When news broke last Thursday that starting goalie Craig Anderson injured his hand, Sens fans must have thought, here we go again. As more information became available, the picture didn’t seem to clear up. Some reports had Anderson out for up to eight weeks, while others reported he could be back on the ice within a week or two.
Now, if this injury happens last month, or in the summer, Ottawa could weather the storm. But with 20 games to go to the playoffs, and Ottawa currently holding down the seventh spot in the Eastern Conference, Sens GM Bryan Murray had to look at his options.
First they called up Robin Lehner from their AHL affiliate, Binghamtom. Alex Auld, the backup all season, was given a chance to be the number one. Both could still become the one to get the majority of the minutes, but after Auld had an average performance against the Boston Bruins Saturday evening, Murray decided the time was now to act. He also had to be concerned with either Auld or Lehner getting injured themselves. And Sunday morning, he made a move that even a few weeks ago he couldn’t possibly have seen.
Ottawa gave up it’s 2013 second pick ( as their 2012 second rounder was moved in the Kyle Turris trade ) in a move to acquire Ben Bishop from the St Louis Blues. Bishop is a 25 year keeper who has played mostly in the AHL. This season he was an all star with Peoria, winning 24 games with a 2.26 GAA and a .928 save percentage. Many observers feel he is more than ready to be an every day NHL’er. He is signed through the end of next season.
“I’m very excited. I couldn’t be more happy, especially to go to a team like Ottawa, with a great history and the fan support they have there.” Bishop told the Ottawa Sun.
Where does he fit at this point with the Senators? He is five years older than Lehner, and seemingly is ready for the NHL. Lehner feels he to is ready for Ottawa, but management may think he needs more time. But this move isn’t about the young Swede, it is about the organization needing depth. With Anderson down, the Sens felt the the need to add some insurance in case another goalie is injured. And they have brought in a player that can step in right now without costing the organization pieces towards their rebuild.
“We had talked about a depth goaltender,” GM Bryan Murray told reporters Sunday afternoon. ” Ben has been a five year pro and has had a real growth in his game over the last couple of years. We felt given a chance to get a guy, we didn’t want to get a rental.”
Ottawa has to be more than pleased in adding Bishop. And their fans, fearing another Dominik Hasek, can breathe a little easier.