Ottawa-Colorado trade

One of the more baffling NHL trades to me in recent memory was the Avalanche dumping goalie Craig Anderson— he of the 38 wins, 7 shutouts, 2 playoff wins and 933 playoff SV% last season vs. a powerhouse Sharks team (including a 51-save shutout in Game 3); he even wound up 9th in Hart Trophy voting (based on a single first place vote)– on the Ottawa Senators in exchange for underwhelming goalie Brian Elliott and….nothing.

True, Anderson was bad this season– his .897 SV% was a full .02 lower than last season– but Elliott was even worse at .894% (even Pascal “Pascal Leclaire is not made of glass, glass is made of Pascal Leclaire” Leclaire was at .908 for the same awful Senators team).

The trade looks even worse now, as Anderson has been ridiculous in Ottawa, whereas Elliott has totally imploded for Colorado:

Anderson OTT 8-4, .945%, 1.84 GAA, 2 ShO
Elliott COL 2-5-1, .890%, 3.73 GAA, 0 ShO

Obviously no one is a .945% goalie (Hasek’s Hart seasons were .930% and .932%, and his best ever was .937%– oddly, the season after, when Jaromir Jagr won the Hart), nor is anyone– except maybe Vesa Toskala– an .890% goalie. Still, why dump Anderson with only Elliott as return? Why make an unwinnable trade that Avs bloggers are writing off as “the best possible return for a player that was going to be moved regardless” for a player considered a Peter Budaj clone? The Copper and Blue expressed my opinion best:

I think this trade makes a great deal of sense for Ottawa and not much sense at all for the Avalanche. Over the last four seasons, Craig Anderson has posted a .926 save EV save percentage over 3,858 shots and an .882 PK save percentage over 940 shots, an indication that Anderson is a very good goaltender…It is of course possible that Elliott turns into a decent goaltender (I don’t think it’s likely), and it seems the Avs had already decided that Anderson wasn’t in the plans, so it’s not as though this is a big loss for them. It’s just that they didn’t really get anything.

How bad will this trade be long term?

Anderson’s career numbers, pre-trade (age 29): 2.85 GAA, .910 SV% in 11,862 minutes, $1,812,500 cap hit, UFA next season

Elliott’s career numbers, pre-trade (age 25): 2.80 GAA, .902 SV% in 7,058 minutes, $850K cap hit, RFA next season

Elliott had only been a Senator since his NHL debut at 22, but Anderson had played for two teams before signing with the Avs as a free agent before last season:

as a Blackhawk (ages 21-24): 3.19 GAA, .892 SV% in 3,029 minutes
as a Panther (ages 25-27): 2.52 GAA, .928 SV% in 2,788 minutes
as an Av (ages 28-29): 2.85 GAA, .911 SV% in 6,045 minutes

Anderson may never top his seasons as Tomas Vokoun’s backup in Florida, nor will he be as bad as the Blackhawks goalie who shared a crease with Michael Leighton, Steve Passmore, and Adam Munro. His Avs numbers almost exactly match his career numbers, and should be about what to expect of him as a Senator once he cools off.

He will be a Senator, because Ottawa GM Bryan Murray wrapped him up for 4 more seasons at $12.75M– an unwarranted and unnecessary move, especially with prospect Robin Lehner waiting in the AHL.

The Avalanche, on the other hand, have Calvin Pickard…who was born two weeks before the LA riots and won’t be ready for a few more seasons, if ever. Either Budaj or Elliott will get out of Denver after this season, so who knows who the next Avs number one goalie will be– not that even a healthy Avs team will be contenders in 2011-2012.

Colorado won’t win this trade no matter what, but that doesn’t mean Ottawa will win either. Of course, when your best goalie ever is 2,583 minutes’ worth of Dominik Hasek (who else– Lalime? Tugnutt? Emery?), it won’t take much to feel like a win for Ottawa.

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One Response to “Ottawa-Colorado trade”

  1. […] March 27, 2011: [W]hy dump Anderson with only Elliott as return? Why make an unwinnable trade that Avs bloggers are writing off as “the best possible return for a player that was going to be moved regardless” for a player considered a Peter Budaj clone? […]

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