For part 1 of this 3 part feature CLICK HERE
After the Hasek debacle, Muckler went out and hit the free agent market again, and came up with former Hurricanes goalie Martin Gerber. After winning 39 games the previous season in Carolina, Gerber was signed to a monster 3 year, $11.1M contract. Gerber flopped in Ottawa, not even making it through one season as the starter. After playing in 100 games over parts of the three seasons, we eventually was waived and claimed by the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Hasek’s unwillingness to play post-adductor injury thrust Ray Emery into the spotlight in Ottawa. The first home-grown prospect to play significant minutes in the organization, Emery did an admirable job filling in as a rookie in the playoffs, advancing to the second round. Emery’s flashiness, charisma, and ability to play in the spotlight and thrive made him a rockstar in Ottawa. That, combined with Gerber’s inabilty to live up to expectations, gave Emery his chance to shine. He took advantage and backstopped the Senators to their first ever Stanley Cup finals appearance, where they lost to the Ducks. Emery enjoyed the spotlight too much, and some off-ice issues pushed the Senators to part ways with the goalie.
LECLAIRE / ELLIOTT ROLLERCOASTER
After Gerber’s departure, the Senators traded for former first rounder Pascal Leclaire from the Columbus Blue Jackets. Many people thought Leclaire was the most talented goalie that the Senators had ever had (Hasek experiment aside) and also had the team in front of him to succeed. However, Leclaire could not stay healthy and spent more time on the sidelines in the press box than on the ice. This forced Elliott into the starter’s role, which had some success but also inconsistencies. Elliott, like many of his teammates, was a casualty of the Senators absolutely dreadful 2010-11 season, when he was traded straight up for Craig Anderson at the trade deadline.
ANDY IS DANDY
Anderson came to Ottawa with a team lower than it had been in years. A depleted roster in front of him, Anderson started his Senators career with a 1-0 shootout win over the Leafs, which instantly earned him a place in the hearts of Ottawa fans. He continued his stellar play over the last 18 games of the season, during which the impending free agent posted a 11-5-1 record. Bryan Murray rewarded Anderson with a 4 year, $12.5M contract extension. The first year of the extension had mixed results, as Anderson started slow out of the gate. However, the Senators defied most prognosticators by qualifying for the playoffs, and Anderson was a big reason for that. With three seasons left on his contract, Anderson remains the goalie of the present in Ottawa.
Which brings us to the present. Now the focus of this series is the future, of which Anderson plays a part. However, unlike any past edition of the Senators, there is now some depth in the net, and the third part of the series will look ahead to what is in store in the future for Ottawa goaltending.