We all know what happened last year. Andrew Hammond was a wonderful surprise to a season that, before Christmas, looked over. The Ottawa Senators, in a decision that throughout the off season was widely debated, signed Hammond to a 3-year deal worth $4.05 million.
Backing up Craig Anderson, Hammond has been tremendous so far this year in just 4 starts. It just begs the question, is Hammond good enough to be a starting goaltender?
It never hurts to have a back-up goaltender that gives you a chance to win games. Through his 4 starts, Hammond has allowed just 10 goals. Although just a small sample, especially in this current season, Hammond’s situation is interesting. Typically before evaluating a goaltender’s worth, you’d want many more games to see how they can handle consistent starts.
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But, in 24 games played last year, Hammond put up some arguably inhumane numbers. Suffering just one regulation loss, the Hamburglar totalled 20 wins and an outstanding 1.79 GAA. It seemed that Hammond letting in more than one goal in a particular evening was just simply out of the ordinary.
So, after 4 starts this year, how do you evaluate that?
If you look at the entirety of Hammond’s NHL career, he’s played in just 29 games. Through which, he holds a record of 22-1-4. You can argue all day that it’s a small sample, but at the end of the day, when he’s in net for the Senators, they win games.
Going back to last year, when Hammond seemingly came out of nowhere, people couldn’t stop talking about his age. At 27 years-old, the Hamburglar has brought the old saying back to life that goaltenders are “late bloomers”.
At the beginning of the year, it was made clear the Craig Anderson was going to be the Senators starting goaltender. After fooling around with the idea of a tandem with Robin Lehner last season, that option seemed to be dismissed for this 2015-2016 season.
Should the Senators revisit that now? With Anderson signed through to 2019, the only thing that would allow Hammond to truly experience the starting role would be an injury or a trade.
You can debate all day that Hammond may not be ready, or he hasn’t started enough games to warrant this discussion yet. But, the numbers don’t lie. If the Hamburglar can continue what he’s been up to, it will be interesting to see what happens to this struggling Senators team.
Through the many struggles they face, it must be nice to know that goaltending, for now, is not something they need to worry about.