Craig Anderson: Best And Worst Case Scenarios Next Season


So far in the ongoing series which analyzes certain Ottawa Senators best and worst case scenarios for next season, I have looked at Mika Zibanejad and Mark Stone. Today I will look at a different position as I’ll switch gears to a goaltender. Craig Anderson has been Ottawa’s starter since 2011, and here are two extremes on how his season could play out next year:

Worst Case:

At the age of 34, sadly I think the worst case is quite bleak. There aren’t many goaltenders that can sustain their success once they hit their mid-to-late 30’s, as even Martin Brodeur was unplayable in his last several seasons. Anderson has a solid track record as he has posted a .920 save percentage as an Ottawa Senator, but we can’t necessarily expect that in the future.

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He may have one or two more good seasons left in him, but the reality is we do not know when his regression will hit. We already saw a glimpse of that in 2013-14, as he ended up with a below average .911 SV%. Two out of the last three seasons he has been phenomenal, but in those years he played only 24 and 35 games, respectively.

When he plays larger portions of the season his numbers tend to drop, so if he plays 60-65 games he might be average to below average. I really am nervous about him falling off a cliff in terms of his play, and I think it’s a possibility. His career SV% sits at .915 although his numbers as a Senator are quite a bit better.

Last year there were only four goalies over the age of 34 who played in more than 10 games:

The only goalie who played well was Roberto Luongo, but we can’t really compare Anderson to him as Luongo has a much better track record. Ryan Miller seems like a good comparison, as he also has a career .915 SV% but is one year older. While I would expect around a .911 SV%, I can easily see his numbers dropping to around .905-.910.

In 2013-14 he was almost unplayable, and just because he played very well last year doesn’t mean he has staved off his inevitable regression. The worst case could be ugly, and if that happens then Ottawa won’t be a playoff team.

Best Case:

On the other hand, it’s impossible to know when Anderson will lose his touch in net. Not everyone has the same age curve, and hopefully he can still be an elite goaltender. It’s very hard to post a .923 SV% in the NHL, and Anderson has proven that he’s capable of being better than the rest of the pack.

It’s hard to predict how many games he will play this season, but we can only hope that he plays at least 50 games. In his career, he has played 193 games with Ottawa which is the most out of any other team he has been with. 193 games is a good enough sample size, and in the last four years he has been fantastic for the Senators.

Jan 20, 2015; New York, NY, USA; Ottawa Senators goalie Craig Anderson (41) makes a save against the New York Rangers during the second period at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports

He can get very hot during certain streaks, which he proved last year during the regular season and the playoffs and there’s no reason why he can’t do that next year. He has the ability to post spectacular numbers in a 20-30 game stretch, but those results will of course drop a bit if he plays an entire season.

That being said, his best case scenario is still pretty optimistic. I think if he plays 60 games and posts a .920 SV% then that will be everything we can ask for. The Senators achilles heel is their goaltending, and if Anderson plays that well again then they will be a good team.


Much like Stone, he has a large range for how he will play next season. Sadly I think Anderson will end up being closer to the worst case scenario next year. He has trouble staying healthy for the whole season, and if he does, his stats drop to around just average.

He’s getting older and it’s hard to have too much confidence in him. I had supreme confidence in him in the playoffs, but I am also realistic and I know how goalies age. Hopefully he can at least be average though, as Ottawa can survive if he gets around a .915 SV%. In a lot of ways, the Senators success hinges on Anderson’s performance.

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