Solid move by GM Bryan Murray today to get goalie Craig Anderson under contract for the next four years at an average of just over 3 million a season.
What this team needs now, perhaps more than ever in their franchise history, is stability in the net and this deal gives them that going forward.
As Murray said today at the press conference, the tumultous year for Robin Lehner has hurt his progress after bouncing around from league to league and not being able to win the starting job in either scenario. And that's not totally suprising given his age and the circumstances.
So far, the Senators "rebuild" with youth has shown results right away (though it's always a bad idea to equate late season surges with success the following season) but the one position you don't want to have inexperience at during these upheavals is in the net. That's why expansion teams always go with veteran goaltenders, because they know there are going to be tough nights and even longer stretches where losing is going to be inevitable.
Anderson has already proved that he's a good, if not great, goalie in this league. Some critics have pointed to his tough start in Colorado this year but it's obvious that their problems were far deeper than goaltending.
Already I'm hearing a negative reaction from fans on the call-in shows due to the length of the deal, but it's not like Murray was going into this negotiation from a position of strength. Anderson doesn't owe Ottawa a thing and he could have simply said that if he didn't get that fourth year, he'd just go to July 1st and see what the market offered. Smartly, Murray didn't balk and got Anderson under contract for very little money when you look at what other starting goalies are getting in this league.
With the setbacks that the 19 year old Lehner went through this year, there are no guarantees he's going to be ready at anytime during the length of Anderson's contract. Most goalies don't crack the NHL until their mid-20's anyways. Lehner has plenty of time to arrive in the normal, routine way that other starters do.
If he does somehow battle his way to the top spot in the next two or three years, it's not as if Anderson's contract is so huge that moving him would be impossible.
Overall, a necessary and positive move for this organization going forward.
And call me crazy, but doesn't it look like Murray is going to be around in his role for at least another season?
I'm not calling him Lazarus, but it's pretty close.