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Craig Anderson takes leave of absence, Senators ‘uncertain’ of when he’ll return

The Ottawa Senators will have to go with a goaltending duo of Andrew Hammond and Chris Driedger as Craig Anderson left the team with no timeline for his return.

Craig Anderson is two days removed from his best performance of the season, but the Ottawa Senators have no idea when the 35-year-old veteran keeper will be suiting up next.

The Senators unexpectedly announced Thursday that Anderson has taken a leave of absence from the team “to attend to a personal matter at home,” and has been given the “support of the entire organization” to do so.

“While we are uncertain of how long Craig may be away, he will continue to have our support for as much time as is needed," Senators GM Pierre Dorion said in a release. "We will respect his privacy and will have no further comment at this time.”

Anderson has been solid yet unspectacular in his work this season and boasts a 4-1-0 record, 2.95 goals-against average and .903 save percentage through the first six games of the season. And while he early season numbers may leave something to be desired, he had a solid outing in his most recent appearance for the club. When he took the net against the Vancouver Canucks Tuesday night, Anderson posted a 22-save shutout for his first clean slate of the campaign.

With Anderson out of the lineup, starting duties will fall to 28-year-old Andrew Hammond, he of remarkable rookie season fame. However, since Hammond’s remarkable 2014-15 run, he has been unable to find the same form. 

During that 24-game stretch — over which time Hammond lost only three times and just once in regulation — Hammond posted a 1.79 GAA and .941 SP, but he stumbled with a 2.65 GAA and .914 SP in 24 outings during the 2015-16 season. He has only appeared in one game so far this season, a 5-0 drubbing at the hands of the Detroit Red Wings, and currently has a 5.00 GAA and ugly .800 SP.

With Hammond moving up the lineup due to Anderson’s unfortunate leave, the Senators announced that Chris Driedger has been called up from the AHL’s Binghamton Senators. Driedger, 22, has seen 55 total minutes of NHL action over the course of the past two seasons, making 21 saves without allowing a single goal over that span. However, he has never started, nor been the goaltender of record, in an NHL game.

Driedger had his first full taste of AHL action in 2015-16 and managed a 18-15-5 record, 2.83 GAA and .912 SP to go along with one shutout. Through two games in the AHL this season, Driedger has a 0.96 GAA, .961 SP and one shutout.

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