Craig Anderson inks two-year extension with Senators
Craig Anderson has found a long-term home with the Ottawa Senators.
Standing as one of the most prolific goaltenders in the modern era, Anderson boasts 506 career regular season NHL games, and 293 of those have come with Ottawa alone. He’s their reliable, veteran number one – and now, it appears he’ll stay that way for another two years after this one.
It was announced on Friday morning that the Senators have inked Anderson to a two-year contract extension, worth an annual average cap hit of $4.75 million (he’ll earn $5.5 million the first year of the deal, then $4 million the second). Once the deal expires, he’ll become a free agent for the first time since 2009 – assuming he doesn’t instead decide to hang up his skates for good.
Drafted 73rd overall by the Chicago Blackhawks in 2001, Anderson got a slow start to his professional hockey career. His 2005-06 NHL season saw him claimed off waivers three times – first by Boston from Chicago, then St. Louis from Boston and finally Chicago from St. Louis – and he didn’t really hit his stride until his 2006-07 stint with the Florida Panthers.
From there, he would put up three excellent seasons in Florida before heading to the Colorado Avalanche, where he struggled for a year and a half before getting swapped for Brian Elliott in February of 2011. He’s been with Ottawa ever since.
The new deal is a bit of a surprise, given the sense that the Senators are looking to increase Mike Condon’s presence in the coming seasons – he himself signed a three-year extension this summer, avoiding free agency to stay on as a very pricey backup in Ottawa.
Anderson specifically said that this past season ‘relit his passion’ for the game, though, and it’s easy to see why. He split the net with Condon while also helping his wife as she battled cancer, heading home for stretches to be with her and his family during her treatments. The team made the playoffs based on his excellent stretches and Condon’s solid backup play, and he was able to help the team on a miracle run to the Eastern Conference Final in front of his wife – who, shortly after their season ended, confirmed that she had been declared cancer-free.
Being away from the game for those two months during Nicholle’s treatment, Anderson told Sportsnet, made him realize exactly how much he loved the game – and he’s ready to keep contributing for the next three years.
The loyalty he had to his team, the veteran presence he can provide Condon (who is expected to appear in around 30-40 of the team’s games this coming year anyway), and his fantastic performance last year seem to have earned him that extra veteran salary. And now, the team can focus purely on the season ahead of them, rather than attempting to negotiate a new deal for him before his current one expired in this coming July.
Anderson will enter this coming season off of a year that saw him appear in 40 games, going 25-11-4 with five shutouts and a .926 save percentage in all situations.
He joked that he’s becoming the next Tim Thomas (minus the log cabin in the woods), but clearly the Senators don’t think that’s much of a joke. He’s now signed until he’s 39 – and maybe, he’ll get a Stanley Cup for his troubles.