One of the biggest needs for the Buffalo Sabres at the start of free agency was signing a goalie for the organization and the pool wasn’t very deep this season. They made that signing within the first 30 minutes by signing Andrew Hammond to a one-year one-way contract for the 2019/2020 season. He’ll earn $700k whether he’s in Rochester or Buffalo.
Hammond made a name for himself when he became first goalie in NHL history to earn 21 wins in first 27 games with 20 of those in his first season with Ottawa.
The Sabres were in need of a number three goalie to not only lead Rochester but also be capable of filling in on the Sabres roster if there was a need to replace Carter Hutton or Linus Ullmark. Hammond will likely start the season in Rochester along with Jonas Johansson. Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen had off season hip surgery and isn’t expected to be healthy until November.
Hammond played in 33 games last season with the Iowa Wild for a 19-12-2 record, 2.81 GAA, and .910SV%. He also appeared in 11 playoff games with the Wild finishing a 5-6 record, 2.46GAA, and .912SV%.
Jason Botterill was asked on a conference call about Hammond and he said, “Well, we talked about it at the draft, that going into the talking period, this was something that we really wanted to focus in on and make sure we covered ourselves there. Andrew, you look at his past success in the American Hockey league, and whenever he’s gone up to the National Hockey League [he’s] also had success. It’s allowed us to get more strength throughout our organization in case we do run into injuries and just gave us more depth. We’re obviously very excited about our young goaltending in both (Ukko-Pekka) Luukkonen and Jonas (Johansson). But both of them have had injury issues, and so we felt we wanted to make sure that they weren’t the ones in the position where we had to push them into action and especially push them into NHL games. Andrew certainly gives us depth at that position and we’re very happy to have him as a part of our organization.”
It was clear the team had decided to move on from Scott Wedgewood and in a summer with limited options we’ll have an upgrade in Hammond. Scott Wedgewood has signed with Tampa Bay which means the Amerks will play him often when he’s in Syracuse.
Hammond had this award winning moment during the playoffs last season. The Wild lost in the second round to the Chicago Wolves.
Give Andrew Hammond an award for this. Ref called goalie interference. Figure that one out! And then his team scored a PP goal. pic.twitter.com/TdxuJ6bz5m
— Let's Go Amerks (@LetsGoAmerks) April 26, 2019
Buffalo also signed Curtis Lazar who is a former teammate of Hammond in Ottawa. Lazar had a classic moment in 2015 when he picked up a hamburger thrown onto the ice and took a bite out of it.
— Bryan Florkiewicz (@bryanflork) July 1, 2019
Here’s the Buffalo Sabres official release on Hammond:
BUFFALO, N.Y. (July 1, 2019) — The Buffalo Sabres today announced the team has signed goaltender Andrew Hammond to a one-year contract with an AAV of $700,000.
A six-year veteran, Hammond (6’2”, 223 lbs., 2/11/1988) has 56 games of NHL experience with the Ottawa Senators and Colorado Avalanche, including two extended stays with the Senators in 2014-15 and 2015-16. During those two seasons, Hammond went 27-12-6 and ranked among the NHL’s leading goaltenders with a minimum of 15 games played in save percentage (2nd, .927) and goals-against average (8th, 2.21).
In addition to his time in the NHL, Hammond has appeared in 132 AHL contests for the Binghamton Senators, Belleville Senators, San Antonio Rampage and Iowa Wild. The Surrey, British Columbia native has a 62-55-6 career AHL record.