Binghamton, NY (WBNG Binghamton) A lot changed for the B-Sens from October to May, but possibly the biggest difference was at the goalie position. Andrew Hammond really came into his own throughout the year, and proved he can be a starting goaltender.
His rookie season in the AHL got off to a rocky start though. Hammond surrendered 13 goals in his first three starts.
However, by the middle of the season he became the go-to-guy for Binghamton as Nathan Lawson dealt with a series of injuries and call-ups.
He went on to rank ninth in game won amongst goalies in the AHL. Hammond even made his NHL debut, and didn't give up a goal in relief of Robin Lehner for Ottawa.
A combination of those things made a statement to the Senators organization.
"It gave Ottawa a lot of confidence in him and at that point of the season, we already had a lot of confidence in him," said coach Luke Richardson. "I think at the beginning of the year, he was probably wondering and we were probably wondering, but you have to give it a little time. It was his first year. I think him being an older rookie, I mentioned it a few times, I think that gave him some maturity to handle the situations. He really came through in flying colors when he was given the opportunity the second half of the year."
Hammond's play likely makes for an easier decision for the Senators.
Nathan Lawson is an unrestricted free agent now. If Ottawa chooses not to bring Lawson back, Hammond could be the number one guy heading into next season.
Options for the other B-Sens goalie include 19-year-old Chris Driedger, who saw time in the final game of the regular season.