Final Grades: Goalies

DENVER - APRIL 18: Goalie Craig Anderson #41 of the Colorado Avalanche turns the puck away against the San Jose Sharks in Game Three of the Western Conference Quarterfinals during the 2010 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at the Pepsi Center on April 18, 2010 in Denver, Colorado. Anderson had 51 saves as the Avalanche defeated the Sharks 1-0 in overtime. (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)

Craig Anderson

#41 / Goalie / Colorado Avalanche

Height: 6-2

Weight: 180

Born: May 21, 1981 (28 years old)

Status: One year left on bargain $1,812,500 contract

Where would the 09-10 Avalanche have landed without Craig Anderson? Maybe not last in the West, but no way in Detroit hell they make the playoffs. We've been singing Andy's praises and lauding his performance all year, and he's deserved every flattering word anyone has uttered - and then some. He is the reason the Avs got off to a hot start and were quick to find confidence in their game. While other players eventually stepped up and enjoyed break out seasons, it was the magnificent play of Craig Anderson that made it all possible. Andy came into his own, established himself as a bona fide #1 goalie, and gave an entire fan base reason to believe again.

Quick season recap:

  • Signed July 1st 2009 as a Free Agent.
  • Had best October in club history by posting a 10-2-2 record while tying the NHL record for wins in October, all en route to being named the NHL's First Star for the month of October.
  • Named NHL second star of the week three times.
  • Set all sorts of franchise records including: Games Played (71), Starts (71), Minutes played (4,235), Shots Against (2,233), and Saves (2,047).
  • Set career highs in all those same categories, as well as the all important Wins (38) and Shutouts (7) columns.
  • Made his NHL playoff debut this season, and quickly left his mark on the record books by establishing an NHL post-season record by making 51 saves in regulation without surrendering a goal. Suck on that Jimmy Howard.
  • Made Greg Sherman look like a manager savant.
Grades and stats following the jump......


GP

MIN

W

L

OT

GA

GAA

S A

Saves

SV%

SO

First Half

34

2034

19

9

5

91

2.68

1,087

996

.916

3

Second Half

37

2,201

19

16

2

95

2.58

1,146

1,051

.917

4

Season

71

4,235

38

25

7

186

2.64

2,233

2,047

.917

7

NHL Rank

6th

3rd

7th

7th

14th

-

22nd

1st

1st

12th

3rd

Playoffs

6

366

2

4

-

16

2.62

239

223

.933

1

 

Andy definitely struggled after the Olympic break, (almost twice as many losses than the first half) as did the entire team. The general consensus seemed to be that he was a tad overworked and fatigued both mentally and physically. Sacco finally gave Andy a rest in the last few games of the season and that intelligent move resulted in Anderson entering the playoffs refreshed and as strong as ever. Look at that playoff save %. Sexy.

If Anderson's workload is managed just a little more prudently by both Sacco's sadistic goalie non-rotation, and a team in front of him that doesn't allow more shots on their netminder than all other goaltenders, then Andy's (and the Avs') success should be even greater next year.

Could Andy have done anything more this season? I don't know that he could have. He accomplished all he could, and more, with what he was dealt. In his inaugural season as a starter he was his team's best and most consistent player and he was the team's MVP. That being said, I feel like we have to leave some minuscule room for some improvement. Maybe a Vezina nomination next year? "A" is for Andy!

Mid-Season Grade: A                                                        

2010 FINAL GRADE

 A__small__medium

 

****************************************************************************************************************

 

54455_medium 


#31 / Goalie / Colorado Avalanche

Height: 6' 1"

Weight: 200 lbs

Born: September 18, 1982

Status: Unrestricted Free Agent


GP

MIN

W

L

OT

GA

GAA

S A

Saves

SV%

SO

First Half

10

459

4

3

1

17

2.22

232

215

.927

1

Second Half

5

269

1

2

1

15

3.35

154

139

.903

0

Season

15

728

5

5

2

32

2.64

386

354

.917

1

Playoffs

1

9

0

0

0

1

6.67

4

3

.750

0

 

Here's a fun fact for you: Budaj and Anderson posted identical save% and GAA. But while Anderson earned a bullet point list of grand feats, Budaj gets bullet points of mostly sad defeats. Poor Budaj.

  • He played in a career low 15 games. 
  • Only 11 of those 15 appearances were starts, and his last two starts were garbage minutes behind a patchwork of Lake Erie players so that a bunch of Avalanche players could rest. 
  • 4 of Budaj's other starts came after Anderson was injured against Florida and missed 4 games. Had Andy not been attacked by Ballard, Budaj wouldn't have played those games. Budaj went 2-2 in those games with a 1.25 GAA, .958 save%, and 1 shutout.
  • Applying some math to those previous two bullet points means that Sacco "chose" to go with Budaj only 5 times out of 82 games. Ouch.
  • He didn't play a game for over 2 months from January 8th to March 16th. 
  • Highlights: Posted a career high .917 save%. Boods also backed up Montreal Canadiens playoff hero Jaroslav Halak at the Vancouver Olympics. And last week he was named to Slovakia's team for the IIHF World Championship, where he lost his first game against the defending champ Russians, posting an impressive .939 save% and 2.04 GAA.

One game summed up Budaj's season in a nutshell for me: On December 2nd, 2009, Boots (or Boods, or not, if you're Mike) received a shootout loss at the hands of Florida after Craig Anderson got run by Keith Ballard with 42 seconds left in OT. The Avs lost the shootout and poor Budaj got tagged with the loss, even though he never statistically even faced a shot, made a save, or allowed a goal. Craig Anderson allowed 5 goals that game, and Budaj ended up with the loss. It sucks being a back up.

 

Budaj will be an Unrestricted Free Agent this summer and I have to believe he'll look for a chance at a starting job elsewhere. It's a bummer, because by all accounts he is a fantastic teammate, and oddly enough, an asset in shootouts because of his avid research on opposing goalies methods and tendencies. On the other hand, if Sacco isn't going to play his back up goalie, he may as well employ someone who is cheaper than Budaj's $1.25 mil, and put that excess cash into a winger. With the rise of Anderson, it just doesn't make sense for Budaj to stay. Peter "the OK" is a divisive player amongst fans, but I'll be sad to see him go. Good luck Budaj, wherever you may tread, and may Ned Flanders guide thee true. 

He gets an "A" for being classy concerning his role/treatment and for being a truly loyal teammate. His mistreatment and unfortunate game situations aside, his play just wasn't getting the requisite results. His numbers for the year are pretty average (C), and his play in most of his 2nd half starts was shaky and understandably inconsistent and rusty.

But I still believe in Peter Budaj.

Mid Season Grade: A-                               

   FINAL GRADE: 

 Bminus__small__medium

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