Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Capitals Sign Brandon Anderson

photo by Bridget Samuels (bridgetds/Flickr)

Just three days after being cut from training camp and returning to his team in Lethbridge, the Capitals announced today that goaltender Brandon Anderson has been signed to a three-year entry-level contract.  Anderson was undrafted and came into camp as a free agent.

Last year, Anderson was a step away from being sent down to the Junior A league, sitting as the third string in Lethbridge, having played just 5 games in 2008-09.  However, two injuries in 2009-10 meant that he got his chance to play for 37 games.  Despite his own lingering injury, he proved to Lethbridge coaches that he deserved the position of No. 1 goaltender this year.  He's expected to start in Lethbridge's season opener this Friday, and apparently, Anderson also proved his potential to Capitals management this past week.

Despite his youth and inexperience, Anderson showed promise during rookie camp.  He played half of the rookie game against the Philadelphia Flyers, and held the Flyers without a goal against him in the second period.  He let in two goals late in the third, but still played well against a Flyers rookie team with much more experience in the CHL and AHL.  After rookie camp, Anderson was invited to stay for training camp.  He participated in a practice with Group A on Saturday, but was returned to Lethbridge on Sunday.

Coach Bruce Boudreau indicated that Anderson improved during the camp, and that's no surprise.  Anderson had the chance to work with goaltending coach Arturs Irbe, a former NHL goaltender himself as well as an IIHF Hall-of-Famer.  In an interview with a local Lethbridge paper, Anderson said that he learned a lot from working with Irbe, and plans to continue to work on things Irbe discussed with him. 

Anderson said that he was disappointed when he wasn't drafted, but is obviously thrilled to have the Capitals offer him a contract:
"Not getting drafted was a bit of a bummer.  But then getting the invite to the Capitals camp there and you know, I guess I made the most of my opportunity and I thought I played well there."
His coaches are also happy with the outcome of camp.  Lethbridge Head Coach Rich Preston says that the signing gives them even more confidence in Anderson's abilities, and they were excited to see him signed to an NHL contract as an 18-year-old free agent - a rarity in the CHL.

Anderson's growing confidence is already evident.  All he said about stopping shots from stars like Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom was that it was "pretty tough."

Other news and notes:
  • Tom Poti was signed to a two-year $5.75 million contract extension today.  Poti had been signed through the end of the 2010-11 season, and the new contract now has him signed through the 2012-13 season.
  • Several cuts were made after today's training camp.  David de Kastrozza, Anton Gustafsson, Jake Hauswirth, Nikita Kashirsky, Dmitry Kugryshev, Ashton Rome, Patrick Cullity, Joe Finley and Todd Ford were assigned to Hershey training camp, which begins this weekend.  Samuel Carrier, Brett Flemming, Stanislav Galiev, Philipp Grubauer, and Garrett Mitchell were returned to their CHL teams.
  • The Capitals roster for the preseason game against the Columbus Blue Jackets has been released.  Cody Eakin, Andrew Gordon, Marcus Johansson, and Mathieu Perreault are among those seeing action tomorrow night.
  • Group A (featuring the top line of Alex Ovechkin, Nicklas Backstrom, and Mike Knuble) came away with the Duchesne Cup today.  All three groups were 1-1, but Group A scored the most goals over all games, and thus were crowned the winners.

P.S. Told ya to keep your eye on Anderson.

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