Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Craig Anderson: 4 Autographed Cards (Part 1)

Some are wondering if the Ottawa Senators were wise to sign Craig Anderson to a 4-year contract extension a few weeks ago but I, for one, think it could work out.

Sure, he and Michael Leighton spent years in the Chicago Blackhawks' system without being given a proper chance and both were pretty much thrown away like hole-filled socks, Leighton spending years on waivers and Anderson being dealt to the Florida Panthers, who already had an All Star #1 goalie in Tomas Vokoun.

Of those years in the minors, I kept this card as a memento:
It's from In the Game's 2006-07 Between The Pipes set, the Future Stars sub-set (card #10), where he's wearing the Rochester Americans' red jersey.

And as a Panther, I have this one:
It's card #126 in Upper Deck's 2008-09 Power Play Boxed Set and shows him with the same mask he wore on the AHL card. In his first season with the Panthers, he went 8-6-1 (2.24 GAA; .935 save %) in 17 games, the most impressive of which was a 1-0 win against the New York Islanders on March 2nd in which he set an NHL record for most saves in a shutout, with 53. In 2008-09, he went 15-7-5 with a 2.71 GAA and .924 save percentage, cementing his position as a goalie who could, perhaps, get the job done.

And that's what the Colorado Avalanche were banking on when they signed him to a 2-year deal, and they gave him every opportunity to shine, giving him the net for 15 straight starts to begin the season - a team record. He got a shutout in his second game and was the league's second star for two out of four weeks in October. He became only the fourth goalie in franchise history to record 30 wins in a season, and by season's end, he held team marks for games played, minutes played and saves made - beating the best goalie of all time, Patrick Roy, for all three. And as interesting as a 38-25-7 record, a 2.63 GAA and a .917 save % are in the regular season, his 2.62 GAA and .933 save % in the playoffs were even better.

                                       (to be continued in the next post)

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