OTTAWA — At the end of the day Craig Anderson just wanted to stay in Ottawa.
The Senators goaltender agreed to a two-year, US$9.5 million contract extension Friday morning that will pay him $5.5 million in 2018-19 and $4 million in 2019-20.
The 36-year-old was set to become an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season and could have explored his options, but made it clear his preference was to remain in Ottawa and the two sides were able to come to an agreement.
"It’s been a great home for me in Ottawa and I’m really looking forward to playing (the contract out)," Anderson said. "I want to continue to contribute to the team and the organization. I’m just really ecstatic to be able to be a part of this group, be a part of this team."
Anderson said he and his wife, Nicholle, talked about his contract situation over the summer and agreed the best thing would be to remain in Ottawa.
When Nicholle was diagnosed with a rare form of throat cancer last season, the organization gave Anderson all the support he needed both on and off the ice allowing the young family to be together during its time of need. It meant a lot to both, but also allowed Anderson to realize how much passion he still had for the game.
"When I came back and just realized how much fun the game was and how much I missed it I knew that I wanted to push hard and continue to push my abilities to continue to get better and improve.
"This has been home for me since I got here. Ottawa’s pretty much the reason why my career has expanded and taken the road it’s been on is because of what (former GM) Bryan Murray did for me to get me from Colorado to here."
By the end of the contract Anderson will be 39, but Senators general manager Pierre Dorion had no hesitation extending Anderson.
"(Anderson’s) biggest asset is his mindset," Dorion said. "For us we didn’t’ see (his age) as a hindrance and at the same time he became a number one goalie much later than a lot of other guys in the league so you put those two factors in and term wasn’t even an issue for us."
Acquired from Colorado in February 2011, Anderson brought stability to the Senators crease as he developed into a bona fide number-one goaltender.
With Mike Condon, who was spectacular in Anderson’s absence last season, under contract for the next three years as well, the Senators have to feel good about their depth in goal.
"We feel we have one of the best tandems in the league and having both under contract now for the next three years is one of our strengths," said Dorion.
While Dorion was happy to get the deal done, head coach Guy Boucher was almost giddy.
"That’s as positive as you can have it," said Boucher. "It’s outstanding. Everybody knows it starts with your goaltender and we know how good he is so it will definitely make us very competitive for the next years and we had a really good performance last year from him."
In addition to the news about Anderson, Boucher was excited to see Derick Brassard get clearance to take contact.
Taking contact is a huge step forward for the Senators centre who is recovering from right shoulder surgery. Brassard said the plan is to take more physical contact in practice and see how he reacts before a decision is made on whether or not he can play in next Thursday’s season opener.
"This is just another step in the right direction and the next step is to be cleared to play," Brassard said.
The Senators wrap up its pre-season with a game against the Montreal Canadiens Saturday night.