PLYMOUTH, Mich. — Craig Anderson wants to remain with the Ottawa Senators — provided an offseason of turmoil is behind them.
“If everything going on this summer gets cleaned up, I’ve got no interest in going anywhere else,” the 37-year-old goalie said Sunday at the Stars & Stripes Showdown when asked about an offseason report that he had requested a trade from the Senators. “I’m too old for drama.
“I love Ottawa — I’ve been there for eight years now and that’s my home — but I don’t want anything to do with drama.”
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There has been plenty around the Senators this offseason.
On June 19, forward Mike Hoffman was traded to the San Jose Sharks, who sent him to the Florida Panthers the same day. The trade came one week after a report by the Ottawa Citizen claimed Melinda Karlsson, the wife of Senators defenseman Erik Karlsson, had filed an application for a peace bond against Hoffman’s girlfriend, Monika Caryk, alleging harassment and cyberbullying that occurred last season and continued after the Karlssons’ son, Axel, was stillborn.
On July 1, general manager Pierre Dorion said the Senators had offered Karlsson, who can become an unrestricted free agent July 1, 2019, a contract extension. Two days later, Sportsnet reported Karlsson had been given permission to seek an extension with another NHL team as part of a sign-and-trade agreement. Karlsson remains with the Senators, but Sportsnet reported Friday that trade talks surrounding the two-time Norris Trophy winner had heated up.
All this after Anderson’s wife, Nicholle, who is recovered from throat cancer, lived in Florida the past two seasons with their kids.
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Anderson, whose contract runs through the 2019-20 season, said he hasn’t spoken to Karlsson this offseason, focusing instead on his family.
“We’ve been in Florida and I’ve pretty much stayed away,” said Anderson, who went 23-25-6 with a 3.32 goals-against average and .898 save percentage last season for the Senators, who finished with the second-worst record in the NHL (28-43-11, 67 points) one season after reaching the Eastern Conference Final. “I’ve got two kids with three activity sports each, and they just started school two weeks ago, so it has been one of the times where it is nice to get away from everything.”
He was sure to get to the Stars & Stripes Showdown on Sunday, a charity game in honor of USA Hockey executive Jim Johannson, who died in January at 53.
“Whenever you played for USA Hockey, JJ was the point man, and whenever you needed anything, he took care of it,” Anderson said. “When we were asking to come to Plymouth to honor it, it was really a no-brainer for all of these guys.”
Anderson, who gave up four goals in his one period, got more out of the game than a good workout.
“For me, this is a good learning experience,” he said. “I’m going up against a lot of great scorers, and I’m able to watch them and keep track of what tricks they’ve got up their sleeves. That might help somewhere down the line.”