Ottawa Senators Trade Rumours: Lehner or Anderson?


Craig Anderson and Robin Lehner are the focus of trade rumours after Bryan Murray revealed to Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun on Monday that “Five or six teams have called (about Lehner and Anderson) and there has been some discussion and there will continue to be.” He also added a non-committal, “We’ll see what comes of it.”

Let the speculation begin, and the debate rage. After all, the Sens Army just isn’t the same without a goalie controversy, and there are cases to be made both to keep and trade both goalies. So let’s have a look:

The Case For Anderson

Feb 8, 2014; Boston, MA, USA; Ottawa Senators goalie Craig Anderson (41) makes a stick save during the third period against the Boston Bruins at TD Banknorth Garden. Mandatory Credit: Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

Reasons to Keep Him:

  • He’s a proven NHL goalie. More than that, he’s elite. His career SV% ranks 15th at .915, and he boosts his play during the playoffs, evidenced by a career .933 SV%. He wins games that lesser goalies will not, often making spectacular saves. And winning means a shot at the playoffs. And that means more playoff experience for the young guys. And that means if and when the time comes, those guys will know what it takes to win.
  • His contract is favourable. At 4.2 million per year, it is a fair deal for a top goalie. He’s got 3 years left on it, taking him to age 36. His age worries some, but it shouldn’t. Goalies are effective longer than skaters. Consider that age 36 was when Brodeur just started to wane.
  • He is cool-headed, and could be a mentor. Not a crucial attribute, but could have extra value considering that Hammond is also a calm goalie. Much could the young padawan from him learn, mmm?

Reasons to Trade Him:

  • He has better trade value. Undoubtedly, a team would offer more for Andy than Lehner.
  • Statistical superstition. Since he joined the Sens, Anderson has alternated between elite and pedestrian seasons. A superstitious fan might worry that in the three years left on his contract, Andy would only give us one good year.

The Case For Lehner

Jan 13, 2015; Dallas, TX, USA; Ottawa Senators goalie Robin Lehner (40) faces the Dallas Stars attack during the game at the American Airlines Center. The Stars defeated the Senators 5-4. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Reasons to Keep Him:

  • Speculation, Dreams, and Fears. We look back at Lehner’s impressive 12 games of play during the strike-shortened ’12/’13 season and speculate about his potential. It makes us dream of him as a future No. 1 goalie. This causes nightmares about another disaster like the Ben Bishop trade.
  • His Contract. His cap hit is almost $2 million less per year than Andy’s. That’s $2 million more that could be used to bring in a top-level skater.

Reasons to Trade Him:

  • He is unproven, and his stats have worsened. If you really think about it, Lehner isn’t even as proven as Hammond. He hasn’t had sustained stretches of strong play. And every season he’s gotten worse. That has to worry the speculators and dreamers a bit. SV% over the last three seasons: .936, .913, .905. As they say in the entertainment biz, he’s trending down.
  • The Gamble. Keeping Lehner and letting Andy go would be a gamble, a bet that one of the three unproven goalies would play near Andy’s calibre. That’s a gutsy bet. One might even say reckless. And the stakes are high. For if the Sens have a losing season and miss the playoffs, that means lower morale, less confidence, and a missed opportunity for more playoff experience. The gamble doesn’t seem worth it.
  • The Temper. Lehner has been prone to flashes of anger, and some of those flashes have been directed at teammates. We’ll never know what he’s like behind closed doors with his teammates, but if on-ice is any suggestion, it might not be the most harmonious option to keep him.


The Verdict

If one has to go, it should be Lehner. Andy is not going to net enough of a return to make the gamble worth it, because the potential losses outweigh the potential gains.

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If Anderson is traded and all works out, the Sens have a goalie as good as Andy in Lehner or Hammond, plus whoever they get for Anderson in a trade. This makes them a bit better. Maybe even a cup contender.

But if all doesn’t work out, the players they get for Andy underperform, and the unproven goalies can’t keep the team in the rough ones, and the team loses — a lot — misses the playoffs, the guys get discouraged, and the big gamble resulted in a lousy draft-pick, a.k.a. more gambling.

But that’s just my opinion. What do you think– Lehner or Anderson?

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