With Craig Anderson’s return to the Ottawa Senators‘ lineup, there is now much-needed depth at the goaltending position in the march towards the playoffs. With Mike Condon filling as the Senators’ number one netminder, the team sits second in the Atlantic Division and only six points behind the Montreal Canadiens for the division lead with four games in hand. Anderson’s return from a personal leave makes the Senators that much stronger as points become harder to earn in the stretch drive before the playoffs.
Anderson’s Veteran Presence
At 35 years of age, Anderson possesses a veteran presence that will be needed as the Senators face a wide-open Atlantic Division. With 487 career games played to date, Anderson is not showing any signs of slowing down. This is evident this season, as Anderson has four shutouts in his 21 starts.
Despite taking time away from the team to spend with his wife Nicholle while she went through cancer treatments, Anderson is top 12 among NHL goaltenders in goals-against average, top four in save percentage and top eight in shutouts. Without a doubt, the Senators will need Anderson to continue his stellar play in the final 28 games of the regular season and in the playoffs.
Another piece of good news for the Senators is that Anderson will be well rested in the stretch drive and in the playoffs, having only played 21 games this season. Compare that to most starters in the NHL who have played at least double that amount so far.
The last time the Senators made it the postseason was in 2015. That season, Anderson only played 35 games. When it came time for the playoffs, he had some impressive numbers. In the four games played, he had a 0.97 GAA and .972 save percentage.
This season, with a strong defensive system under head coach Guy Boucher and with Anderson’s ability to shut the door when the pressure is high, there is plenty of reason to be optimistic if you are a Senators fan.
A Backup Goalie with Confidence
The Senators not only benefit from having their starting netminder back in Anderson, but Condon has proven he is more than capable of backing him up. This is good news for the Senators as the schedule is more condensed this season, especially in the final stretch. With this compressed schedule, Condon is expected to get some starts in net in the run up to the playoffs.
While serving as the Senators’ starter in Anderson’s absence, Condon had some impressive numbers. He has a sub 2.60 GAA and four shutouts. Although these aren’t Vezina-like numbers, Condon gives his team a chance to win on most nights, evident in the fact he has won over 50 percent of his starts during the 2016-17 campaign.
Condon is set to be a UFA at the end of this season and with Andrew Hammond being waived twice, all signs are pointing that he will be offered a contract to stay with the Senators.
Dorion confirms he’s spoken with agents for Mike Condon and Tom Pyatt on extensions. #Sens
— Bruce Garrioch (@SunGarrioch) February 13, 2017
With Anderson’s return and Condon having the confidence of the organization, the Senators have a strong goaltending tandem moving forward this season. With both goaltenders putting up four shutouts each and both having some great statistics, there is now stability in the Senators net, which will help them inch toward the postseason.