(This post is part of a fundraiser for 826 Boston, a non-profit tutoring and writing center. For a donation of $50 or more, readers can get me to write anything about hockey they want, so donate today to make me say stuff by clicking here. I probably don’t believe the nonsense below, which was requested by Jo Innes.)
Andrew Hammond has rather quickly built up a nice little cult of personality behind a .954 save percentage over nine appearances this year, and in his NHL career he has allowed just 12 goals on 272 shots. Which is crazy.
But before we go about setting any “goalie of the future” type expectations, it’s important to keep in mind that at all other levels of the sport, Hammond hasn’t been much more than average. His best season in junior was when he went .912 as a 20-year-old for Vernon in the BCHL; the BCHL might not be a goaltending league, but .912 was only sixth, and again, he was 20.
When he played at Bowling green, his final year was his best one, as he went .917 in 29 games for what was admittedly not a great team. That was tied for 37th in the NCAA. No one outside the top 30 was less than .920.
And so far in his young pro career — two seasons, and keep in mind he’s already 27 — he’s played 73 games at the AHL level. Career save percentage: .905, which is likewise not very good at all.
So yes, Hammond’s stopping a lot of pucks at the NHL level these days, but the odds that a 27-year-old first-year player (the NHL doesn’t technically consider him a rookie because he’s older than 26) is anywhere near this good, after posting middling numbers in every other league, is extremely low. Let’s put it this way: Henrik Lundqvist is a career .921 goaltender, and he’s basically one of the greatest at his position of all time. Dominik Hasek is a career .926 — okay, sure, different era — and that nicely illustrates how little this kid is capable of keeping up anything remotely resembling those numbers. He’s faced more than 8,000 shots in his career, and the numbers in these few NHL games are such an outlier that it’s insane.
I mean, just look at this:
And just in case you think I’m fudging it, I did indeed look up every shot he’s ever faced at a competitive level. He’s a .905 goalie.
So, Craig Anderson for a while longer then?
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