Craig Anderson, 41 years old, impresses for Sabres

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Craig Anderson, now 41, has a solid season for Buffalo Sabres. How does Anderson stack up against other goalies who starred in NHL history at the age of 40? (Getty Images)

The 2022-23 season was a time when the Buffalo Sabres felt optimistic about their roster for the first time since long. After the Jack Eichel story, the script was finally turned. Players such as Tage Thompson, Rasmus Dahlin and Owen Power seemed to point toward a bright future.

Although there were many positives, it seemed that their goaltending would be a problem in 2022-23. A duo of Eric Comrie, a goalie with just 28 games of NHL experience entering the year, paired with a past-his-prime veteran in Craig Anderson, didn’t inspire a ton of confidence. The former has had a difficult season, but the latter is enjoying one his best seasons for some time.

Anderson is 41 years old and is not only the NHL’s oldest goalie, but also one of the few in NHL history who still plays at his age. Anderson is still playing at his age. He has a 2.97 goals against (GAA) and a.912 save rate (SV%) through 11 games. The league’s average save percentage for 2021-22 was.907.

As mentioned, few goaltenders have been able to continue playing in the NHL at Anderson’s age, and even less have played as well as he has to this point. Listed below are the few who kept chugging along at a superb level despite being in their 40’s.

Dominik Hasek

2005-06

Dominik Hasek is widely regarded as one of the greatest goaltenders to have ever played the game. He has won six Vezina Trophies as well as two Hart Trophies as well as two Stanley Cup championships. Although his entire career was extraordinary, his greatest accomplishment was his ability to stay as good as he did late in his career. He was 41 years old when he put together a 2.09 GAA and a.925 SSV% with Detroit Red Wings in 2005-06. This resulted him finishing seventh in Vezina voting.

2006-07

At 42 years old, Hasek was back with the Red Wings and continued his exceptional play. He played in 56 games and had a 2.05 GAA. This was paired with a.913SV%, and a 38-11-6 record.

2007-08

Hasek’s NHL career would end with the 2007-08 season. His SV% dropped to.902, but his GAA was 2.14 and his record of 27-10-3. He is well-known for being one of the greatest ever to do it. If he had wanted, he could have played another few years.

Jacques Plante

1970-71

Jacques Plante, another goaltender regarded to be one of the most outstanding, is also a great choice. Plante won seven Vezinas and six Stanley Cups during his long career. Like Hasek, he had a very lengthy career that continued to be successful in his 40’s. He was 42 years old when he won the NHL’s GAA title at 1.88. His numbers are remarkable, and Ed Giacomin was the next highest at SV% with.922.

1971-72

Plante was 43 when he returned to the Maple Leafs for the next season, but in a more supporting role than Bernie Parent. Plante was solid again, with a 2.63 GAA and a 16-13-5 record in 34 games.

1972-73

Plante began to show his age in his last season at the NHL level, 1972-73. Before being traded to Boston Bruins, Plante had a 3.04 GAA with the Leafs and an 8-14-6 record.

He was able to defeat the Chicago Blackhawks in only his second Bruins game. He went on to play seven more regular season games with the B’s, posting a 7-1 record and a 2.00 GAA.

Johnny Bower

1964-65

Perhaps the best goalie in NHL history through his 40’s was Johnny Bower, who somehow was able to stretch out his career until the age of 45. His 40-year old season in 1964-65 saw him posting a 2.38 GAA with a.924SV%. For the Maple Leafs, he split his time equally with Terry Sawchuk.

1965-66

Bower’s brilliance continued the very next season at the age of 41, where, once again in time split with Sawchuk, he recorded a 2.25 GAA along with a .930 SV%, both of which were the best among all NHL goaltenders who appeared in 10 or more games.

1966-67

This is a season that remains ingrained in the minds of Leafs’ fans, as it remains the last season that their team won the Stanley Cup. Bower was 42 years old at the time and played a significant role in that. He compiled another 2.64 GAA with a.918SV%. Despite sharing the crease in the regular season, however, he appeared in just four playoff games to Sawchuk’s 10. He still performed admirably in the playoffs with a 1.63 GAA and a.957SV%.

1967-68

One would think that winning a Cup at his age would have been enough to see Bower sail off into the sunset, but that wasn’t the case, as he returned for yet another season with the Leafs at the age of 43. With Bruce Gamble, his new goaltending partner, he once again excelled with a 2.32 GAA as well as a.934 SSV%.

1968-69

It was remarkable that Bower returned in 1968-69 for another season, which would mark his final full NHL season. He was 43 years old and played a backup role for Gamble. However, he still managed a respectable 2.86 GAA and a.909SV% in 20 games. He returned to play in one game in 1969-1970 but was forced out by injuries to retire. He remains the second oldest goaltender to have ever played in an NHL game. Maurice Roberts was the only one who did so at 45.

Dwayne Roloson

While Dwayne Roloson doesn’t have the accolades of some other netminders on this list, he had himself a solid career with a great story, as he had to grind it out for several years in the American Hockey League before finally being given a legitimate chance in the NHL. He went on to play over 600 games at the NHL level, including a few seasons that came during his 40’s.

2009-10

Roloson signed a two year deal with New York Islanders at the age of 40. In 50 games, Roloson recorded a 3.00 GAA and a.907SV%. In a 4-3 overtime victory against the Maple Leafs, he stopped 58 shots to set a franchise record.

2010-11

Roloson, 41 years old, began the 2010-11 season as an Islander player. However, he was traded to the Tampa Bay Lightning in the early part of the year. He was enjoying another solid season with a 2.64 average and a.916SV%. After that, he played 34 games for the Bolts where he posted a 2.56 GAA as well as a.912SV%.

His solid season was coupled with a long playoff run in which the Bolts advanced into the Eastern Conference Final was enough to get him another one year contract for the 2011-12 campaign. He struggled tremendously in 40 games, compiling a 3.66 GAA, and a.886SV%. He had already announced his retirement after the season was over.

Gump Worsley

1970-71

Gump Worsley, 40 years old, was able to have a great 1970-71 season. He led the league in GAA and SV% in the same season. Worsley recorded a 2.50 GAA in 24 games with Minnesota North Stars. Worsley also had a.913 percentage SV%. However, Worsley was playing a back-up role to Cesare Meniago.

1971-72

While his backup role the season prior had many thinking Worsley’s best days were behind him, he proved in 1971-72 that wasn’t the case. He was still able to play in 34 games, even though Maniago was his backup. His 2.12 GAA and a.933SV% were impressive. That SV% trailed only Tony Esposito’s for the best in the league that season.

Worsley continued to play for the North Stars for two additional seasons but saw his numbers decline in each. Worsley announced his retirement after the 1973-74 season. This ended his Hall-of-Fame tenure.

Anderson will be adding his name in the history books

Anderson was a better goaltender than most of the others, but Anderson’s inclusion in their 2022-23 roster is a testament to how solid he has been. He isn’t receiving a ton of starts, but when he has gotten the call, he has given his Sabres team a chance to win.

What makes Anderson’s story all the more impressive is the fact that just two seasons prior, he was on the taxi squad for the Washington Capitals and made just four starts the entire year. Anderson’s brilliance and dedication are evident in his ability to see so little game action at 39. However, he has continued to be a top-notch NHL netminder two years later.

What Anderson’s intentions are regarding his playing career past this season remain unknown. Anderson is currently on a one year contract with a cap hit $1.5 million. This means that nothing is certain moving forward, even if it is his desire to play. It is possible that he will be able to maintain similar numbers in the 2022-23 campaign.

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