Senators sign an Auld friend

BRUCE GARRIOCH, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 10:37 PM ET

OTTAWA - It wasnt the big splash some fans were hoping for, but the Senators signed a familiar face to be their backup goalie.

On the first day of free-agency, Alex Auld agreed to a $1-million, one-year deal to back up Craig Anderson.

Auld, who played 43 games and had a 2.47 goals-against average for the Senators in 2008-09, spent last season with the Montreal Canadiens and has played for eight NHL teams since being drafted by the Florida Panthers in 1999.

Auld, who lives about 10 minutes from Anderson in Florida, is looking forward to returning to Ottawa.

Moving is definitely tough, said Auld, who was drafted by Bryan Murray when he was GM of Florida. Its kind of nice to go to a place where it feels like a bit of a homecoming. There are not a lot of guys left from when I was there. It was a challenging year, but the people made it great.

It was a place we really loved to live and I think that makes it a bit easier. Usually when youre going somewhere new, its a lot of unknowns. It can be a little bit scary.

This is the eighth time Auld has moved in the last nine years. He was signed to a two-year, $2-million deal by Ottawa on July 1, 2008, but was dealt to Dallas in 2009.

The decision to bring in Auld means Anderson is going to be a busy man. Auld saw action in only 16 games last season with the Habs and if Anderson does get hurt, Robin Lehner could be brought up from Binghamton to be the starter.

The Senators didnt sign Auld to be a saviour. They want him to be reliable and not rock the boat behind Anderson. Auld had a decent 6-2-2 record and a .914 save-percentage with the Habs last season.

He fit our criteria, said Murray. Hes a guy that understands his role. He understands weve got Robin Lehner to come and play within a year. I didnt want to go for term for a backup guy. Alex was receptive to that.

Its believed the Senators were prepared to make a call on Minnesotas Josh Harding before he accepted a one-year, $750,000 deal to stay with the Wild just before the market opened up at noon. A lot of teams were looking for backups.

The Senators also made a call on Jose Theodore, who accepted a two-year deal with Florida because he has the chance to be a starter. Phillys Brian Boucher got a two-year deal from the Carolina Hurricanes.


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