OTTAWA -- Craig Anderson called signing a one-day contract to officially retire Tuesday as a member of the Ottawa Senators a "perfect moment."

"I didn't announce my retirement until now because I wanted to be a Senator again. I never wanted to leave," Anderson said in front of a packed conference room at Canadian Tire Centre that included former teammates Daniel Alfredsson, Chris Phillips and Chris Neil. "I felt that this place was home for me and my family. ... There's no certainties in life. I think to be here today, to be able to end everything this way, it's a storybook ending."

Anderson played 10 of his 20 NHL seasons for the Senators and was honored during a pregame ceremony before the Senators hosted the Buffalo Sabres, the team he finished his playing career with last season.

The 42-year-old is Ottawa's leader among goalies in games played (435) and wins (202). He helped the Senators to the 2017 Eastern Conference Final, a series that ended with a 3-2 double-overtime loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins in Game 7.

Anderson dropped the puck in Ottawa’s first all-goalie ceremonial face-off, including Anton Forsberg and Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen. Anderson was joined by wife Nicholle and children Jake and Levi, and the home crowd responded with a standing ovation.

Anderson was 24-23 in 48 Stanley Cup Playoff games. His .929 save percentage is third-best in NHL history among goalies to play at least 20 playoff games.

"The playoffs [were] a different animal," Anderson said. "Even when I was a kid, my parents or siblings would always say, 'The bigger the moment, the bigger the star.' And for whatever reason, those moments were the ones that I rose to the top for. It wasn't a selfish motive; it was, 'I want to be there for the guys. I want to be the guy that was there for my teammates.'"

BUF@OTT: Senators pay tribute to Anderson's career

In 709 regular-season games with the Senators, Sabres, Chicago Blackhawks, Florida Panthers, Colorado Avalanche and Washington Capitals, Anderson was 319-275-71 with a 2.86 goals-against average, .912 save percentage and 43 shutouts.

Ottawa general manager Pierre Dorion spoke about how, nearing the 2011 NHL Trade Deadline, he helped convince then-general manager Bryan Murray to take a chance on Anderson. On Feb. 18, 2011, the Senators acquired Anderson from the Avalanche in a trade for goalie Brian Elliott.

"One of the greatest goalies in our franchise, if not the greatest," Dorion said of Anderson.

On April 13, in his final NHL game, Anderson made 33 saves for the Sabres in a 4-3 overtime win against the Senators.

Reminiscing on how it all ended, Anderson cited the opportunities he was given by the Capitals and Sabres after his final season with the Senators in 2019-20 was cut short because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

"Every player that plays this game wants to go out on their own terms," Anderson said. "Being able to continue to give back and compete and feeling that I can compete and be a difference-maker was one of the reasons why I felt that I wanted to continue to play. The closure is knowing that I left everything out there."

Anderson spoke with the utmost appreciation for the support he received after his wife, Nicholle, was diagnosed with Stage 4 nasopharyngeal carcinoma, a rare form of cancer in the nose and throat, in October 2016. Anderson took a two-month leave of absence from the Senators during the 2016-17 season to support Nicholle during treatment, but it was Nicholle who ultimately convinced him to return to the team.

"There's a lot of emotion here," Anderson said. "The biggest thing I can say is a thank you to my family, the fans, my teammates. ... I think of my wife pushing me to become the best that I could be, and to allow me to chase my dreams for as long as I did. That's a huge part of this."