While the Sabres have indicated that they’d like to bring back goaltender Craig Anderson, the veteran isn’t ready to make that commitment just yet. Speaking with reporters today including Lance Lysowski of The Buffalo News, the 40-year-old indicated that he will take the next few weeks to decide whether or not to return for a 20th NHL campaign:
There’s life after hockey and at some point, you really have to consider what the injuries, how they’re going to affect your day-to-day post-career. I haven’t really put too much thought into it. Obviously, you’re dealing with the neck and hip. There’s some serious considerations to take into account. I haven’t thought too much into it. I think in the next two to three weeks see how things calm down. If things calm down the way I’d like them to then that’s when the thought process would kick in.
The 40-year-old made 31 starts for Buffalo this season and posted a winning record (17-12-2), an impressive feat on a non-playoff team. His decision to join the Sabres proved to be a fruitful one for both sides as he got a chance to play regularly after being on Washington’s taxi squad for most of last season while Buffalo got a nice bargain as Anderson made the league minimum salary of $750K.
However, injuries also took their toll on Anderson as the neck injury he referenced kept him out for three months earlier in the season while the hip injury is a recent one that prevented him from playing over the last week and a half. With over 700 career NHL appearances under his belt between the regular season and playoffs, there has been a lot of wear and tear on his body so it’s certainly understandable that he’ll want to take some time before deciding whether or not to play again.
All signs point to prospect Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen being one of Buffalo’s two netminders next season with Buffalo wanting a veteran to pair with him. Anderson would be a logical fit as someone that wouldn’t require a pricey multi-year commitment like many veteran unrestricted free agents would and with Buffalo still in the rebuilding stage, a short-term deal for their other goalie makes a lot of sense. As for whether or not Anderson is willing to sign up for that, it appears that decision won’t be coming for a while yet.
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