Welcome to Last Word on Hockey’s One Hit Wonder series. Each day, we will take a look at a new team’s three biggest one-hit wonders. These are players that had one great season or playoff run but never did anything like that again. Join us every day for a new team! Today we take a look at the Ottawa Senators One Hit Wonders.
The Ottawa Senators Top Three One Hit Wonders
The first of the Ottawa Senators one-hit wonders is Andrew Hammond. Hammond played four years at Bowling Green State University. He received the ‘Hamburglar’ nickname, after the McDonald’s mascot, in college because he ‘ate up pucks.’ In Hammond’s final season in college, he had a 2.47 goals-against-average, and a .917 save percentage earning him a contract with the Ottawa Senators.
The 2013-14 season was Hammond’s first with the Senators’ organization. He appeared in 48 AHL games with the Binghamton Senators and posted a 2.81 goals against average, and a .910 save percentage. He appeared in his first NHL game in February of that year against the Detroit Red Wings after Robin Lehner was pulled. Hammond stopped all 11 shots he faced in a 6-1 loss.
Hammond’s one-hit-wonder season didn’t start that way. He was playing in the AHL and took a step back from the season before. He had a 3.51 goals-against-average and a .898 save percentage, his record was 7-12-2.
But things quickly turned around for him. Both of Ottawa’s two goaltenders. Craig Anderson and Robin Lehner were hurt, so Hammond made his first NHL start on February 18 against the Montreal Canadiens. He stopped 42 out of 44 shots for the win and never looked back. When Hammond took over, the Senators were nine points out of a playoff spot. Ottawa went on a run, winning 21 out of their next 27 games making the playoffs. Hammond set an NHL record by not giving up more than two goals a game during his first 12 NHL games.
Hammond only lost one game in regulation through 24 games. He posted a 1.79 and a .948 save percentage. It was enough to earn him votes for the Vezina and Hart Trophies.
Hammond’s popularity exploded. Because of his Hamburglar nickname, fans started throwing McDonald’s hamburgers on the ice after wins to celebrate him, Senators’ rookie Curtis Lazar even picked one up and ate it. McDonald’s gave Hammond $1,000 worth of coupons.
Hammond’s success didn’t last in the playoffs. He started Ottawa’s first two playoff games but lost both of them. Ottawa went back to veteran netminder Anderson for Game Three but they ultimately fell to Montreal in six games.
Hammond’s one-hit season was utterly crazy and random. It is hockey’s equivalent to pop culture’s Gangnam Style in 2012. He is the greatest of the Ottawa Senators one-hit wonders.
After the Wonder
Hammond had a solid following season as Anderson’s backup. He posted a 2.65 goals-against-average and a .914 save percentage. The Senators, however, missed the playoffs.
In 2016-17, Hammond struggled; In six games, he had a 4.08 goals-against-average, and a .837 save percentage. He got hurt, and Ottawa traded for Mike Condon as an emergency because Anderson was off helping his family while his wife was battling cancer. Condon was excellent for Ottawa, posting a .914 save percentage over 40 games and stole the backup job from Hammond.
He had one more game of magic left in him. In the 2018 playoffs, the Avalanche were down 3-1 in their first-round series against Nashville. Colorado had their top two goalies hurt, so they needed Hammond to play. He rose to the occasion stopping 44 of 45 shots to lead the Avalanche to a 2-1 win. The magic didn’t last for long. In-game six, Hammond surrendered five goals in a 5-0 loss, and Nashville eliminated Colorado.
Hammond hasn’t seen NHL action since. He has played the last two seasons in the AHL for the Iowa Wild and the Rochester Americans.
The second of the Ottawa Senators one-hit wonders is Ron Tugnutt. Tugnutt started his career with the Quebec Nordiques and played four seasons with them. His claim to fame as a member of the Nordiques was when he stopped 70 out of 73 shots in a 3-3 tie against the Boston Bruins. It remains the second-most saves ever made in an NHL regular-season game.
Tugnutt would make stops with the Edmonton Oilers, Anaheim Ducks, and Montreal Canadiens before joining the Ottawa Senators for the 1996-97 season. By the end of the season, he formed a solid goaltending tandem with Damian Rhodes. Tugnutt shutout the Buffalo Sabres in April of 1997 to help Ottawa clinch their first playoff berth.
During the 1998-99 season, Ron Tugnutt was one of the best goalies in the league. His 1.79 goals-against-average was the best in the NHL, and his .925 save percentage was third. He played in his only NHL All-Star game, finished fifth in the Vezina Trophy race and received a vote for the Hart Trophy.
However, Tugnutt didn’t play well in the playoffs. He played in two games and had a 3.06 goals-against-average, and a .854 save percentage. Rhodes played much better with a 2.39 goals-against-average, and .908 save percentage. But Ottawa got swept in the first round by Buffalo.
After the Wonder
During the off-season, Rhodes was traded to the expansion Atlanta Thrashers, making Tugnutt the undisputed starter. However, the season didn’t go well for him. He had a .899 save percentage and a 2.54 goals-against-average. Ottawa traded him to the Pittsburgh Penguins for veteran goalie Tom Barrasso.
In Game Four of the second round of the playoffs that year, Tugnutt made another 70 saves against the Philadelphia Flyers. It took five overtimes before Keith Primeau of the Flyers eventually scored the winner. The Flyers won the series but Tugnutt was fantastic in the playoffs. He posted a 1.77 goals-against-average and a .945 save percentage.
Tugnutt then moved on to the expansion Columbus Blue Jackets and had an excellent 2000-01 season. He posted a 2.44 goals-against-average, a .917 save percentage and had 22 wins, which broke the record for the most wins by an expansion team goaltender. Sixteen years later, Marc-Andre Fleury broke that record with the Vegas Golden Knights with 29 wins.
The third player of the Ottawa Senators one-hit wonders is Norm Maciver. Maciver is an offensive defenceman. In college, he scored 123 points in his final two seasons with the University of Minnesota-Duluth which earned him a contract with the New York Rangers. Maciver bounced around from the NHL and AHL for five seasons before becoming a full-time player at the age of 26. That season, 1991-92, Maciver scored an impressive 40 points in 57 games and was second on the team in defensive scoring.
Even after a strong previous season, Edmonton placed him on waivers at the start of the year, and Ottawa claimed him. The Senators were horrendous that season, finishing with an abysmal 110-70-4. Amongst all the losing, Maciver somehow thrived.
Maciver played 80 games for the Senators and scored a career-high 17 goals, 46 assists and 63 points to lead the team in scoring by 15 points. He also finished 12th in NHL scoring by defenceman. He ended the season by scoring five points in eight games for Canada at the World Championships.
After the wonder
The following season, Maciver suffered a bruised heart injury in a preseason game against the Canadian Olympic team. It left him not being able to consume as much oxygen as he used to because his heart was not pumping efficiently enough. Maciver was able to play 53 games that year and scored 23 points.
Between 1994-1996 Maciver played for the Senators, Pittsburgh Penguins and Winnipeg Jets. He played well and scored 73 points during those two seasons. Maciver stayed with the Jets franchise when they moved to Phoenix and played two more seasons there. He retired in 1999.
Since his retirement, he has been involved in NHL management. He served as the Chicago Blackhawks assistant general manager from 2012-2020. He was demoted to vice president of player personnel recently.