Craig Anderson was entering the final year of his contract with the Ottawa Senators; a 33-year-old incumbent that many assumed would yield the throne to Robin Lehner, the 23-year-old that’s been percolating in the Sens’ system since 2010.
Yet on Monday, Ottawa announced a three-year extension with Anderson with an average annual value of $4.2 million (breaking down to salaries of $4.75 million, $4.75 million and then $3.1 million).
It’s a great move for Anderson, considering how crowded the goalie carousel is in the NHL and the fact that the 2015 free-agent class could include Marc-Andre Fleury and Antti Niemi. So he gets some term and gets a decent bump from his previous deal.
More importantly, he remains in a situation where management obviously believes he gives them a better chance to win than Lehner does at this juncture.
Which sucks for Lehner, who was signed to a three-year deal back in July. But he’s not ready. The Senators saw enough of that during Anderson’s injury stretch last season, where Lehner could look brilliant technically but unhinged emotionally.
Still, three years is a bit of a wait.
Best case scenario is that they share the crease – Anderson got 53 games to Lehner’s 36 last season. But even if Lehner earns the majority of the starts, he’s going to have a previous starter looming on the bench; and one that, frankly, can become unbeatable for stretches of a season.
The combination of the two gives the Senators an outstanding battery for the next three seasons. Provided they can live harmoniously. It’s not like Lehner is known to be a little nutty or anything, right?