It was supposed to be Marian Hossa. Or, maybe, Jay Bouwmeester. Instead, after looking at the 2009-10 season, is there really any doubt that the Colorado Avalanche’s choice to sign Craig Anderson stands as the best move in last July’s free agent spree?
The Denver Post reports that the former Florida Panthers backup broke Patrick Roy’s franchise single season record with a Brodeur-like 71 starts. He bested the legendary goalie’s mark of 65, although the Post notes that Anderson (38 wins) fell two short of Roy’s record for wins in a season.
Still, when you’re approaching Roy’s status in areas that are more legitimate than “most bizarre lapses in puck handling judgment” or “best Jeremy Roenick put-downs,” it’s a safe bet that you’re doing pretty well for yourself. Anderson went 38-25-7 this season with a sterling 92% save percentage and a 2.63 goals against average. Pretty good for a goalie who was once known mainly for ogling Ice Girls.
When you consider the fact that he signed a measly 2 year, $3.625 million contract (quite a bit less in total than the average annual cap hit for Bouwmeester and Hossa), I challenge you to find a better bang-for-the-buck move from July. Really, though, you don’t have to even qualify it: Anderson could be the best free agent move from a pure team impact standpoint.
The best news for Colorado Avalanche fans: Anderson will be able to grow with the young team for one more super-cheap year at only a little more than $1.8 million. Fans of the 14 teams who missed the playoffs should be asking themselves: will my team find the next Craig Anderson?