Goalie Andrew Hammond, who stole the hearts of fans and goals from opposition players while leading the Ottawa Senators to the playoffs, has signed a three-year contract, the club announced Tuesday.
Hammond will make $1.2 million US next season, $1.35 million in 2016-17 and $1.5 million in 2017-18. The contract will count $1.35 million against Ottawa's salary cap per year over the length of the deal.
The 27-year-old from Surrey, B.C., came out of nowhere to save the Senators' season when Ottawa regulars Craig Anderson and Robin Lehner were injured. Hammond, known as "the Hamburglar" and adorned with his comical goalie mask, was in record-setting form as the Senators won 23 of their final 31 games to clinch a playoff spot.
The average annual value of Hammond’s extension is $1.35M ($1.2M, $1.35M, $1.5M) ������— @Senators
"The great thing about sports and hockey in particular is anything can happen," Hammond said on a conference call with reporters Wednesday. "I was given a chance to kind of hit the refresh button a little bit when I got called up and I was able to play some of my best hockey down the stretch there."
Hammond began his stint in goal with 12 consecutive games earning at least a point (11-0-1), an NHL record. He also allowed two goals or fewer in each of those starts to tie another record. By the time that the Senators wrapped up the eighth and final Eastern Conference playoff position, Hammond brought his record season record to 20 wins, one loss, and two overtime losses. His goals-against average was 1.79.
"The three-year deal was pretty important to me just to give me a little bit more security and kind of just start moving forward to building a career out of it more than anything," Hammond said.
"He showed the ability that he could face pressure and he could win big games. For that, we thought that we should reward him with an NHL contract," Senators assistant ganeral manager Pierre Dorion said. "Whether it was for one, two or three years, we still feel have this goalie under contract for the next three years and that was a good thing to do as an organization."
He started in the Senators' net as Ottawa met the Montreal Canadiens in the first round of the playoffs. Ottawa lost the first two games in Montreal and Hammond was replaced by Anderson. The Senators extended the series to six games before the Canadiens closed them out.
Fire up the grills! Excited to be coming back to @Senators for 3 more years! ������— @andrewhammond30
Hammond is one of three finalists for the Masterton Trophy, along with Minnesota's Devan Dubnyk and Pittsburgh's Kris Letang. The Masterton Trophy is awarded to the player who best exemplifies perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to hockey.
With Hammond signed, the Senators are expected to trade either Anderson or Robin Lehner before the start of next season.
Anderson has three years left on his contract at a cap hit of $4.2 million US, while Lehner has two left at a cap hit of $2.25 million.
Still on general manager Bryan Murray's off-season to-do list is getting new deals for several restricted free-agent forwards: Calder Trophy finalist Mark Stone, Mika Zibanejad, Mike Hoffman, Jean-Gabriel Pageau and Alex Chiasson.