The Ottawa Senators have made a bit of a statement for their future, as they have signed goaltender Craig Anderson to a new 4-year deal, reportedly worth $12.75 million, a $3.2 million cap hit for each year.
Anderson was acquired from the Colorado Avalanche at the trade deadline and was scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent in July.
It hasn't exactly been a banner follow-up year for the 29-year old backstop, who wowed the hockey world in 2010, finishing 10th in pool scoring with 93 points, leading the Avalanche to a surprise playoff berth. In 2011, both the team and the goalie fell back to Earth, ran into some inter-personal issues and Anderson was then dealt at the deadline to a floundering Senators team, where he has seen some better results on a bad team.
With the Avalanche, Anderson registered a record of 13-15-3 in 33 appearances, while in Ottawa, he has posted a 6-4-0 record in 11 appearances. In total in the 2011 season, Anderson has 19 wins, 1 shutout and 1 assist, which gives him 41 points this season in the hockey pool, ranking him 158th overall, 27th among all goalies.
It will definitely be interesting to see how he adapts to another rebuilding team, as he did do good things when the expectations were awfully low in Colorado in the 2010 season.
For a rebuilding team, the Senators have a solid number of players signed on for the 2012 season, which really begins the questioning process. On my list, I have 15 players signed on and three buyouts still on the books, giving the team an annual cap hit of $42.3 million, which is a flexible number, but the roster only needs eight players to max itself out. In their system, the Senators should be able to find some talent to fill those spots as well, giving them a pretty full team.
This longer term signing does come with all kinds of questions going forward. What kind of long-term impact will Robin Lehner have with the Senators, despite only being 19 years old? Anderson reportedly doesn't have any clauses in his contract that will force him to stick around, which could be the reason why he's getting an extra year or two on his deal, guaranteeing him some kind of money, even if he falls off the wagon.
The Senators have a decent core of players, which will be looked at in greater depth when the season ends, and this signing isn't too bad if Anderson can actually perform to some of his 2010 levels. I don't expect him to do great things in Ottawa, but he should be able to get the minutes in front of Curtis McElhinney, unless he decides to move on in the Summer.