Weekly Question: Best Goalie in Senators History
Today's Weekly Question looks at Ottawa's goaltending history.
30 goalies have suited up for the Ottawa Senators since 1992. 20 have played more than 10 games between the pipes for Sens. But only a handful of those have had stretches which could be defined as "good". Today's Weekly Question asks: which goalie is the best in franchise history?
Patrick Lalime (1999-2004)
Lalime began the 1999-2000 season in the NHL with the Senators, as the backup to Ron Tugnutt. Given the starting job in 2000-2001, he ran with the position, recording a 2.35 GAA, a 91.4 save percentage and went 36-19-5. Lalime started for the Sens in the playoffs in the second Battle of Ontario series, recording a 2.39 GAA and an 89.9 save percentage. Lalime improved on that playoff experience the following season, when the underdog Senators beat the Philadelphia Flyers in 5 games. Lalime was almost unbeatable, losing only game one by a score of 1-0 in OT and giving up just two goals in the entire series. He recorded three straight shutouts and had a 98.5 save percentage in the series. He tied an NHL record in game one of Ottawa's second round series against Toronto with his fourth shutout of the playoffs, a 5-0 win. He led all goalies in the playoffs with a 94.6 save percentage and 1.39 goals against average in 12 games. Lalime had his greatest success the following year, during Ottawa's Presidents' Trophy-winning season. He won 39 games during the regular season and helped the Senators advance to the third round of the Eastern Conference Finals. He finished the playoffs with a 92.4 save percentage and a 1.82 goals against average. His final season in Ottawa was 2003-2004 and it was defined by his poor playoff performance against the Leafs in the final Battle of Ontario. In the seven-game series, Lalime gave up the first goal in every game. Despite Ottawa winning the Corsi battle, Lalime gave up two soft goals to Leaf forward Joe Nieuwendyk in the first period of game seven, effectively sealing the team's fate. When the Senators signed Dominik Hasek in 2004, Lalime was traded to the St. Louis Blues for a conditional fourth round pick in 2005. He is still the franchise leader for goalies in games played (283), wins (146), losses (100), goals against (637), shots against (6,920), saves (6,283), goals against average (2.32), shutouts (30), and minutes (16,495). Basically everything.
Craig Anderson (2011-present)
On February 18, 2011 Anderson was traded to the Ottawa Senators for struggling goaltender Brian Elliott in one of the most lopsided trades in Sens history. In his first start as a Senator, Anderson recorded a 47-save shutout against the rival Maple Leafs. His strong play early in his Sens career earned him a 4-year contract extension a month after the trade. His time in Ottawa has been hampered by two injuries: in 2012, he injured his right hand cooking and in 2013 he suffered a sprained ankle. In 2013, he set a regular-season save percentage record (.941 SV %). While he had a down season in 2013-2014, Anderson is quickly climbing the Sens all-time leader board. He ranks fourth in games played (158), second in wins with (81), and first in save percentage with 92.0 SV%.
Ron Tugnutt (1996-2000)
Tugnutt joined the Senators from the Portland Pirates of the AHL. He beat out Mike Bales for the back-up position and then split time with Damian Rhodes, before securing the starting position. Tugnutt had an excellent season in 1998-1999, leading the league with a 1.79 GAA and had a 92.5save percentage, good for second in the league. His strong play led to his selection to the 1999 NHL All-Star Game. He was traded to Pittsburgh by Ottawa (along with Janne Laukkanen) for Tom Barrasso in March, 2000. Tugnutt is still third in games played by a Sens goalie (166), third in wins (72), fifth in save percentage (90.6), and second in goals against average (2.32).
Dominik Hasek (2005-2006)
On July 6, 2004 Hasek signed as a free agent with the Senators. The lockout wiped out the entirety of the 2004-05 season and Ottawa exercised a contract option in the summer of 2005. Hasek played well for the Sens during the 2005-06 season, but was injured 10 minutes into his first game at the 2006 Olympics. He injured his right abductor muscle and missed the rest of the regular season and playoffs, ending his time in the capital. Despite playing in just 43 games for the Senators, Hasek recorded 28 wins (good enough for eighth all-time by a Senators goalie), and had a 2.09 goals against average and a 92.5 save percentage. He's currently tied for seventh in shutouts with Jani Hurme (5). One of the better single season performances for a Senators goalie.
Ray Emery (2003-2008)
While Emery's time in Ottawa was filled with controversy, he helped lead the Sens to a berth in the Stanley Cup Finals. He had the luxury of playing behind some of the best teams Ottawa has iced, but at times was a key player on those Sens teams. Emery currently ranks fifth all-time in games played (134), fourth in wins (71), tied for third in save percentage (90.7, shared with Martin Gerber), and fifth in goals against average (2.71).
Brian Elliott (2007-2011)
Elliott was drafted 291st overall by the Ottawa Senators in 2003. He spent four seasons at the University of Wisconsin, where he was a finalist for the Hobey Baker Award and led the Badgers to the 2006 NCAA National Championship. He spent parts of four seasons with the Sens, as both the starter and the back-up. His inconsistent play led to Ottawa trading him to the Colorado Avalanche for Craig Anderson in 2011. Elliott had the misfortune to backstop some truly terrible Sens teams with some less than stellar goaltending partners (Martin Gerber, Pascal Leclaire). Still, he made his mark while with the Sens; ranking sixth in games played (130), sixth in wins (59), sixth in save percentage (90.2), seventh in goals against average (2.81), fifth in shutouts (9).
The best goalie in Senators history is
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