Anderson’s veteran presence on the ice and in the locker room proved to be important throughout the season.
Total Season Stats: 31 GP | 17-12-2 | .897 SV% | 3.12 GAA
Contract Status: Under contract through 2021-22, $750,000/year
When the Buffalo Sabres signed Craig Anderson to a one-year contract last July, it was hard to know what to expect from the 40-year-old netminder entering his 19th NHL season. While he had found success in the past with Colorado and Ottawa, that was approaching a decade ago, and it was clear the numbers he was putting up in recent years showed signs of decline.
Although Anderson may not be the Sabres goalie for the long term, bringing him in to fill a goaltending position that had lacked a veteran presence in recent years turned out to be a great move for Buffalo’s front office. Despite posting a save percentage and GAA that was around average, Anderson finished the season well above a .500 win percentage, while also putting up solid performances in the key victories against Vegas during Eichel’s return, the Leafs in the Heritage Classic, and the Predators on RJ night.
Not only was Anderson’s victory over Vegas important to the city of Buffalo, but it also gave him his 300th career win, a number only 38 other goalies have reached in the history of the NHL.
Outside of his solid play on the ice throughout the season, Anderson was also able to provide great leadership along with a presence that motivated and influenced his teammates. Whether it was his post win hugs with Alex Tuch, his playful banter with Peyton Krebs after the Heritage Classic, or battling through numerous nagging injuries throughout the season, Anderson feels like a player who has had a positive impact on the Sabres culture this past season and beyond.
Personally, I think that it would be beneficial for Kevyn Adams and the Sabres to bring back Anderson for another year, as long as he is willing to continue his career. While he may not be considered a top goaltender like he was earlier in his career, Anderson has the ability to still provide stability to one of the Sabres positions of need as they continue to figure out their long term goaltending situation.
Anderson’s age will continue to catch up with him but Buffalo would be smart to make sure a player like him stays on the roster at least through next year. As the culture in the Sabres locker room continues to improve, Craig Anderson has been a player at the forefront of that, and it’s clear that his teammates and coaches have a great deal of respect for him.
Season Grade: B-
What grade would you give Craig Anderson?