Welcome back for part three of the Ottawa Senators 2016-17 season report cards. On Monday, we took a look at the grades for the forwards. Yesterday, the defensemen were under the microscope. Today we turn our attention to the goalies.
The goalie position was something of a roller coaster for the Senators this year: Craig Anderson had to leave the team part way through the year to be with his wife, Nicholle, while she sought treatment for cancer. Meanwhile, the presumed back-up at the start of the year, Andrew Hammond, injured himself in nearly every way imaginable. And that’s how we arrived in a situation where Mike Condon played 40 games for the Sens during the regular season, including a franchise record 27 consecutive starts at one point. Nonetheless, the team as a whole posted a .916 SV% in the regular season and received mostly stellar goalie play from Anderson in the play-offs. It was a strange year, but in terms of performance it was mostly a good year for the team’s last line of defense.
Craig Anderson: A
Reader Grade: A
It’s difficult to relegate our evaluation to on-ice play when there was clearly so much going on for Craig and his family this past year, but Anderson was great when he played. His all-situations .926 SV% was third, and his .941 SV% at even strength was first among all goalies that played at least 25 games. In fact, if Anderson had played a full season’s worth of games, he might have a reasonable case for the Vezina. His performance didn’t drop off in the play-offs either, his .922 all-situations SV% and his stellar play in the final games of the Pittsburgh series were exemplary.
All of this, of course, is before we even discuss the unthinkable difficulties he and his family faced with Nicholle’s cancer. Beyond the numbers, Anderson and his wife were an inspiration to their teammates, the community and the hockey world at large. I expect he will be the Masterton Trophy winner, and it will be well-deserved.
Mike Condon: B+
Reader Grade: A-
A great topic of debate among Sens in the weeks ahead will be: is Mike Condon for real? Our good friend Arpon Basu certainly thinks so:
Mike Condon is no fluke. This looks real.— Аrpon Basu (@ArponBasu) November 12, 2015
Truthfully, Condon played spectacularly at times but he was also quite poor in several games. It all came out in the wash to the tune of a .914 SV% in all situations, and .915 SV% at even strength — 26th and 41st respectively among goalies with at least 25 games played. In sum, Condon played like a serviceable back-up.
The story of Condon’s season, though, isn’t especially about how he played but when he played. When Craig Anderson needed time to be with his family, Condon was able to fill the gap admirably. Was he a dominating force? No. Does his play alone merit a return next year? Maybe not. But his mere presence gave the Sens the ability to let a man be with this wife when she needed him the most. That’s a very important, human, thing.
Andrew Hammond: D
Reader Grade: D+
I’m not sure it’s fair to give Hammond a grade besides “Incomplete” given that he was beset by injuries but a grade we must give. Simply put, Hammond was not good in the very limited time he played. There’s not really much else to say about his season: he was injured basically all year, and when he did play he played poorly.
Whether or not the Sens trust him to be a) healthy and/or b) productive will go a long way to determining what they should do with Condon this off-season. I don’t envy Pierre Dorion’s decision on this one, because there just isn’t a lot of data to work with.
Not included: Chris Driedger (1 GP)