Anderson Done In Colorado: Avalanche Send Goalie To Ottawa for Brian Elliott

Austin SnowCorrespondent IIFebruary 18, 2011

DALLAS - SEPTEMBER 30:  Goaltender Craig Anderson #41 of the Colorado Avalanche at American Airlines Center on September 30, 2010 in Dallas, Texas.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

At some point, something had to happen. Mired in one of the worst seasons of not only his own career, but of any Avalanche goaltender, Craig Anderson seemed to have hit rock bottom.

Taking a leave of absence from the team last weekend only furthered that sentiment. On Friday morning, Greg Sherman pulled the trigger and sent Anderson to Canada's capital for fellow netminder Brian Elliott.

Avalanche fans certainly saw this one coming from a mile away, but even they are surprised at the suddenness of it. "Andy" was supposed to be the savior for this team in net. Last year, Anderson carried the Avalanche into the playoffs after a simply spectacular regular season. Expectations were certainly high this season.

Anderson's season has been marred by injuries and loss of confidence. One year removed from a 38-25-7 campaign, he has compiled an underwhelming 13-15-3 record, and his goals against average has ballooned to 3.28. While some blame can be placed on an incompetent defensive corps, Anderson's confidence has eroded away to the point where his presence in net seemed virtually nonexistent.

Enter Brian Elliott. Ottawa's goaltender is in a situation similar to Anderson's. After an impressive 2009-2010 season, he has underperformed this year. On a Senators team that ships players out at every UPS pickup, he was clearly prone to get mailed off.

At 25, Elliott is four years younger than Anderson and likely has more upside. He currently makes about half as much as Anderson ($850,000 vs. $1.8 million) and is a restricted free agent at the end of the season.

If anything, Avalanche fans should be happy their team got someone in return for the beleaguered Anderson instead of letting him walk at the end of the year. After the year he had, he most certainly was not going to be re-signed.

In what amounts to a "change of scenery" trade for both teams, it won't be known who came out on top until at least the end of the season. Neither team is trending toward the playoffs, so unless either team signs their respective newcomer to a new deal and they get hot again, it may be hard to ever tell.

What the Avalanche do have now is a young NHL-caliber goaltender, another nearly $1 million in salary-cap space, and the chance to stock up talent for the next 5-10 years.

This deal may be the first of many to come for the Avalanche.