Brandon Anderson sees the Capitals’ depth chart at goaltender and recognizes his climb to the NHL is impeded by names like Braden Holtby, Michal Neuvirth, Philipp Grubauer and David Leggio.
Today at Kettler the 21-year-old goaltender will start in goal for the Capitals’ 3 p.m. rookie game against the Philadelphia Flyers in hopes of providing a new opinion on him.
Signed to a three-year, entry-level contract two summers ago as a free agent, Anderson is coming off a disappointing season with the Reading Royals of the ECHL, which ended with him missing the final three months with a high ankle sprain and the Royals winning the Kelly Cup.
“It was a tough setback for me,” Anderson, 21, said. “It’s part of the game and I’m looking to bounce back.”
Before the injury, which occurred when he fell awkwardly during a pre-game skate in February, Anderson had an 8-6-1 record with a less than flattering 3.18 goals-against average and .876 save percentage.
Those numbers did not help his cause in an organization that has three goaltenders 25 or younger ahead of him. Holtby and Neuvirth are locks to start the season with the Capitals, while Grubauer, 21, and Leggio, 29, are expected to share time in Hershey.
“I’m still young and we’ll see where it goes,” said Anderson, entering the final year of his contract. “Reading should be a good team. We won the Cup. I learned a lot in my first year pro. It’s a huge step from junior, but it was a good experience.”
Anderson anticipates being the starting goalie in Reading this year, with hopes of getting to Hershey at some point.
“I want to have a good camp,” he said. “Injuries happen all the time in this game and if you’re playing well I’m sure you’ll get your fair chance.”
Here’s an anticipated lineup for the Caps’ rookies today:
Andre Burakovsky – Chandler Stephenson – Tom Wilson
Boston Leier – Justin Larson – Zach Harnden
Chance Braid – Taylor Stefishen – Blake Gal
J.T. Foster – Nathan Walker – Domenic Monardo
Michal Cajkovsky – Connor Carrick
Nate Schmidt – Patrick Wey
Jaynen Rissling – Madison Bowey