Craig Anderson signing a professional tryout contract with the Washington Capitals on Sunday makes sense beyond the obvious need for a potential replacement for Henrik Lundqvist.
Lundqvist announced on Monday he would soon be undergoing open heart surgery, 11 days after revealing he would be taking this season off because of a heart condition. That left the Capitals, a veteran team only two seasons removed from a Stanley Cup celebration, without a lot of experience in goal. And while there is internal belief the trio of Ilya Samsonov (26 NHL games, all last season), Vitek Vanacek (0 NHL games) and Pheonix Copley (29 NHL games, none last season) are capable of rising to this challenge, it also made sense to add experience.
Anderson has that at age 39, with 648 NHL games over 18 pro seasons. He also has a career .929 save percentage in 46 NHL playoff games, and while his regular season numbers have dipped from a .926 save percentage in 2016-17 to around .900 over the past three seasons, it’s fair to wonder how much of that was from playing behind the Ottawa Senators.
For all the experience narratives and possible statistical breakdowns, InGoal Premium Members should already know the similarities to Lundqvist also include a key style element, one that in theory should also help Anderson overcome Father Time in Washington.
Ask their puck-stopping peers in the NHL what goalie makes the most saves standing up, and Anderson and Lundqvist inevitably come up as the top two answers.
For Lundqvist, it’s a product of incredible patience holding his edges.
For Anderson, it’s an unrivalled ability to read plays and shots.
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