Hamburglar sticks: Sens ink Hammond to three-year, $4.05M extension


The Hamburglar has been rewarded.

On Wednesday, Ottawa announced that it re-upped with Andrew Hammond — aka “The Hamburglar” — on a three-year, $4.05 million contract, one that carries an average annual cap hit of $1.35M.

The annual salary breakdown:

Hammond, 27, was one of the NHL’s most unlikely success stories this year, if not the most unlikely. Never a star at the NCAA or AHL level, he came out of nowhere to go on a remarkable run — 20-1-2 down the stretch — to help the Sens rally for a playoff spot.

Hammond finished the year with a .941 save percentage and 1.79 GAA, and was Ottawa’s starter heading into its opening-round series against the Habs. But he ceded his starting position to Craig Anderson after two tough outings and, in light of that, it’ll be interesting to see how the Sens’ goalie situation plays out next year and beyond.

Anderson, 33, is signed through 2018 at $4.2 million per while Robin Lehner — who, after suffering a concussion in February, opened the door for Hammond to play — has two more years left at $2.225M per.

(As pointed out by sharp commenter dsawaia29, Ottawa also inked college free agent goalie Matt O’Connor out of Boston University.)

Sens GM Bryan Murray said he’ll look to deal one of his two netminders once Hammond was signed, so it’ll be interesting to see who’s on the move this summer as the available goalie market just got another experienced addition, to go along with Antti Niemi, Karri Ramo, Michal Neuvirth and, quite possibly, Eddie Lack.

Related: If Anderson is available, should the Oilers be interested?

If Anderson is available, should the Oilers be interested?


If the Ottawa Senators re-sign goalie Andrew Hammond — and it sounds like they intend to try — they’ll need to trade one of Craig Anderson or Robin Lehner.

If they decide to trade Anderson, should the Oilers be interested?

There’s no easy answer to that question, because there’s no certainty, not ever, when it comes to a goaltender. But at the very least, the veteran Anderson possesses a body of work that suggests a modicum of reliability.

In 406 NHL games for the Blackhawks, Panthers, Avalanche and Senators, Anderson has a .915 career save percentage. That’s in line with Jonathan Quick (.915 in 407 games) and Ryan Miller (.915 in 604 games). Anderson’s numbers this season, albeit in just 35 regular-season appearances, were among the best in the league. He was even better in the playoffs.

If there’s a concern about Anderson, it’s his age — he’ll be 34 next week. He’s had his share of injuries as well. But his contract is reasonable, with three years left at a cap hit of $4.2 million. Edmonton would pay that in a heartbeat to stabilize a position that badly needs to be stabilized.

Now, it’s possible the Senators try first to deal Lehner. So, might the Oilers be interested in him? Possibly. But Lehner is only 23, and he’s never started more than 30 games in the NHL. For all his upside — and he has quite a bit — his inexperience may not be a great fit in Edmonton. The same goes for a guy like Cam Talbot. Great NHL numbers, but a limited body of work. Plus, Talbot’s numbers (.931 save percentage in 57 games) were compiled with the help of some pretty good defensemen. (Remember that Ben Scrivens had good numbers with the Kings before the Oilers got him.)

Another experienced goalie the Oilers could pursue this offseason is unrestricted free agent Antti Niemi. We’re just not sure that would happen if Todd McLellan ends up becoming their coach.

Related: Why sign Miller? Benning wanted ‘a goalie with experience’

Sens land free agent goaltender Matt O’Connor


The Ottawa Senators have signed highly touted free agent goaltender Matt O’Connor to a two-year entry-level contract.

The 23-year-old was reportedly considering offers from the Sens, Rangers, Oilers and Canucks.

The 6-foot-5, Toronto native had a 25-4-4 record to go along with a 2.18 G.A.A. and a .927 save percentage with the Boston University Terriers this season.

Sens GM Bryan Murray now has some decisions to make in goal.

Robin Lehner is under contract for two more years with a cap hit of $2.25 million and Craig Anderson signed a three-year extension worth $12.6 million last summer.

