators’ decision to sign goaltender Craig Anderson to a four-year deal worth $12.75 million (for an annual cap hit just under $3.2 million).  Sadly, that deal isn’t an aberration, [...]

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