Breaking up is never easy, especially when you didn’t really get a chance to say goodbye.
The Ottawa Senators will correct that on Tuesday night, welcoming back the greatest goalie in their franchise’s history. Craig Anderson will sign a one-day contract to retire as a member of the Senators, the team he played for from 2011-2020.
Anderson is the winningest goalie in franchise history and was at his best in the memorable 2017 playoff run to the Eastern Final, helping the Senators get to within one goal of the Stanley Cup Final. The dream died on the stick of Pittsburgh’s Chris Kunitz who scored in double overtime of Game 7. It was a seeing-eye shot that Anderson has probably only ever seen in replays, given the number of his teammates who were blocking his view.
Anderson played three more years in Ottawa after that, including the 2019-20 season, which ended suddenly after a game in LA when COVID-19 struck. With the Senators in full rebuild mode, it was time to turn to younger models like Matt Murray and Marcus Hogberg so the Senators opted not to bring Anderson back the following year.
Over ten seasons in Ottawa, Anderson played 435 games, starting 422 of them, posting a record of 202-168-46. His career goals against average with the Senators was 2.84 with a .914 save percentage.
After Ottawa, Anderson played briefly for Washington and then suited up for the last two years in Buffalo, where he recently signed with the Sabres hockey operations department as a “hockey liaison.”
“Craig Anderson’s voice, experience and love for the game have been invaluable components to our team’s growth over the past two seasons,” Sabres GM Kevyn Adams said in a news release. “Our players have benefited greatly from the habits and lessons he picked up during his accomplished 20-year career.”
Anderson’s final victory came in Buffalo’s regular season finale last spring against the Senators. Everyone knew it was his final game so the players on both sides, along with the Buffalo fans, all had a chance to say their goodbyes.
On Tuesday, it’s Ottawa’s turn. But this isn’t goodbye forever. Sooner or later, Anderson will be added to the Senators’ Ring of Honour.