Andrew Hammond, who burst on to the scene in February and guided Ottawa to a playoff spot, is a restricted free agent.

O’Connor went undrafted when he was first eligible at the 2010 NHL Draft.

Sens GM Murray to return, Cameron offered extension


Despite an ongoing battle with Stage 4 colon cancer, Bryan Murray isn’t quitting his day job.

“I’ve talked to the doctors, I’ve talked to my family,” Murray said at Ottawa’s end-of-season media availability on Wednesday. “If my health holds up and everything, I can keep doing this job — and it’s better than sitting on the couch at home, I think.”

Murray, diagnosed last July, didn’t expand much on that decision, opting rather to dive into the work he’s already doing — specifically, a new contract extension for head coach Dave Cameron.

Murray said the midseason coaching change to Cameron from Paul MacLean completely turned the team around, evident in Ottawa’s stellar 23-3-3 run to make the playoffs.

“We played more of a pressure game, we played a quicker game, we broke the puck out better and we weren’t hemmed in our own end as much as we were,” Murray explained. “[Cameron’s] ability to communicate with them, to get them to perform and believe in themselves — [it] turned around a season that could’ve gone sideways very quickly after Christmas.”

As for other news and nuggets from today’s presser:

• The Sens will make a contract offer to Andrew “The Hamburglar” Hammond, who starred during the aforementioned playoff push. Hammond, a pending UFA, went 20-1-2 with a .941 save percentage and 1.79 GAA, but faltered in the playoffs and ceded his No. 1 gig to Craig Anderson.

• On the topic of goalies, Robin Lehner — who’s concussion opened up a spot for Hammond back in February — is still dealing with headaches and has been told to “shut it down” for another week. Murray said that if Hammond accepts Ottawa’s offer, “there will be a change with one of the other two guys,” meaning Lehner or Anderson could be moved.

• Defenseman Jared Cowen will undergo sports hernia surgery. Marc Methot, who was reportedly headed for elbow surgery, may no longer need the procedure.

• Murray has given Cameron the green light to hire an assistant coach to replace the late Mark Reeds, who passed away earlier this month.

Finally — and fittingly — Murray ended his presser by confirming he’s healthy enough to deal with the rigors of being the GM, adding that the work is, at times, good for him.

“I always feel better when we win,” he explained. “Even when I didn’t have health issues, I always feel better when we win.”

Hammond hasn’t had any contract talks with Sens


With the Ottawa Senators’ unexpected playoff run now in the past, Andrew Hammond is waiting to see what’s next for him. The 27-year-old posted an incredible 1.79 GAA and .941 save percentage in 24 games to lead the team into the postseason. Once they got there though, Hammond struggled somewhat and was replaced by Craig Anderson.

Now Hammond is set to become an unrestricted free agent and hasn’t entered into contract talks with Ottawa yet.

“I don’t know what’s going to happen,” Hammond told the Ottawa Citizen. “I love Ottawa. I love everything about Ottawa: The fans, the organization and everything. It’s still early. No one knows what’s going to happen here. I’d obviously love to stay.”

It’s a challenging situation for the Senators. The first and most obvious roadblock to re-signing Hammond is the presence of Craig Anderson and Robin Lehner, who have three and two years left on their respective contracts. Even if Ottawa was both inclined and able to trade one of the two veteran goaltenders, finding fair value for Hammond would still be tricky.

Hammond couldn’t have done much better in his regular season run, but before that he looked like he might spend his career as a journeyman goaltender. After all, he also had a 3.51 GAA and .898 save percentage in 25 AHL contests in 2014-15. So the question is, how much faith does Ottawa want to put in the idea that Hammond can come close to replicating his recent NHL success.

At the same time, Hammond might make that part easier for Ottawa. He thinks he can perform at the NHL level, but he also isn’t assuming he’ll end up with a guaranteed roster spot in 2015-16. That might be an indication of his willingness to settle for a two-way deal.