Anderson sold on Sens

The Pittsburgh Penguins' Maxime Talbot tries to get the puck past Ottawa Senators' Craig Anderson....

The Pittsburgh Penguins' Maxime Talbot tries to get the puck past Ottawa Senators' Craig Anderson. (REUTERS/Patrick Doyle)

BRUCE GARRIOCH, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 11:39 PM ET

RALEIGH, N.C. Turns out Craig Anderson is a keeper.

The Senators goaltender gave up the chance to shop himself around this summer on the lucrative unrestricted free agent market by signing a four-year, $12.75-million deal on Monday to stay in Ottawa.

The 29-year-old Anderson, acquired from the Colorado Avalanche for Brian Elliott on Feb. 18, was excited to get a contract done before the end of the season. He said he hadnt thought of going elsewhere.

Its great to get something long-term done, said Anderson. Its great to set some roots down and really grow with the guys. If you get some shorter-term contracts, its tough to grow with the group. My objective is to grow with the guys.

Weve got some young guys coming up and I want to make sure Im a part of their growth. Its been a great spot here to come in and show what I can do. Im not surprised. Its been an unbelievable first impression from the moment I got here. The people here have really gone out of their way to make me feel at home.

Anderson will get a healthy raise from the $2.125 million hes making this season in the second of the two-year deal that carries a cap hit $1.8 million. Hell make an average of $3.187 million over the term of the new contract, but doesnt have a no-movement or no-trade clause.

GM Bryan Murray, who planned to take a run at signing Anderson in the summer if he tested the UFA market, was happy the Senators were able to stabilize their goaltending.

We feel hes brought stability, said Murray. The position is one that we need if youre going to retool, rebuild and improve this hockey club. I believe our players have played with confidence with both Curtis (McElhinney) and (Anderson).

Craig has stepped in and allowed our team to play the way we think we have to play. With that secure building block, now we can address other issues.

Talks to get Anderson signed started with his agent Justin Duberman last Wednesday following the GMs meetings in Florida. Both sides were motivated to get a deal done, which is why it didnt take long.

After the first couple of days, Craig said to me, Just find a way for me to stay here, said Duberman. Thats my job and I know Craig has felt really comfortable (in Ottawa). He wants to be part of it.

Were really pleased we were able to get this done. Hes been really happy with the reception hes gotten there and the way the organization has treated him. He liked being there from the start.

Murray, who believes Phoenix G Ilja Bryzgalov and Floridas Tomas Vokoun wont test the market this summer, said this was the right move, despite the fact Anderson has struggled in his past two games.

I know the real Craig Anderson, said Murray. When I made the trade to acquire him, he was the guy I knew we had a chance if we could get him in here to talk to him to sign. The numbers made sense.

Anderson said he isnt worried about the pressure of playing in Canada. Not only was he given a round of applause when he showed up on the bench midway through his first game, the next night a fan stopped at a Kanata theatre to welcome him to Ottawa.

The fans have been very welcoming and made my decision easy to want to play here, said Anderson. The ovation I got on the Jumbotron the first night made me know Id be happy to play here.

bruce.garrioch@sunmedia.ca


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