Avs sign potential starting goalie in Anderson
DENVER, Colorado –The Colorado Avalanche met an objective on the first day of the NHL free agent signing period by signing goaltender Craig Anderson to a two-year deal Wednesday.
“In Craig we feel we have addressed a very important need within our organization,” said Avalanche general manager Greg Sherman. “His overall performance last year was very impressive and he is entering the prime years of his career.”
No financial terms of the agreement were released.
“I had a few spots to choose from, but Greg Sherman provided the opportunity and what I had heard about the organization, I knew it was where I wanted to be and the team I wanted to play for,” Anderson said. “They provided me an opportunity to play and in a great city and for a great organization. I didn’t think there could be a better matchup.”
Anderson said there was another reason for choosing the Avalanche over other suitors. Having been a backup to Tomas Vokoun last year with the Panthers, he knew there was a chance for him to be a starter with Colorado.
“The goaltending situation there is a positive one,” Anderson said. “They give me a fighting chance to come in and play 50 or 60 games and that was the opportunity I was looking for.”
The Avalanche went through last season with two goaltenders, Peter Budaj and Andrew Raycroft. Budaj is signed with the Avalanche through 2009-10 while Raycroft is an unrestricted free agent.
Anderson spent the past three seasons with the Florida Panthers, where he accumulated a 24-14-0 record. He recorded five shutouts over that span.
Anderson, 28, ranked third among NHL goaltenders in 2008-09 with a .924 save percentage in 31 appearances with the Panthers. He had a 15-7-5 record with a 2.71 goals-against average and three shutouts last year in what he considered a breakout season.
“A lot of it I attribute to maturity and determination,” Anderson said. “I learned a lot playing behind Nikolai Khabibulin in Chicago and learned how to be a guy that can be relied on every time and I took that with me to Florida.”
He was originally taken 73rd overall in the 2001 Entry Draft by the Chicago Blackhawks and made his NHL debut with the Blackhawks in 2002-03.
Anderson has appeared in 109 career games with Chicago and Florida. The 6-foot-2 netminder owns a 36-43-13 record with a .911 save percentage and 2.87 GAA.
Anderson and Avalanche defenseman Ruslan Salei were teammates for nearly two seasons with Florida.
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