Senators GM: Anderson ‘will be the goalie we protect’ in expansion draft

Senators GM Pierre Dorion can't discuss any questions about who he's protecting from the Vegas expansion draft, but makes it perfectly clear that Craig Anderson will be protected.

Ottawa Senators GM Pierre Dorion held the team’s season-ending press conference on Monday and he spoke about the team’s goalie situation heading into the expansion draft.

Each team must make at least one goalie available to Vegas who is either under contract for next season or is a qualified restricted free agent. Ottawa had a choice to either expose Andrew Hammond or Craig Anderson, both of whom have one season left on their deals. Dorion cleared up any question as to which of the two the team would protect.

“Craig Anderson will be the goalie we protect, no ifs ands or buts about it,” Dorion said.

Anderson, 36, is entering the final year of his contract that pays him $4.2 million against the salary cap. He won 25 games in 40 appearances this season, posting a .926 save percentage and 2.28 GAA for one of the best seasons of his career. In the playoffs, Anderson was stellar, posting a .922 save percentage to help lead the Senators to the Eastern Conference Final.

Dorion also said Anderson was playing through an injury in the playoffs “his back was in terrible shape during the Rangers series.”

This means the team will leave 29-year-old Andrew Hammond available to the Vegas Golden Knights. Hammond only played six NHL games this season, but was a key player in Ottawa’s charge to play playoffs in 2015, posting a .941 save percentage in 24 games. He went down to a season-ending injury in February.

Dorion didn’t elaborate on any other expansion draft decisions, saying he was meeting with scouts and coaches for the team later this week to discuss their options.

The team could still also sign and bring back UFA Mike Condon, who posted a .914 save percentage in 40 games, filling in for Anderson when he was away from the team. However, if they sign Condon before the expansion draft, they won’t be able to protect him from the Golden Knights.

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