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Anderson Comes Full Circle

Monday, 07.23.2007 / 5:05 PM / 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

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STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 NYI 47 32 14 1 155 130 65
2 DET 48 28 11 9 144 123 65
3 TBL 49 30 15 4 158 131 64
4 MTL 46 30 13 3 126 108 63
5 PIT 47 27 12 8 143 120 62
6 NYR 45 27 14 4 135 110 58
7 WSH 47 24 14 9 140 124 57
8 BOS 48 25 16 7 126 121 57
9 FLA 45 20 15 10 111 127 50
10 OTT 46 19 18 9 126 128 47
11 TOR 48 22 23 3 142 150 47
12 PHI 49 20 22 7 134 149 47
13 CBJ 46 21 22 3 117 145 45
14 NJD 47 17 22 8 107 134 42
15 CAR 47 17 25 5 102 122 39
16 BUF 48 14 31 3 90 171 31

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
N. Bjugstad 45 16 13 -1 29
A. Ekblad 45 6 21 5 27
J. Huberdeau 42 8 17 1 25
J. Jokinen 44 4 21 -2 25
B. Boyes 43 10 11 2 21
J. Hayes 37 13 7 -1 20
S. Bergenheim 34 7 9 1 16
A. Barkov 34 5 9 -5 14
T. Fleischmann 38 5 8 9 13
V. Trocheck 28 4 9 6 13
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
R. Luongo 17 11 8 .920 2.43
A. Montoya 3 4 2 .891 2.96
 
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