Even though Craig Anderson missed 18 games this season with an ankle injury, his head coach says that shouldn’t prevent him from being a major award candidate.
“Craig has been outstanding,” Paul MacLean told OttawaSenators.com. “I think for sure he should be considered for the Vezina Trophy and even the Hart Trophy for what he has brought to our team, but the Vezina Trophy for sure.”
In terms of the major statistical goaltending categories, it’s hard to argue with MacLean.
Anderson led the NHL with a 1.69 goals-against average and a .941 save percentage. He also finished tied for 11th in shutouts, with three, an impressive number considering how few games he played.
That limited amount of playing time, though, could end up being his downfall.
Anderson ranks 24th in saves (637), 25th in starts (24) and 26th in total time on ice (1,420:36). As such, his overall workload mirrors that of goalies in time-share situations, like Anaheim’s Jonas Hiller and Viktor Fasth, or Chicago’s Corey Crawford and Ray Emery.
As for the Hart Trophy…
There’s no denying Anderson is a vital piece of the Senators, but it’s hard to justify he was even the most valuable player on his team this season.
During his 18-game absence, Robin Lehner and Ben Bishop combined to go 10-7-3, more than keeping Ottawa afloat in the Eastern Conference playoff chase.
The case could even be made that, during an injury-riddled ’13 campaign, the performances of leading scorer Kyle Turris or veteran defenseman Sergei Gonchar (who played 48 and 45 games respectively) were most vital to Ottawa’s success.