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Craig Anderson was one of the top goalies of 2009-10 while with Colorado, and is an unrestricted free agent this summer. ((Andy King/Associated Press) )

The Ottawa Senators and Colorado Avalanche have exchanged American goaltenders in a trade on Friday, according to reports.

Brian Elliott heads for Colorado, with Craig Anderson coming to the Senators.

"I didn't think our goaltending was good enough going forward," Ottawa general manager Bryan Murray said at a press conference.

"The good thing about it is we get a chance for 20-something games to look and watch [Anderson] and, during that time period, I would think that we'll have discussions and we'll see where we want to be and where he wants to be."

Elliott joins Mike Fisher, Chris Kelly and Jarkko Ruutu in the exodus out of Ottawa during a disappointing season and a current stretch of 18 losses in 20 outings.

Both netminders have struggled after enjoying terrific 2009-10 campaigns.

Anderson, who turns 30 in May, was the primary reason Colorado made it back to the playoffs last season, racking up seven shutouts in 71 games with a 2.63 goals-against average. He has no shutouts in 31 starts this season, and his average has ballooned to 3.28.

Free agent July 1

The Park Ridge, Ill., native is an unrestricted free agent come July 1. He is earning just over $2.1 million US this season.

Murray said Anderson was excited by the deal and was expected to arrive to be backup for Friday's home game against Boston.

Elliott, who turns 26 in April, has put together several winning streaks in his three seasons with Ottawa, but like the team, has struggled this season. His save percentage has dropped to .894, with an average of 3.19.

He has compiled nine shutouts in 130 career games with Ottawa.

"I think Brian was put in a very difficult position here," said Murray, alluding to the fact that he's often been overworked due to Pascal Leclaire's frequent injuries.

Murray added that Elliott often let goals get to him mentally.

The Senators feel rookie Robin Lehner will eventually be the solution to their years-long search for quality netminding. However, with Leclaire injured, Anderson's arrival buys them time to ease Lehner into the NHL ranks.

Confidence shaken

His departure is just the latest in a string of goaltenders to pass through Ottawa's room with his confidence shaken.

"Maybe we haven't gone out and got the right goaltender," Murray said when asked about the team's bad luck with netminders. "We haven't had the high-end guy here that's come and he doesn't care about anything other than playing well and he plays well."

Elliott is making $900,000 this season and is a restricted free agent this summer.

Murray said that, with still more than a week to go before the Feb. 28 trade deadline, he may not be done making moves.

Among the other candidates likely to be out the door is veteran defenceman Chris Phillips. Murray intended to speak with Phillips's agent, J.P. Barry, on Friday.

Phillips, an unrestricted free agent to be, holds a no-trade clause in his contract and has stated his preference to stay in Ottawa. But he likely holds some value on the trade market and would probably need to take a pay cut from the $3.5 million he's making this season to fit into the Senators' rebuilding project.

Murray is open to trading any player except for 38-year-old captain Daniel Alfredsson and 20-year-old all-star rookie defenceman Erik Karlsson.

That includes possibly parting with veteran right-winger Chris Neil and younger forwards such as Peter Regin and Nick Foligno.