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What should the Senators crease look like in three years?

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An analytical look at the Senators goalies over the next three years to try and forecast where Ottawa should be heading.

Robert Mayer-USA TODAY Sports

Goalies are voodoo, they are hard to analyze, they are hard to predict and they are very susceptible to huge variance within their performance.  Craig Anderson is an excellent example of this; in the shortened lockout season he was able to post an unsustainable .941 Sv% while this year he had a much more realistic .911.  This leads to the question, "What should the Senators' three year plan in the crease be?"  To start with that it is best to look at the current goalie depth.

Name

DOB

AGE

Last Team

GP

Sv%

Marcus Hogberg

1994-11-25

19

Allsvenskan / Mora

15

0.892

Francois Brassard

1994-01-31

20

Quebec Remparts

54

0.909

Chris Driedger

1994-05-18

20

Calgary Hitmen

50

0.918

 

The Senators have three goalies in the junior ranks; however, considering their young age it is very unlikely they will be in an NHL starter position in the next three years, given how long it takes goalies to develop.  I won't waste too much digital ink on these tenders, though I have my opinions based on historical outcomes.  I do not foresee any of them in Ottawa's crease in the next three years but of the three, Driedger looks the best.

Name

Sv%

GS

Shutouts

Shutout%

QS

QS%

RBS

RBS%

Bail Outs

BO%

Andrew Hammond

0.91

44

1

2.27%

25

56.82%

8

18.18%

2

4.55%

Nathan Lawson

0.908

28

0

0.00%

13

46.43%

5

17.86%

0

0.00%

 

In Binghamton the Senators had two main goalies start this year: Andrew Hammond (a prospect) and Nathan Lawson (a veteran AHL goalie).

Hammond is in his first full year of playing in the AHL after four years in the NCAA with some very positive numbers.  In one year he only started 44 games and the rule of thumb is you need about 3,000 shots against in order to properly analyze a goalie.  This means we can't say anything definitive on Hammond without more game time.  That being said, he posted an average Sv%, his Quality Starts were about average, he had a high number of Really Bad Starts while posting a few Bail Outs thanks to the team in front of him.

Lawson is currently a UFA and has been a career AHL goalie.  Over his time in the AHL he has posted a number of great years but never managed to get a chance in the NHL.  He did not post any spectacular numbers this year but my guess is that a large part of that is because of the small sample size of only starting 28 games.  Given his age I would think he would be a good member of Binghamton over the next year or two but I cannot see him as a starter up in Ottawa, ever.

Name

GP

SA

SV%

Craig Anderson

371

11,165

0.915

Robin Lehner

61

1,897

0.918

 

This brings us to our NHL goalies, Anderson and Lehner.

Anderson has played in the NHL since 2002 for a total of 371 games.  He has faced over 11,000 shots in his career posting a career save percentage of .915.  I am comfortable with saying he is an average goalie, and there is nothing detrimental to the team about that.  But what is concerning with Anderson is his age, he is currently 33 and goalies start to decline drastically at this stage of their careers.  He could always be an outlier but I am guessing this is unlikely.  In fact it might be possible we are already starting to see his decline.  Currently he is signed for 1 more year till the end of 2014/15.

Lehner is the Senators younger goalie and is currently an RFA.  His AHL numbers are excellent and he continuously showed improvement.  He has only faced 1,897 shots against in 61 games and has skated out with a .918 Sv%.  We cannot say with confidence how well he will do in his NHL career but it is likely he will also be an average goalie. It is necessary for Ottawa that Lehner stays in the organization and continue to develop so we can see how he will emerge after facing another 1,200 shots.

Given what we know about goalies and where the candidates currently sit in the organization, it's time we address the original question, "What should the Senators crease look like in 3 years?"

Anderson is starting to get old and past his prime.  It is imperative to not sign him to a long term deal.  He will be fine for another year or two but the organization needs to start looking to Lehner to take over (if, he is in fact an NHL caliber goalie).  In 3 years Hammond could be backing up Lehner but the organization needs to start supplementing their goalie depth either through trade (Petr Mrazek, Anthony Stolarz), or draft (Alex Nedeljkovic).  Goalies are easy enough to come by as their value is not as high as many people think.  Trading a low pick for a goalie prospect is an easy way to add depth.  And all these options should fit within Melnyk's budget.


 

[1] http://www.rawcharge.com/syracuse-crunch/2012/12/19/3781506/quality-starts-statistic-for-syracuse-crunch-goaltenders-dustin-tokarski-riku-helenius