I’m here to talk to you. About a human goaltender who signed a contract. His name is Greg Anderton. A few days ago when the Senators announced they had extended him, I have to admit I was pretty shocked (shocked!) by the amount of hand wringing and frustration that the announcement seemed to be met with.
In review, this [long] off season has seen a cornucopia of signings. (Ed note: Is a cornucopia even a real life thing? Comment if you’ve ever seen one. Pffft, more like Unicornucopia)
Great, smart signings: Clarke MacArthur, David Legwand, Clarke MacArthur, Clarke MacArthur
Weird signings: Milan Michalek for knee years, knee million dollars per knee.
A full on psychedelic rock ride signing: Mark Borowiecki being made part of the Sens exciting new generation because he…passed…his…2 year, 21 game audition? Heyyy, currently second longest contract for a Sens defender, behind only Erik Karlsson.
Interesting fact: Karlsson himself, coincidentally, was also signed after just 21 games in NHL. Wait…was that signed after 21 games or re-ASSIGNED to Binghamton after 9 games? I don’t remember. I wish there was a microfiche thing I could that up on.
Goalie signing(s): Robin Lehner was locked up until 2017 solidifying his rightful seat on the Thrown of the Skulls of Heretics as the goalie future and — oh and what’s this right here? Craig Anderson was also re-upped a few days later, for twice as much money until 2018…solidifying him…on the Corvette of Good Tidings?…huh…Confusing move but you know what? Good.
Now, before I am pelted with folding chairs, let me
grovel explain why I think his signing is a good one for the Ottawa Senators in my patented Thirty Several Thoughts column.
Goaltenders are just people. Regular Joan Lunchpails like you and me who, you know, get injured.
As much as any fan wants their team to have a undisputed, dominant starting goaltender, a couple of recent examples of how that all eggs in one basket strategy can actually be a pretty big risk come to mind:
Ottawa – Montreal 2013 Playoff Series: Carey Price is a good, consistent starting goaltender. In my opinion, he helps float Montreal into a strata of success that they wouldn’t otherwise enjoy without him. Case in point: He was pretty shaky against Ottawa in that series but was I the only one who thought “Oh wow, these guys are
fuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuucked” when Price went down and Budaj had to start all of a sudden? Sure, price only played particularly well in one game that series but it was only when Budaj got the call that it felt like the Sens were going to win.
Tampa Bay – Montreal 2014 Playoff Series: This one may hit close to home for Sens fans as we saw Ben Bishop get traded to Tampa for Cory Conacher (The OTHER Ryan Shannon) and watched him go on to almost single headedly turn Tampa Bay from toilet trolls to contenders in a heartbreakingly impressive, Vezina nominated performance. Contenders they were, of course, until Bishop was injured toward the end of the season. The question became ‘Can Anders Lindback hold the fort dow-‘ aaaaaand Swept in 4 games in the first round. See you in the car, Milhouse.
You knew I was going here: I needn’t remind Sens fans about Dominek Hasek getting hurt heading into the post season back in “Our Year” of 05-06. No pressure, up from the AHL rookie, Ray Emery. Lead us to the promised land.
Lehner might indeed be the starting goaltender of the future but today ain’t the future.
I’ll start this off by saying this: Lehner is my guy. I want him to be the best goaltender that Ottawa’s ever developed in-house. But the pragmatist in me (read: snivelling coward) can’t ignore that he has only 61 regular season games and two playoff starts under his belt at this point. To illustrate how little experience that is, Anderson played 63 games in his first full season in Ottawa. Just because Lehner got his first Big Kid contract doesn’t mean he’s officially a starter. These things take time.
Yes, you have to start getting those starts at some point and I do hope that Paul MacLean gives Lehner fair shake this season but at just 23 years of age (a toddler in Goalie Years) its relieving to have Lehner insulated by one the best goalies the franchise has ever had.
I’ve heard some concern from other fans that judging by Anderson’s comments at the end of his [disappointing] season that he has no interest in playing second fiddle which is just asking for a goaltending controversy.
Ummm good? After having such a series of mediocre goaltenders for years, where the true controversy was over who was less bad, the last thing I want to see is a guy in full Marty Biron “Lady, Lundqvist’s puttin’ my kids through college!” career backup mode. Drive is something I, and I think many others, have always loved about Lehner. I definitely want some caliente fuego in the goalie tandem. Comfort is for the now retired in Florida Roberto Luongos of the world.
Oh and here’s the other thing…
If Lehner emerges as the undisputed starter, he’s going to take that job whether it’s Craig Anderson backing him up or Craig David.
Here’s the most interesting counter argument. Let’s act it out. You be the bold letters and I’ll be Police Chief Wiggum:
Why tie up 6 million in cap space on our budget team when it can be spent on locking up another player who fills a team need? I hear Zenon Konopka and Joe Corvo are available.
First off, I don’t think in today’s NHL that $6M dollars is a lot of money for two goalies that we know are good over rolling the dice on Lehner as starter and having Andrew Hammond (1 career NHL game) or Nathan Lawson (11 NHL games since being signed undrafted in 2008) to step in if he struggles. Keep in mind, former unproven Bingo goalie Mike Brodeur is currently an ECHL free agent. Also, there are no goaltending prospects in the system beyond those guys who appear even close to the pro level.
So, just find a cheaper proven goaltender through free agency or a trade you smart ass son of a bitch.
K, a bit harsh with the name calling but feel me dawg: Looking for a goalie through free agency or a trade means competing with other teams to get a player sign and to or convince a GM to deal. That might not prove well for the team’s budget either or worse could cost us from our now dwindling prospect pool. On top of this you’re introducing a new player to a new system.
Instead we get our up and coming guy in Lehner as well as our vet Andy who’s been a very respectable 81 – 52 -17 since coming here btw. And hey, if Lehner blows Anderson out of the water and Andy wants out? I wouldn’t imagine it would be too tough to move Andy in a league where year after year come trade deadline without fail a team or two seems desperate for goaltending help. I’m hoping with the Sens current tandem that we wont have to be one of them.