Surrey Eagles alumni Andrew Hammond leads Ottawa Senators to playoffs
Two months ago, the name Andrew Hammond was an unfamiliar name for people outside of British Columbia, but now every hockey fan knows the name of “The Hamburglar”. Hammond has gone a miraculous run since being called in to action two months ago when Craig Anderson and Robin Lehner went down with injuries. Since then, Hammond has gone a 20-1-2 run to send the Ottawa Senators towards the Stanley Cup. When Hammond was called up, the Senators had no idea they would soon be headed to the playoffs.
Hammond, a native of White Rock, BC, began his path to the NHL with the Grandview Steelers of the PJHL in the 2006-07 season (note: Hammond’s current Senators teammate Kyle Turris, is also an alumni of the Steelers), where he posted a 17-5-3 record in 28 games, which was enough to get him noticed by the Surrey Eagles. Hammond would only play one season for the Eagles, posting a 15-14-1 record in 32 games before being traded to the Vernon Vipers for $2500. In Hammond’s final season with the Vernon Vipers, he had a record of 27-12-1 in 43 games on his path to winning the RBC Cup, the national championship at the Junior A level. En route to the RBC Cup, Hammond would shutout his opponents 5 times in the regular season (a Vipers record) and again in the RBC Championship game with a 27 save shutout for a 2-0 win over the Humboldt Broncos.
With his BCHL career in the rearview mirror, and a NCAA scholarship in his back pocket, Hammond would head to Bowling Green where he would play four seasons with the Falcons. During his time at Bowling Green, he was named the Falcons’ MVP in the 2010-11 and 2011-12 season. It is believe this is where Hammond first got the nickname “Hamburglar” as his ability to steal games was noticed by teammate Wade Finegan.
The Ottawa Senators signed Andrew Hammond to a two-year entry level contract on March 20, 2013. Hammond was assigned to the Binghamton Senators of the AHL, where he finished the 2012-13 season. Hammond would attend training camp for Ottawa in September 2013, but was assigned to Binghamton where he would spend the 2013-14 season putting up a record of 25-19-3 leading Binghamton in to the Calder Cup playoffs before a quick exit in the first round. Hammond’s first call to NHL action was made on February 26, 2014 to replace goaltender Craig Anderson who was with his with wife for the birth of the couple’s second child. The next day, Hammond would make his NHL debut at 5:05 of the second period against the Detroit Red Wings in relief of Robin Lehner who had allowed six goals and was pulled. Hammond would stop all 11 of the shots he faced in the remainder of the game.
Hammond would again attend Ottawa Senators training camp in September 2014, but again the Senators would assign him to their AHL affiliate in Binghamton. On January 21, 2015, Craig Anderson injured his right hand in a 4-3 victory over the Toronto Maple Leafs. Eight days later, Hammond would again get the call to the NHL to backup Robin Lehner. On February 16th, 2015, goaltender Robin Lehner would be injured and later diagnosed with a concussion after a collision with teammate Clarke MacArthur late in the 2nd period in a game against the Carolina Hurricanes. Hammond is called in to action and finishes the game. At 22-22-10, the Senators sit 5th in the wild-card race, 10 points behind the Boston Bruins. With Chris Driedger being the only goaltender left in the organization with an NHL contract, the Senators would be relying on this kid from White Rock to get them in to the playoffs. Hammond would make his first NHL start two days later against the Montreal Canadiens stopping 42 shots en route to a 4-2 win.
One week later, the Senators would head to California to play the Anaheim Ducks and Los Angeles Kings. It seemed like getting two points out of this trip would take would take a miracle. The Senators would get exactly that as Hammond posted a 3-0 and 2-0 shutout against the teams respectively. Hammond is only the second NHL to record two straight road shutouts against those two teams. Steve Mason, then with Columbus, was the first to do so in 2008.
Fast forward to March 23rd, after defeating the visiting San Jose Sharks 5-2, the Senators are now 37-24-11 and second in the wild-card race. It’s the first time they’ve been in playoff position since November 21st. However, less than a week later, the Senators lost a tight overtime game to their heated rivals from Toronto, meaning the Senators were again the on the outside looking in, sitting one back of the Boston Bruins for the last playoff spot.
On April 9th, the Senators headed to New York to play the President Trophy winning Rangers, with their playoff hopes resting on the result of this game. Hammond would yet again be up to the task stopping 26 shots in a 3-0 shutout win over the best team in the NHL.
The Senators then headed to Philadelphia for their last game of the 2014-15 season against the Flyers. Ottawa only needed one point to clinch a spot in this year’s Stanley Cup playoffs, but they wouldn’t settle for an overtime loss. The Senators won the game 3-1, thanks again in large part to Andrew Hammond. Hammond made 34 saves on 35 shots with his best work coming in the second period with miraculous saves on Michael Raffl and Jakub Voracek.
It is not yet known who the Senators will face in the first round playoffs with matchups against the Montreal Canadiens and Tampa Bay Lightning still possibilities. One thing is for sure, two months ago, the Senators and their fans could not have expected that this team would be in the playoffs. Now that they are heading to the playoffs, they can look to Andrew Hammond, the kid from White Rock BC, as a big reason why.