So the Ottawa Senators have decided to sign goaltender Craig Anderson to a contract.
The deal sees Anderson stay with the Sens for four years at $3.18 million a season ($12.75 million total).
While it’s baffling that the Sens ownership allow GM Bryan Murray to continue to make decisions on the future of this team when he doesn’t have any part of it himself, this seems to be a silly move, and a normal mistake from Sens general managers.
To be blunt, Anderson is simply not a #1 goalie. And nor should he be.
Yes, Anderson has been simply wonderful in some games. He’s really stepped up against Florida (twice), Toronto, Atlanta and the Devils. Or better known as non-playoff teams.
But Anderson has looked dreadful in other games. Four goals allowed against the Rangers. Four goals against the Sabres in only 22 minutes. Five goals against the Pens. Those three games have come in his last five started.
And that’s the thing with Anderson. He’s wildly inconsistent. There’s a reason he’s been the #1 goalie once in his NHL career. Yes, that one season was fabulous, until you realize he was also inconsistent in Colorado. At one point, he allowed four goals or more in five of six starts. At another point, he allowed three goals or more in seven of nine starts. And down the stretch, he allowed at least four goals in five of six starts.
Sure, he had good stretches, but like I said, wildly inconsistent.
He’s also on the wrong side of 30, and has already hit his prime. Most goalies in the past 20 years hit their prime from the ages of 25 to 29.
Martin Brodeur’s streak of four straight 40-win seasons? Happened between the ages of 25 to 29. Roberto Luongo’s 47-win season? He was 27. Ryan Miller’s best two seasons? Last year at 29, and a few years back at 26. Miika Kiprusoff’s streak of dominance came between the ages of 29 to 32. Ilya Bryzgalov’s best season happened at the age of 29.
And the list goes on. Tomas Vokoun’s two best seasons at the age of 26 and 29. Henrik Lundqvist has posted 30-win seasons every year, but he didn’t start playing in the NHL until he was 24 (he’s only 28 now).
Craig Anderson? Will be 30 years old at the start of next season. And he doesn’t have the pedigree of a lot of other goalies to think he will put up consistent numbers.
The other problem with the deal is the length. If the Sens believe Robin Lehner is the goalie of the future, then he’ll probably be ready to be the #1 starter in about two years, maybe even sooner. That will make Anderson a past-his-prime $3.2 million a season backup.
He’s going to be making more money than Carey Price, Pekka Rinne, Kari Lehtonen, Jaroslav Halak, Jonathan Quick and Antii Niemi. If Sens fans had the option, they would gladly trade Anderson straight up for any one of those goalies. (Side note: If a Sens fan argues otherwise, then they either don’t pay attention to the NHL outside of the nation’s capital, or they’re too much of a homer).
It’s a silly move, as there would have been cheaper alternatives available this summer for a less-lengthy contract.
But that’s not the way Bryan Murray works. He overpays for players who are past their prime in hopes that he might find the one gem that might buck the trend.
Now that he’s weighted down the next general manager with another silly contract, what does Murray do for an encore?