The season has started in a fine fashion for the Ottawa Senators. They currently hold a record of 2-1 after their first 3 games, 2 of them back to back games held this past weekend. At the home opener, the Sens saw a new face in front of the net as Matt O’Connor made his debut as a Senator replacing the injured Andrew Hammond.
He didn’t have quite the start he wanted, giving up 3 goals on 34 shots, some of those goals coming in on quite weak shots. Having said that, there was no sense of disappointment for the young goaltender. The plan this year was to see O’Connor as the starting goaltender in Binghamton so he could get some AHL experience.
After the morning skate Tuesday morning, the plan has been set in motion. During the skate O’Connor didn’t see much action and Hammond was busy. After the skate Hammond noted he had been on the ice four or five times since the injury and he feels ready.
Soon after that, the news followed. Head Coach Dave Cameron announced that Hammond will make the trip with the team to Columbus on Wednesday and that O’Connor has been sent back down to Binghamton.
So now, things are set. The plan is in motion. O’Connor will get his AHL experience and will likely have an impressive year, while we will see Hammond backing up Anderson, who has been good so far.
This year Anderson is the starter, but what is being questioned is how many games Hammond can start and if he can be as good as he was last year. He started in 24 games last year ending with a 1.79 GAA and a .941SV%, surpassing Anderson and Lehner in both categories.
After leading the team to the playoffs in the ladder half of the season last year, it will definitely be interesting to see how he responds this year. In many ways, Hammond could be facing much more of a “sophomore slump” type of challenge than forward Mark Stone.
With the Senators playing back to back games this week in Columbus and Pittsburgh, we are bound to see Hammond make his first start of the season. Most likely that start will be against the Blue Jackets on Wednesday night.
With an impressive start so far, things in Ottawa are just starting to get exciting. Each piece of news gets Sens fans excited that hockey is finally back. And now, so is Andrew Hammond.