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NHL: G Andrew Hammond Making Things Difficult In Ottawa

There is going to be a goalie controversy in Ottawa for the Senators. With the contracts of Craig Anderson and RobinLehner tying up the team through the better part of two years, the Senators have a gluttony of options at the position. However, the recent play of Andrew Hammond has complicated things even more, and Ottawa nowhas a decision to make.Craig Anderson went into the year as the Senators top option. Despite him reaching the age of 34 at the beginning of the 2015-16 season, the team signed him to a three-year extension at the onset of this year’s campaign. Age aside, there hasn’t been much debate as to who the Senators top goalie is, because when healthy that guy is Anderson.

It was supposed to be easy for Ottawa. Robin Lehner learns under the veteran Anderson, and takes over as the team’s top goal-tending option. Although, Lehner hasn’t had the season many Senators faithful were hoping for, as he has been plagued by injury and inconsistent play.

That’s where Hammond comes into the picture. When Anderson and Lehner both succumbed to injury, it was Hammond that filled the void for the two as starting goalie, and he has delivered in every way imaginable, posting a 1.44 GAA and .954 Save percentage.

As the team pushes towards a playoff spot, the question of whether to play the hot hand in Hammond, or the proven Anderson (Lehner is still fighting his way back from injury.)  becomes a serious dilemma faced by the Senators. However, this small portion of the season isn’t going to solve the problem at hand, Ottawa now has too many options at goalie.

It’s unclear the route Ottawa will take when it comes to dealing with Anderson, Hammond and Lehner. They could trade one of the three to a team that needs a solid net-minder. That seems to be the likely option, but then who do they keep?

The Senators are still very high on Lehner, and they have every right to be, as he is only 23 years of age. Hammond is a full six years younger than Anderson, and a team looking for a former Vezina Trophy finalist to anchor their goaltending would be wise to acquire Anderson. Maybe Ottawa will strike a deal for Hammond, as they think he is a flash in the pan, and should strike while the iron is hot.

Hammond is an undrafted 27-year-old goalie that has spent the majority of his career at Bowling Green University. He spent his first professional tenure with the AHL Binghampton Senators during the 2013-14 season. Hammond would follow in the footsteps of goalies such as Tim Thomas, who starred in college before making it to the NHL. (Thomas never went to the NHL after college, he bounced around from league to league, but the premise is still the same.)

Whether or not the Senators stick with Hammond remains to be the seen. Their trio of goalies is a nice option to have, but if they want to build a young roster of talent it would be wise to trade one of the three for a selection of players or picks.

It’s just a matter of time before either Lehner, Anderson or Hammond is traded from Ottawa, but it’s anyone’s guess as to who it will be.



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