Breaking news regarding Ottawa’s impending 2015 UFAs is nothing new for Eugene Melnyk.
After announcing hast week on TSN 1200 the Senators owner announced that the Senators had re-signed Clarke MacArthur to a five-year contract extension, Melnyk hinted this morning that more news was coming down the pipeline.
Will be another great day for the @senators! Busy, busy summer…
— Eugene Melnyk (@MelnykEugene) August 25, 2014
I joked on Twitter that it might be news that the Senators had replaced a shower head within the visitor’s dressing room, but shortly after Melnyk’s tweet, the Senators officially acknowledged that they had retained goaltender Craig Anderson to a three-year extension worth an average annual value of $4.2 million. The deal is front-loaded and will pay Anderson $4.75 million in the first two years of the deal and he will make $3.1 million in the final year of his contract.
If you were hoping for a Marc Methot signing or Bobby Ryan signing, maybe this lets the air out of the balloon a little bit, but the Senators believe that they have solidified their goaltending position for the foreseeable future by keeping Anderson and Robin Lehner in the fold.
Like any deal involving the volatile goaltending position, it’s not like the Senators aren’t assuming some risk here.
Anderson will be 34 years old when his three-year contract extension kicks in and given the expectations many have that he’ll be relegated to the team’s backup role in short order once Robin Lehner assumes the bulk of the work, maybe his contract extension is a relatively large investment for the Senators to make. It’s no secret that the Senators have one of the league’s most inexpensive payrolls, so there’s a reasonable argument to be made that the Senators could have made more efficient use of their limited financial resources to fill a greater position of need.
That belief, of course, is heavily rooted on the assumption that Lehner will develop into a workhorse number one who is capable of carrying this team. It’s possible that Lehner may never become that guy and in this scenario, Anderson is a known commodity who provides the Senators with some competent goaltending.
I do think fans have a tendency to romanticize Anderson’s 24-game 2012/13 lockout shortened campaign in which he posted a ridiculous .943 even strength save percentage and an unsustainable .925 save percentage while the Senators were shorthanded, but with that being said, I don’t think Anderson’s awful either.
Even in last season’s down year, his overall numbers were submarined by his .842 save percentage while the Senators were on the penalty kill. Of the goaltenders last season who started more than 50 games, it was the worst mark in the entire league. With some better luck and regression to the mean, Anderson could very well be better next season, although, it is worth mentioning that he did post a respectable .925 save percentage while at even strength.
All things considered, it’s not THAT offensive of a deal and looking at next year’s UFA class, it’s a bit of a dog’s breakfast. Getting some certainty and insulation in the event that Lehner fails to become the man, prevents the team from having to roll the dice on a Cam Talbot or overspending on one of the other veterans available in free agency or via trade. Essentially, the only causes of worry are: a) when will Robin Lehner be entrusted to get the number one gig and run with? And b) Will the Senators continue to be a budget team and is this the most efficient use of their limited financial resources?
Here’s a detailed breakdown of Ottawa’s goaltending costs over the next few seasons:
|Craig Anderson||Robin Lehner||Total Combined Real Salary||
Total Combined Cap Hit