Matt O’Connor to Ottawa: Now What?


Andrew Hammond can’t be the happiest camper in the world right now. The Ottawa Senators have signed former Boston University goaltender Matt O’Connor, adding to an already stacked roster of goalies.

Hammond got his chance to shine when both Craig Anderson and Robin Lehner were injured. Anderson returned, and when Hammond struggled in the playoffs, became the starter again. Yet, Hammond showed flashes of Ken Dryden as the regular season came to a close.

It appears he might not get that chance again with O’Connor in town.

The Senators don’t expect O’Connor to be an NHL goalie right away. After struggling a bit in the NHL playoffs, the young goaltender has a ways to go and will likely start out in the American Hockey League with Binghamton.

Hammond is a UFA in his own right, so he could likely be on the move. After his stellar end to the regular season that led the Sens to the playoffs, he could be in somewhat high demand.

If Hammond is out, the Senators could presumably keep both Anderson and Lehner as O’Connor develops in the minors. He signed a two year, two way deal so he can be recalled whenever the team wants.

If they do keep Hammond, however, the organization has been on record saying they will deal one of their other goalies. Lehner would likely draw the most interest if they went this route.

But what does the future hold for O’Connor who signed with such a goalie stacked team?

“As a goalie, you need time to develop your pro game and I would definitely picture myself in Binghamton,” O’Connor said in an article in the Ottawa Sun. “I’m not one to come into an organization and demand games or expect promises because the bottom line is, it’s about stopping the puck.

The team also has confidence in O’Connor, especially if they lose one of their proven goalies.

“We just think we acquired a really good asset who gives us a lot of depth at the position,” said assistant general manager Randy Lee to the Ottawa Sun. “We think he has a ton of upside. We think with the amount of time he’s going to invest in himself, to make himself a player, we think he’s got a really good chance to be an NHL goaltender for a long time.

“It’s all up to him. The one thing about young players is they think they’re NHL ready right now and they push the envelope. This guy is very aware of and respects the fact there is a number of steps you have to go through to make the jump as a NHL player for a long period of time. We like that he’s willing to invest in himself.”

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