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Anderson Comes Full Circle

Monday, 07.23.2007 / 5:05 PM ET / News
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Anderson Comes Full Circle
By Dave Joseph for floridapanthers.com

One step back, two steps forward.

That’s how Panther goalie Craig Anderson looks back on his 2006-07 season. No bitterness. No regrets. And for the fact he went in one week last summer from possibly being the Panthers’ No. 2 man in goal to spending his season in the minors?

“It was a positive experience in every possible way.”

Anderson, who signed a two-year deal in June and will serve as backup come the 2007-08 season to Tomas Vokoun, has traveled a long, winding road the past two seasons. But the 6-2 goalie has finally landed on solid ground and in a stable situation.

“I think everyone is more comfortable,” Anderson, 26, said.

Anderson was acquired by the Panthers last July after a whirlwind 2005-06 season in which, along with playing 29 games for the Blackhawks, he was claimed off waivers in the span of 11 days by both the Bruins and Blues.

But just seven days after arriving in South Florida to seemingly serve behind Alex Auld, the Panthers signed Ed Belfour. Suddenly, Anderson was the odd man out. That meant a season playing for the Panthers’ American Hockey League affiliate in Rochester.

In retrospect, Anderson understands why the Panthers had uncertainty in goal last summer.

“I think part of it was both Alex and I were young,” Anderson recalled. “Alex had played around 60 games (67) in Vancouver (in 2005-06). I spent most of the year in Chicago as a backup but went through waivers a few times. I think (the Panthers) were covering their own assets. I think they were making sure they had the right combination in case there was an injury. They were just kind of covering their bases.”

Anderson didn’t sulk about being sent to Rochester. In fact, he wound up helping the Americans to the playoffs with a 23-10 record, a 2.21 goals against and .931 save percentage. When asked about his time in Rochester, Anderson replied; “In terms of development, it was a small step backward to take a big step forward.”

“Sometimes you have to take a step back in this game in order to progress,” said the Park Ridge, IlL., native. “I think going down there (in Rochester), taking it with a positive attitude, and playing a lot and kind of being a leader on the team and helping to bring along the young guys helped with my development.

“I don’t think I would have benefited as much staying (with the Panthers) and playing 15 games. The best thing for me was to go down and be the guy everyone counted on to get confidence and realize I can do anything, pretty much.”

Anderson, who was called up by the Panthers Feb. 19, played in only five games. But it was enough to show GM and coach Jacques Martin he belonged.
   
“Craig played very well in his backup role for our club during the later part of last season,” Martin said. “He is a diligent, focused and high character player who works hard to stay prepared night in and night out. We are confident both Craig and Tomas Vokoun will work well together and bring success to the organization.”

SCHEDULE

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 p - WSH 82 56 18 8 252 193 120
2 x - PIT 82 48 26 8 245 203 104
3 y - FLA 82 47 26 9 239 203 103
4 x - NYR 82 46 27 9 236 217 101
5 x - NYI 82 45 27 10 232 216 100
6 x - TBL 82 46 31 5 227 201 97
7 x - PHI 82 41 27 14 214 218 96
8 x - DET 82 41 30 11 211 224 93
9 BOS 82 42 31 9 240 230 93
10 CAR 82 35 31 16 198 226 86
11 OTT 82 38 35 9 236 247 85
12 NJD 82 38 36 8 184 208 84
13 MTL 82 38 38 6 221 236 82
14 BUF 82 35 36 11 201 222 81
15 CBJ 82 34 40 8 219 252 76
16 TOR 82 29 42 11 198 246 69

STATS

2015-2016 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Jagr 79 27 39 23 66
J. Jokinen 81 18 42 25 60
A. Barkov 66 28 31 18 59
J. Huberdeau 76 20 39 17 59
V. Trocheck 76 25 28 15 53
R. Smith 82 25 25 19 50
A. Ekblad 78 15 21 18 36
N. Bjugstad 67 15 19 -8 34
B. Campbell 82 6 25 31 31
B. Pirri 52 11 13 -4 24
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
R. Luongo 35 19 6 .922 2.35
A. Montoya 12 7 3 .919 2.18

 
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