I have been a Senators Fan since my first game in 1993. I was but five years old and I begged my dad to take me instead of my mom. I saw our Sens play Mario and the Penguins in the old Civic Centre and the memory has resonated since.
Fast forward 19 years.
Well, we've all heard it a few times this year, "Ottawa defies expectations." While this is amazing news, the big story of this year, especially since Craig Anderson sliced his finger, is the depth and future of our goaltending situation.
I think most people can agree that we have never had a situation like we do now. Craig Anderson, while shaky to start the year, has increase his numbers to a respectable .913 save percentage and 2.85 GAA. He has picked up where he left off when he joined the team last year and he has lived up to the expectations of timely saves to steal games. Enter the physically imposing tandem of Robin Lehner and Ben Bishop. Let's look at Lehner first.
While not stellar in Bingo this year, (due to a weaker team caused by the gutting of the Calder Cup lads to fill the big squad), he has shown that he will be a superstar in the Big Show. He moves well, plays positionally, and instills a sense of confidence not just in the fans, but in the team. I mean, all that needs to be said is that he shut out Boston...that is huge.
Speaking of huge, Ben Bishop is now 2-0 for the Senators in the NHL. Leaving his spectacular AHL stats aside, he made some big stops against the Rangers last night, and was relatively comfortable (although a bit shaky) against the Bolts. As he gets more and more comfortable with the squad up here, he will only loosen up and become better and better. This was a real coup from Bryan Murray to steal him for a 2nd round pick.
What is the point of all this? We have Craig Anderson for the next two years and if he continues to play as we know he can we have a solid Starter who can play 70+ games if we need him to. We will not sign Auld for next year, so either Lehner or Bishop will be fighting for the starting spot and whoever wins will be more than capable of making our tandem of 'tenders into a formidable force.
This is the first time that we have guys backstopping for us who provides us with some calm. We no longer have to hold our breath when there is an odd-man rush bearing down on our tender (i.e. Gerber, Emery, Auld, etc.)
We completed the rebuild in one year and look pretty set to succeed in the future.