The Ottawa Senators made their second significant goaltending commitment of the summer on Monday, agreeing to terms with Craig Anderson on a three-year, $12.6 million contract extension.
Anderson, 33, will carry a $4.2 million cap hit through 2018 (annual salary breakdown: $4.75M, $4.75M, $3.1M) and will be alongside Swedish netminder Robin Lehner for almost the entirety — on July 31, Lehner inked a three-year extension of his own with Ottawa, agreeing to a deal that’ll pay $2.2 million per until 2017.
This is an interesting decision from Sens GM Bryan Murray. Anderson is coming off a disappointing year — injuries and ineffective play limited him to just 53 appearances, in which he went 25-16-8 with a 3.00 GAA and .911 save percentage. The disappointment was magnified given his brilliance during the lockout-shortened ’13 campaign — Anderson went 12-9-2 with a .941 save percentage and 1.69 GAA, finishing fourth in Vezina and 12th in Hart voting. He was also stellar in that spring’s opening-round playoff series against Montreal, allowing just nine goals on 180 shots — good for a .950 save percentage — in the five-game victory.
The hope, it seems, is that the veteran can reclaim some of that past glory while allowing Lehner — who is still just 23 years old — more time to cut his teeth at the NHL level.
That said, one wonders how close the Swede is to being a No. 1. A former AHL playoff MVP, Lehner is the bigger of the two goalies (at 6-foot-4, 223 pounds) and was stellar down the stretch last year — here’s a look at his last five games of the season:
It’s also worth noting that, between these two deals, Ottawa is carrying $6.4 million in goalies (it’s also worth noting that Anderson got a pretty significant pay bump, up from the $3.1 million he was making annually on his last deal.)
Brian Campbell doesn’t score as many points as he used to, but he came up with a huge goal against the Red Wings on Sunday afternoon.
With the game tied, 1-1, in overtime, Campbell skated into the slot and beat Petr Mrazek with a perfect wrister to end the game.
It was also a pretty nice passing play between Jussi Jokinen, Jonathan Huberdeau and Campbell.
Dylan Larkin opened the scoring in the second period before Reilly Smith leveled the score with just over five minutes remaining.
The Wings have blown a lead in three straight games.
Detroit was up 2-0 and 3-2 in their last game, against Edmonton, before they finally closed the game out with an overtime goal by Niklas Kronwall.
They weren’t so fortunate against the Bruins on Wednesday, as they lost 3-2 in OT after leading 2-1 with under two minutes remaining in regulation.
This was the first meeting of the season between Detroit and Florida, but they’ll see each other three times between Feb. 4 and Mar. 19.
You can’t blame Mike Babcock for siding with the relatively unknown when the other option is Jonathan Bernier, a goalie who’s 0-8-1 so far in 2015-16.
With that in mind, meet Garret Sparks, the Toronto Maple Leafs’ expected starter for Monday’s game against the Edmonton Oilers.
Sparks was a seventh-round pick (190th overall) in 2011, a guy who was off to a great start in the AHL. That much wasn’t lost on Babcock.
Let’s face it, though; this is as much about the Leafs’ other two goalies as it is about Sparks (whose name inspired a very obscure reference in this post’s headline).
In Bernier’s case, there’s an “enough’s enough” feel:
Meanwhile, James Reimer‘s not quite healthy enough to play yet, so the window of opportunity is open for Sparks … a little bit.
Sparks will get a chance to make an impression, even if it’s just a small one.
So far, the 2015-16 crop of rookies is living up to the hype, if not exceeding it. Connor McDavid‘s unfortunate injury hasn’t even derailed this year’s crop.
The Detroit Red Wings are watching their own blue chip blossom, as Dylan Larkin is making an instant impact.
No. 71 scored his 10th goal of the season against the Florida Panthers on Sunday, fattening his rookie goals lead.
He still needs five points to match rookie points leader Artemi Panarin, though.
There’s one thing we seem to know about Carey Price‘s injury situation: he first got hurt stepping on a puck on Oct. 29, according to Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman.
Contrary to earlier reports about him missing about a month, it sounds like his window of recovery is still up in the air (which, to be fair, could mean that he’ll still miss about a month when it’s all said and done).
ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun reports that Price underwent testing with Montreal’s team doctor on Saturday and is expected to go through more; we may not know more about his expected injury timeline until early this coming week.
So, basically, Price’s situation is fuzzier than his mustache right now.
Leg injuries can be tricky anyway, so we shouldn’t be too surprised that there are mixed signals regarding Price, and this may remain a fluid situation for some time.
(But we’ll hopefully know more soon enough.)