Former Ottawa Senators legend Craig Anderson is reportedly on the verge of announcing his retirement after 18 seasons in the NHL. Anderson played his final season with the Washington Capitals. His current general manager, Brian MacLellan spoke on Anderson’s future during a post-entry draft press conference. Regional NHL.com writer, Tom Gulitti was the first to break the story.
*The Capitals have had preliminary talks with G Ilya Samsonov, who can become an RFA Wednesday and a bridge deal is likely outcome.
*G Henrik Lundqvist has resumed light workouts, but MacLellan said he has yet to be cleared medically to play.
— Tom Gulitti (@TomGulittiNHL) July 24, 2021
Craig Anderson Retiring After 18 NHL Seasons
Craig Anderson will be remembered most for his time with the Ottawa Senators. He played in Canada’s capital for 10 seasons and holds the goalie record for the most games played for the franchise. Out of all the Sens goalies to start at least 100 games, he is first in save percentage (.914) and second in shutouts (28). Across his entire career, Anderson is within the top 50 goaltenders all-time for wins (291), shutouts (42) and save percentage (.913).
However, despite consistent output, he never once finished as a Vezina Trophy finalist; he finished fourth on two occasions. Overall, he spent time with the Chicago Blackhawks, Florida Panthers and the Colorado Avalanche before joining the Sens via trade.
In the final year of his career, Anderson signed with the Washington Capitals after Henrik Lundqvist was sidelined for the season post-open-heart surgery. He signed off the 2020-21 season with a flourish. Called into action after Vitek Vanecek got injured in Game 1 in the Capitals First Round series against the Boston Bruins, Anderson made 65 saves across two games for a .929 save percentage.
Closest to the Cup
Anderson’s time with Ottawa culminated during the 2016-17 season. Stopping 10.6 goals above expected in the regular season, the Illinois native then led the Sens on a fairytale Stanley Cup playoffs run. Unfortunately, despite him posting a .936 save percentage in the Conference Finals series, Ottawa came up one goal short of the Stanley Cup Finals.
The 40-year-old won the Masterton Trophy at the end of that season, after displaying “qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to hockey”. His wife Nicholle was suffering from throat cancer at the time. Anderson took a sabbatical to be with her before coming back to orchestrate the Stanley Cup run.
What This Means Going Forward
Craig Anderson retiring doesn’t change the outlook so much for the Washington Capitals. During the post-draft press conference, Brian MacLellan also informed the media that goaltender Henrik Lundqvist had resumed light workouts. This is an extremely positive sign that could suggest a return to the fold in 2021-22 for the much-beloved Swede. As of right now, Washington’s 1-2 depth in net is Ilya Samsonov and Lundqvist. Another departure from the Caps goaltending core was Vitek Vanecek; the Seattle Kraken selected him as part of the expansion draft.