The Ottawa Senators are moving on from goaltender Craig Anderson after the veteran netminder spent 10 seasons with the team. This decision was announced by Senators’ general manager Pierre Dorion on Wednesday.
Anderson has been one of the NHL’s best goaltenders throughout his career and he has consistently been a gold-standard in Ottawa, even when the team iced some very poor teams in front of him in recent years.
His peripherals may not reflect the full story, but Anderson’s ability to play at such a high level despite his age and his wife Nicholle’s successful battle with cancer has made him nothing short of a fan-favorite around the entire NHL.
Given the Senators timeline for competing, though, it’s not entirely unsurprising to see them move in a different direction from Anderson despite how grateful they are for his time spent with the team.
“He’s the best goalie we’ve ever had,” said Dorion. “It’s time for us to take another direction and we thank him for everything he did.”
In his 10 seasons with the Senators, he’d go 202-168-46 with a .914 save percentage and 2.84 goals-against average. A consistent netminder throughout his career, Anderson’s peripherals with the Senators are almost exactly indicative of his career .913 save percentage and 2.84 goals-against average marks.
Senators to Look at Goaltending Internally Before Externally
The Senators will look internally before looking to address their goalie situation through free agency. As Dorion would mention, he feels that the team has depth and quality at the goalie position and they’ll be exploring those options first and foremost.
The Senators have Anders Nilsson and Marcus Hogberg on their NHL roster with Joey Daccord, Filip Gustavsson and Kevin Mandolese in their system as well.
Nilsson has shown flashes in the past of being capable of a bigger role, but it’s unclear if he’s the best option to take over as the team’s starting netminder. His best season came during the 2016-17 season when he’d play 26 games with the Buffalo Sabres, compiling a 10-10-4 record with career-high marks of a .923 save percentage and 2.67 goals-against average.
His next-best season would come during the 2018-19 season in Ottawa when he’d go 11-11-0 with a .914 save percentage and 2.90 goals-against average.
The 25-year-old Hogberg is another option for the Senators, though he’s a far more unproven commodity for them. In 24 games this past season, Hogberg would go 5-8-8 with a .904 save percentage and 3.12 goals-against average.
For both Hogberg and Nilsson, though, it’s hard to blame them for any lack of success as the Senators were expected to be one of the NHL’s worst teams this season.
The team has one of the league’s best prospect pools, though, and their system is about to get even better following the 2020 NHL Entry Draft. For that reason, the team isn’t necessarily in a situation where they need to immediately find their goalie of the future this season so exploring what they have with Nilsson and Horberg could be a worthwhile venture.