41-year-old Craig Anderson isn’t ready for the retirement life just yet. Anderson and the Sabres have agreed to a one-year deal. General manager Kevyn Adams talked about the signing Thursday, saying Anderson means a lot to this team.
“You look at our young team, but especially our young D core, I do think it’s very important to have someone that there’s some stability in terms of the presence and what he brings and I think he had a big influence on that D core,so excited to have him back,” Adams said.
Having the veteran presence is big for the young guys, but it’s a two-way street. This team meant a lot to Anderson as well.
“It says a lot about Craig and his family and also how he feels about the coaching staff, the players, the organization because I don’t know if this time last year if he thought maybe this could be one year, but I think he had fun and he sees something special building,” Adams said. “And actually even said to me ‘in all my years of playing, and I don’t know if I’ve enjoyed myself more than I did last year so yeah we’re excited and now we’ll just keep working on what’s next.”
With Craig Anderson signing with the Sabres for at least one more year, it looks like half of the goaltender puzzle has come together. Now the question is, what will the Sabres do with the other goalie spot? Are they going to give it to Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen? Are they going to try to get a guy in free agency? That’s something that Kevyn Adams talked about with the media on Thursday and it seemed like they are trying to focus more on the future, not trying to focus on short term solutions.
“You look at some of the potential trade partners around the league or if you look at some of the goalies that could be on the market, they come at a high price,” Adams said. “Maybe right now for us that’s something we’re going to have conversations about, but may not be quite what we’re comfortable doing.”
That doesn’t mean they won’t make any moves this offseason. Adams made it clear there are still discussions as they prepare for the draft and free agency.
“We have to be in on every conversation. We have to be open to every possible scenario which we are.
Maybe they don’t bring in another goalie at all and go with Luukkonen as the second option. Adams appeared to still be high on the young goaltender despite his history with injuries.
“Really feel strongly that he’s going to be a very good goalie for us,” Adams said. “He showed when he came up last year that he was composed. He had a presence in net. He was giving us a chance to win hockey games just by being a stabilizing force back there in the N-H-L games, but he’s battled some injuries over the couple of years, you’d like to see him have some more games to this point, but we believe in him.:
The Sabres also have two prospects entering another year of college. Devon Levi and Erik Portillo. Adams seemed pretty high on both of those guys as potential future goaltenders with the Sabres so it looks like he is really dialed into the long term plan at goaltender and we might not see too many moves with that goalie position this offseason.