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Goalie Andrew Hammond earns first win in nearly four years

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 By Neil Becker


       You can bet this wasn’t just some ordinary run-of-the-mill mid-season win for Montreal Canadiens goalie Andrew Hammond.

        Seven years earlier, Hammond as a member of the Ottawa Senators broke into the NHL with flair as he gained immense popularity in the nation’s capital.
       This popularity came during the 2014/15 season when this unknown rookie netminder posted a storybook 20-1-2 record and a microscopic 1.79 GA.A.
       Hammond, who back then was affectionately nicknamed ‘The Hamburglar,’ played a major role as a rookie in helping Ottawa make a successful playoff run.
       Facing long odds in being an undrafted player, Hammond got his opportunity when on March 20, 2013,  he agreed to a   two-year entry-level contract.
      After fine-tuning his overall game with the Sens AHL squad, Binghampton Senators, Hammond got his big break when on February 18, 2015 he earned his first
      start at the Canadian Tire Centre in Ottawa, Hammond stopped 42 shots in a 4-2  win against the Montreal Canadiens. Riding the momentum of that debut
      win the Hamburglar’s solid play continued as he made the hockey world take notice by recording back-to-back shutouts against the Anaheim Ducks by a 3-0 score followed
      by a 1-0 shutout win against the Los Angeles Kings.
      During that magical rookie season, Hammond looked like the real deal as he made hockey history by equaling a record set way back in 1938/39 by Hockey Hall of Famer Frank Brimsek.
      Both goalies are on a shortlist of two as the only netminders to allow two or fewer goals in their first 12 starts. Hammond’s future seemed completely secure as he signed on May 20,  
      2015, a lucrative three-year 4.5 million-dollar extension with the Sens.
      Following that outstanding season, Hammond’s stock, unfortunately, began to quickly sink. Looking to build on his rookie success Hammond struggled badly in his sophomore season. In his 
      second season, Hammond played 24 games in Ottawa where he posted an unflattering 7-11-4 record.
      In the years to follow, Hammond spent the bulk of his time playing in the AHL. On November 5, 2017, he was part of a multi-player deal that sent him to the Colorado Avalanche organization.
       At this time, the Avalanche were set in net and looked at Hammond as insurance. His bulk of playing time was with the Avs AHL team the San Antonio Rampage. Still, he occasionally was called up to Colorado where he served as the team’s back up goalie. He did start a game with Colorado during that 2018 season and saw action that spring in three play-off games
     After his stint with Colorado, Hammond signed on July 1, 2018, a one-year two-way contract with the Minnesota Wild.
      A year later, he signed a one year-two- way contract with the Buffalo Sabres. In both those seasons with the Wild and Sabres organization, Hammond didn’t start or relieve in an NHL game.
      That long-anticipated wait for another NHL start happened eight days after being traded from the Minnesota Wild organization to the Montreal Canadiens.  Starting on Sunday, February 20th at UBS Arena in New York, Hammond got his first NHL start since 2018 and didn’t seem nervous as he made 30 saves in a 3-2 shootout win against the New York Islanders.
    As noted earlier, Hammond last start came as a member of the Colorado Avalanche. You can bet this particular win was a little emotional for Hammond. Here is hoping that with the Canadiens not being in a  playoff hunt, that down the road, they give Hammond some more starts before the season ends.   


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