Are you ready to be hunted sir?
This is a weird position for the Senators, isn't it? Having more than one goalie signed to the roster that you feel at least semi-confident in?
With the play of Craig Anderson down the stretch and into the playoffs, the 3 years he has left on his contract to be the #1 guy for the Senators seems like a sound investment. He nearly out-dueled the best goalie in the world in round 1 of the playoffs, and did it for a reasonable price. Without question, he enters next season as the very clear starter for the Senators on opening day, and Sens fans can feel pretty good about that fact -- something that is a bit foreign to them.
Past Anderson though, it gets a bit murky, but not necessarily in a bad way. The Senators have two young goaltenders who played huge roles in ensuring the team made the playoffs when Anderson had his kitchen incident. Robin Lehner came up and shut out the defending cup champs, beating a Boston Bruin team that has owned the Senators since Tim Thomas arrived on the scene after the lockout. A couple days later, Sens brass acquired Ben Bishop from the St. Louis Blues and promptly signed him to a 1-way contract extension for this coming season. It signalled an end to the Alex Auld backup era for a certainty. Bishop had proven he was one of the best goalies in the AHL, if not the best.
So, with the contract it would seem that it is clear-cut that the backup goalie for the opening day Ottawa Senators will be Ben Bishop, and that would give the strongest platoon the Senators have seen in years. However, do not count out Robin Lehner too quickly, he won a Calder Cup MVP before his 20th birthday, and is a notorious hunter. He has not dominated the AHL regular season the way Bishop has, and that is what the Senators management wants to see from him. Should he begin the year playing well in Bingo, who knows?
How do you see this goaltending situation playing out over the next few years?
Links after the jump (only Senators links!)
- Our very own Peter Raaymakers has been on a blog writing binge since returning to the country. Here he is recapping an interesting Bryan Murray interview from yesterday talking about July 1. [SSS]
- And here he is again discussing Daniel Alfredsson's chances of winning the Masterton Memorial Trophy. In my opinion, while Alfie makes for a pretty good nominee, there is no way he wins over either Max Pacioretty or Joffrey Lupul. [SSS]
- Here is TSN doing a draftcentre preview for the Senators. They claim the pick might be moved, but that the Sens are in a good place with no urgent short term needs, and are free to pick the best player available. [TSN]
- Varada takes a stab at draft strategy postulating that it is better to take forwards in the first round, but more defensemen overall, because they are harder to predict and take longer to develop. Considering the large number of solid d-men available in the first half of the first round, and the lack of young stud d-men prospects, hard to see the Sens passing up on a Morgan Reilly or a Matt Finn. [WTYKY]
- Another option of course is to trade the pick, which could include moving up, down or for a player available right now. What do you think the Senators could get for #15? [Panzeri]
- Some Erik Karlsson news here, sounds like while attending the NHL awards in Las Vegas, Bryan Murray is hoping to get serious about contract discussions with his best player. No word on whether he's hoping to capitalize on Erik not winning the Norris or whether he will get giddy that he does win and give him a blank cheque. [SensExtra]
- As for Karlsson himself, he doesn't think there will be a Drew Doughty holdout in his future. He is supremely confident that a deal will get done, he wants to stay here and the Senators obviously need him. [SensExtra]
- Now a s story you will all love-- Alex Kovalev would like to return to the NHL and play for the Montreal Canadiens, and says signing with the Senators was a huge mistake. That will surely endear him further to our faithful fans. [Stubbs]