Craig Anderson’s been one of the bright spots in an otherwise disappointing season for Ottawa.
Perhaps a little too bright.
Boasting a .929 save percentage and a 2.30 GAA — impressive, given the Sens are 19th in goals against (2.67) and allow the fifth-most shots (32.5) per game — Anderson has become a hot topic in the Canadian capital and, this week, both the Ottawa Sun and Citizen ran stories on trade talks.
“The ball is in their court,” Anderson said, per the Sun. “All I can do is go play. If something fits their needs, where I don’t belong in their plans, then so be it, but I don’t even want to talk about it like that because there’s no been no speculation of that at all.
“All I can do is go out and play and try to help this team win.”
It’s easy to see why Anderson’s considered movable. The Sens head into Friday’s action eight points out of the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference and, given their internal budget restraints, could be a seller come deadline day. Anderson, meanwhile, doesn’t have a no-trade clause and his three-year contract carries a relatively friendly cap hit ($3.19M); what’s more, the 33-year-old has proven to be a quality postseason netminder. Anderson was phenomenal in the opening round of his last playoff appearance (in 2013), allowing just nine goals on 180 shots — good for a .950 save percentage — in a five-game victory over Montreal.
There are other factors to consider as well. Robin Lehner, 23, is the Sens’ goalie of the future and locked in through 2017; there are also a few teams rumored to be looking at acquiring goaltending help (the Sun points to possible landing spots in Edmonton, St. Louis and Minnesota — yes, even following the Devan Dubnyk trade.)
There’s also the potential for injury. Nashville and Detroit have both recently lost No. 1 netminders Pekka Rinne and Jimmy Howard, so something else could easily pop up prior to the March trade deadline.
Just ask Anderson.
“There’s two things guaranteed in hockey: Change and injuries,” he explained. “We’ve had our fair share of injuries. When you don’t win, lots of changes happen. When you win, some changes happen.
“It’s kind of what we’re used to.”