It’s been a while since I’ve posted on any of the Senator’s organization’s prospects for my SenSeries Profile’s so let’s begin kicking it off again as I focus this time on netminder Andrew Hammond. The 6′ 1″ 190 lb. goalie out of Surrey, British Columbia is playing in his first professional season in Binghamton and has endured the ups and downs while continuing to work hard on his game and was recently recalled by the Ottawa Senators this past Wednesday after an earlier Binghamton Senators game in Toronto. This is his first taste in the ‘big show’ but let us back this up first and start from his beginning’s.
Where it all transpired for Mr. Hammond
Andrew started his career for the Vernon Vipers of the BCHL playing in two seasons posting a 48-29-2 record in 84 games with a GAA of 2.74 and a .905 SV% including a league-leading five shut outs in 2008-’09. The Vipers finished first in the Interior Division that season and after sweeping Grande Prairie, he shutout the Humboldt Broncos in helping his club win the RBC Cup Championship. Overall, Hammond was 12-5 with four shutouts in 17 playoff games with a brilliant 1.50 GAA and .946 SV% solidifying his play in Junior A hockey.
The following season, he committed to Bowling Green State University. In 2009-’10, the Falcon’s finished 11th in the 12 team CCHA, winning just five games all season as Hammond was winless in 19 appearances with a disappointing 0-12-2 record and a 4.30 GAA. The university wasn’t a top NCAA school during Hammond’s four-year stretch, however he was highly touted and was named Jim Ruehl Best Defensive Player and the Jim Sears Most Valuable Defensive Player awards by the team in his sophomore season as a goalie nonetheless.
His senior year in 2012-’13 at Bowling State saw the Falcons finish in ninth place but reached the playoff quarterfinals after defeating Lake Superior State in the first round. Hammond made 35 saves in a 1-0 overtime loss to Notre Dame in the first contest and in game two, he made 30 saves in a 4-3 loss. He finished with a 10-15-3 record while having a 2.47 GAA and 3 shutouts along with a .917 save percentage as he earns a reputation in the league as a solid goaltender.
Hammond signs with the Ottawa Senators
It’s been a rough ride with the rookie netminder after an inconsistent start to the season. However, he has 17 wins and has lowered his GAA to 3.02 while also having the team’s only shutout of the season, an 8-0 drubbing over Worcester earlier this month.
Hammond had played in the team’s last seven games and at times looked fantastic filling in for flu ridden Nathan Lawson. He has been better in his positional play, covering his angles and is starting to square up on shooters rather than committing himself too early by going down leaving himself vulnerable in front of the pipes. His rebounds are for the most part under control but could be better behind his net as at times he looks lackadaisical with the puck.
Then there’s the support, or lack of, as sometimes the D just simply falls apart in front and not coming to Andrew’s aid. At times the team just plays differently and at some points leaving him out to dry, but I will say that also that has improved lately. Luke Richardson recently stated;
“(Hammond) at times this year has stepped in and played very well..we’re happy for him because he works hard and he’s trying to get better everyday. I think he’s really proven himself and come a long way from the start of the year.”
Andrew gets the call to the ‘show’ and follows his dream
After stopping 26 pucks in Wednesday’s 4-2 set back to the Toronto Marlies, Hammond received the emergency call up to Ottawa while waiting for a flight to St. John’s with his team mates. He was going to back up Robin Lehner in Thursday’s game against the Detroit Red Wings while Craig Anderson was home expecting the birth of his second child. However, he would serve in a mop up roll with Lehner getting pulled midway through the second period letting in six goals.
Hammond stood poised stopping all 11 shots he faced in 34:31 minutes and would earn some praise from the Ottawa media following his NHL debut as Hammond would go on telling the media;
Any kid from Canada growing up playing hockey it’s their dream to play in the NHL. It’s pretty special to be one of those guys. Obviously, there have been a lot of ups and downs..Personally I feel I’ve been playing some pretty good games lately down there (for Binghamton). It’s nice to get rewarded with the call up now.”
Team1200 would have this to say after the game on Hammond;
One of the few goalies I’ve seen as when the play is in the opposite end he backs into his net and bent over all the time versus out in front standing up outside the cage ready in position.
He told Don Brennan of Ottawa Sun about his “Hamburglar” mask;
“It was a nickname given to me by one of my (Bowling Green) college teammates (Wade Finegan) for eating up pucks..so he called me the Hamburglar. If you look closely, it’s not hamburgers on there, it’s pucks.
A few tweets from Andrew following his NHL debut;
Tonight was a dream come true, thank you to everyone who has helped me along the way.
— Andrew Hammond (@andrewhammond31) February 28, 2014
Obviously wish it came under different circumstances but it’s been a dream of mine since I was 5 on my driveway to play in the nhl.
— Andrew Hammond (@andrewhammond31) February 28, 2014
With Ottawa prospect goaltender Chris Driedger in the wings, the Binghamton Senators goalie rotation could soon be quite the dynamic dual in the near future with Hammond serving as the number one guy between the pipes. Overall, it’s become a joy to watch him develop and come into his own throughout this season and I will add he’s on the right path for a successful career.
Cover photo an inserts courtesy of Alicia Strauch.