Colorado Avalanche: Will We See Andrew Hammond this Year?

DENVER, CO - JANUARY 04: Goaltender Andrew Hammond
DENVER, CO - JANUARY 04: Goaltender Andrew Hammond /

Will the Colorado Avalanche find a reason to play NHL-worthy goalie Andrew Hammond, or will they stick with Spencer Martin?

Colorado Avalanche goalie Andrew Hammond has been an Avs goalie on the bench only. Except for during warmups, Hammond has never skated onto the ice for Colorado. He was part of the package the Ottawa sent for Matt Duchene.

Hammond could have gotten his chance. Regular backup Jonathan Bernier was out with concussion symptoms. It’s feasible the Avalanche would have given Hammond a chance to start in place of starting goalie Semyon Varlamov.

Unfortunately, an errant stick hit Hammond in the head, and somehow he managed to get a concussion. He spent a good chunk of time in limbo. And the that gave the Avs a goalie issue because that left Varlamov and Backup 3.0, Spencer Martin, tending goal as they made their playoff push.

Well, Hammond is finally healthy again. Colorado sent him to the San Antonio Rampage and kept Martin as the backup backup while Bernier overcomes an infected cut. (No idea. However, that hockey equipment can become a cesspool of bacteria — I’m surprised more players don’t get infected abrasions.)

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If you look at Hammond and Martin side-by-side, though, you wonder why the Avs haven’t given him a chance. He’s played 55 regular season games and even helped out the Ottawa Senators in their 2015 playoff campaign with two games. Indeed, he was instrumental in the Senators’ playoff push at the end of the 2014-15 season.

In fact, he went 20-1-2 for the Sens, recording a 1.79 goals against average and .941 save percentage. He even recorded three shutouts. That’s when he earned the name “Hamburgler” (though I called him Candy).

The 22-year-old Martin, by contrast, has just three NHL games to his name, all with the Avalanche last (dreadful) season. None of them were wins, though one was an overtime loss.

In any case, Hammond has been out of action for two-and-a-half months, so sending him down to the AHL makes sense if only for conditioning. The 30-year-old has played one game with the Rampage, a win.

According to Mile High Hockey, Hammond remained confident in his game throughout his hiatus. That confidence paid off in the win for San Antonio. Hammond told MHH that he had a plan for that game:

"“The one thing I tried to do today was fight for every puck, knowing you’re not going to be perfect. I thought I was able to do that and the team in front of me cleared out a lot of rebounds.”"

He turned away 31 of the 32 shots he faced to backstop the Rampage to a 2-1 victory.

Next: Overview of Final 6 Avs Games

So, will we ever see Andrew Hammonds actually play for the Colorado Avalanche? He’s an unrestricted free agent at the end of this season. So, if we don’t see him in the next six games — or as backup during the playoffs, if it comes to that — I guess the answer is no.