Mid-season report cards: Goalies

I think we all expected the entire roster to be either sitting in the Prinicipal's office (and not the smiley modern politically correct principal - No no, I'm talking about the old school wooden paddle wielding behind closed door disciplinarian) or at least on academic probation. But with the season already half gone, some players have obviously been doing their homework - and yes, I am prepared to keep the analogy rolling much longer than it probably should. Now, I'm sure everybody has their opinions on grades so let's have a healthy and feisty discussion.

We'll start with who the cornballs running Pepsi Center introduce on the jumbo screen as "The Guardians". 

                                                                         ~ GOALIES ~

                                                           #41 CRAIG ANDERSON


Through 41 games 34 2034 19 9 5 91 2.68 1087 996 .916 3


 Mid-Season Grade





Midseason Grade:  A

Joined Team: Signed as Free Agent July 1, 2009.

Mid-Season Highlights: Has already set career highs for games played and wins. More importantly, Anderson has claimed a #1 goalie position for the first time in his NHL career. Congrats.

Report: Our hero. Mr. Anderson had the best October of any Avalanche goalie ever, and even tied Manny Legace for the NHL record for most wins in the month of October (10-2-2). In doing so, he was honored as the NHL's 1st star for October. His play has cooled off some since then, but he remains a warrior in net and single-handedly keeps his team in every game despite being consistently and overwhelmingly outshot night in and night out (he's already faced more shots than in any previous season of his NHL career AND more shots than any other goal tender in the league on the season). His 2.68 GAA and .916 save% are both just about on par with last year's numbers, but not close to this October (2.04 and .939 respectively) or to his first two years with the Panthers where he posted amazing numbers. And despite Andy's numbers taking a dip since October, he gets the A for being his team's MVP and the means by which they are in every game. As a general assessment: Craig Anderson is THE reason why the Avalanche are where they are in the standings. He threw the team on his back right out of the gate and they have followed his lead to the top of the Northwest. Andy, we all owe you one.

Fun Fact: Bald men are sexy.

The Craig Anderson Drinking Game: Drink when Andy attempts a snow angel save. Drunk potential: Too rich for my blood. 

2009 Salary: $1,812,500 (Forget 'Black Friday', the hottest deal of the year was back on July 1st).

2010-2011 Status: Under contract with AVS. 

Outlook the rest of the way: Tough to say. This Avalanche team is enigmatic at best so any prediction could be the right one. One key to his continued success or possible failure may be that Anderson has already played more games than in any other season in the league, so his conditioning (both mental and physical) will be tested for sure. But he does boast a nice swagger and confidence we haven't seen in a unipron since St. Patty, which no doubt puts some swagger back in all us AVS fan's step as well. This leads me to believe that Andy will continue to heroically save his mate's asses well into April. No matter what, Andy's play has already made accountant Greg Sherman look like a freakin' genius. 


                                                                   #31 PETER BUDAJ


Through 41 games

10(7 starts)

459 4 3 1 17 2.22 232 215 .927 1


 Mid-Season Grade


Midseason Grade:  A-

Joined Team: Drafted by AVS in 2001 in 2nd round, 63rd overall.

Mid-Season Highlights: Moved into 4th place in franchise wins (85) and ranks 3rd in shutouts. Named to 2nd consecutive Slovakian Olympic team. Conquered H1N1 flu.

Report: It's really a tale of two mini-seasons with Budaj. He was his old unreliable self for the first part of the year while appearing RARELY due both to illness and the superb play of Craig Anderson. He went 1-1 and allowed 10 goals on 69 shots in his first 3 games (only 2 were starts). However, Budaj turned it on in December after Anderson got steam-rolled by Keith Ballard. Budaj went 3-2 in those 5 starts while posting a blazing 1.21 GAA and .962 save%, including dropping a big fat 35 save goose egg on St. Louis for Pearl Harbor Day. For such a nice fella Boots (or 'Boods' for David) really polarizes fans. I think it's the controversal mask. Overall, Budaj routinely boasts a good positional game, but this season he has greatly improved his rebound control and his ability to recover on a scramble or broken play. Budaj's grade is not in comparison to Andy, but rather based on his roll as a back up. If it weren't for his barely above par 4-3-1 record he would have gotten the A.

Fun Fact: His favorite player growing up was Patrick Roy.

The Peter Budaj Drinking Game: Drink when Budaj starts a game. Drunk potential: About one in six at best. 

2009 Salary: $1,250,000

2010-2011 Status: Unrestricted Free Agent. 

Outlook the rest of the way: Budaj (and most AVS fans) seems more comfortable in the back up roll. This is also the source of the frustration with Boots because he plays so well that many of us believers feel he would be a suitable starter, but when handed the reins Budaj has consistently failed to keep them. Regarldess, the Avalanche NEED Budaj to play, and play well. Coach Sacco has shown us that he won't often (meaning never) call on his back up when his #1 is healthy, but with Anderson already playing more games than at any other time in his NHL career, it makes sense that a break now and then might be prudent for our resident hero. This makes Budaj's play even more pivotal as the AVS jockey for playoff position through the coming months. Obviously, the plight of the Avalanche at season's end will not fall squarely on Budaj's shoulders, but his play is essential to the team's confidence up and down the ranks. And, he is in a contract year so it'll be interesting to see what the future holds for Peter Budaj.


Mid-Season Goalie Consensus: Finally heaven has shone Her light upon the Avalanche crease! This may be the first season since Roy retired that AVS' fans don't feel a violent rise in their blood pressure every time the opposition shoots the puck on net. Thank you Andy & Boots. All praise Jebus! is a fan community, allowing members to post their own thoughts and opinions on the Colorado Avalanche and hockey in general. These views and thoughts may not be shared by the editors of

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