Last season, when the Ottawa Senators still had Brian Elliot and were struggling throughout the year, goaltending was a major weakness for the Sens. Robin Lehner was seen as the goalie of the future as he was playing incredibly well, leading his team a Calder Cup Championship. At the trade deadline, Craig Anderson was acquired in a swap for Elliot, and goaltending seemed more stable. Anderson was signed to a 4 year contract to keep the net stable for year. Then, last off-season, Alex Auld was signed as back-up depth and things seemed to be looking bright.
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Robin Lehner was to play in the AHL again for the year to improve and learn more. Anderson's play throughout the year was brilliant at times, and always held the team in the game. He went down in an odd accident, however, when he severed a tendon in his pinky finger attempting to cut frozen chicken. This led GM Brian Murray to go out and complete a trade for Ben Bishop, a St. Louis Blues prospect who was tearing up the AHL. Although unproven, Murray gave up a second round pick for the 6-7 goalie. The Blues didn't trading Bishop because they had 3 goalies ahead of him (Jaroslav Halak, former Sen Elliot, and Jake Allen). Lehner and Bishop stepped in for Anderson and played well, but only one could stay once Anderson returned. This was the beginning of a minor goalie controversy. Anderson played amazingly in the first round series loss to the New York Rangers, but now the decisions for the off-season start.
Many teams are looking for goaltending help and depth, and the Senators have it. Craig Anderson will surely be the number one goalie entering the season, while Robin Lehner and Ben Bishop will fight for the back up spot. Teams might target one of these two goaltenders, and the Senators could seek a top-6 forward in return. It will be interesting to see how trade talk develops, especially around draft day.
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