Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun reports this morning that the Ottawa Senators have officially placed goaltender Andrew Hammond on the injured reserve. Hammond suffered a groin injury early in the Sens’ game against the Calgary Flames on Friday night. He was replaced by Chris Driedger, who allowed four goals on just 15 shots in the loss. Fortunately for Ottawa, starter Craig Anderson has returned from his leave of absence, encouraged by his wife following Hammond’s injury. Driedger will also remain with the team, and Senators called up Matt O’Connor.
However, the presence of three goalies on the roster for now will not stop Ottawa from taking a long look at the goalie market. A groin injury is one of the most difficult for keepers to come back from and Hammond could be looking at a lengthy absence. In the meantime, while the Senators are happy to have Anderson back, he is not guaranteed to be around all season with his wife battling cancer. That could potentially just Driedger and O’Connor in net. While O’Connor put up good numbers as the starter for Boston University, he has yet to establish his pro game since signing with Ottawa in 2015. Driedger, a 2012 third-round pick, has never been able to live up to expectations, spending time in the ECHL as well as the AHL with pedestrian numbers for the past three years.
With over $5MM in salary cap space, the Senators are one of the few teams that are capable of bringing in one of the goalies in a trade market saturated with high-priced options. With Anderson and Hammond each signed for only one more year, it would not be a surprise to see Ottawa have interest in a long-term option. Jimmy Howard, Marc-Andre Fleury, one of the Dallas duo, or potentially even a return for Ben Bishop could all be possibilities for the Sens if their goalie situation becomes desperate. The immediate health of Andrew Hammond will go a long way in determining just how far the Senators will go to ensure solid tending in 2016-17.