Andrew ‘Hamburglar’ Hammond was one of the biggest stories of the 2014-15 campaign, and the pressure was on the 27-year-old netminder to muster up some more heroics this season. After playing only four games this season, however, Hammond finds himself on the shelf for the second time this campaign.
The Senators announced Sunday that Hammond sustained an injury in practice, but would not dive into specifics about what was ailing the goaltender. According to a report from the Ottawa Sun’s Bruce Garrioch, Hammond was hit in the head with a shot during practice, but it’s uncertain whether his injury is related. There’s also cause for concern that Hammond’s injury could be related to a groin injury he sustained late in the pre-season.
During a skate in early October, Hammond went down with the injury and was forced to miss the first three games of the season. Upon his return, Craig Anderson remained the Senators’ go-to between the pipes, and Hammond suited up for just four of the past 14 games.
Hammond’s exceptional in run in 2014-15 gave Senators fans hopes he could challenge Anderson for the starting job, or at least push a 1A/1B scenario for Ottawa. The Senators had previously bounced back and forth between starting Anderson and Robin Lehner, but dealt Lehner to Buffalo in the off-season to make room for Hammond on the big club.
So far this season, Hammond has gone 2-0-2 with a 2.42 goals-against average and .930 save percentage. That’s a big recovery from how Hammond begun the year, however, as he allowed four goals on 32 shots in 65 minutes of work in his season debut.
In Hammond’s place, the Senators have called up off-season free-agent signing Matt O’Connor. O’Connor, 23, was a top goaltending free agent out of the NCAA and signed a two-year, entry-level deal with the Senators in May. O’Connor has spent the first six games of his professional career in the AHL with the Binghamton Senators, where he has posted a 4.14 GAA and .859 SP for the Eastern Conference-worst AHL club.
O’Connor helped Boston University to a Hockey East title in 2014-15 while posting a 24-4-4 record with 2.18 GAA and .927 SP.