Curtis Lazar has spent most of his pro career in the NHL. ©2019, Hickling Images

Sabres sign Andrew Hammond, Curtis Lazar and others for depth

BUFFALO – As general manager Jason Botterill promised, the Sabres added a third goalie shortly after free agency opened Monday, signing veteran Andrew Hammond.

Hammond, whose one-year, one-way deal is worth $700,000, is best known for compiling a 20-1-2 record as a rookie with the Ottawa Senators in 2014-15 and earning “The Hamburglar” nickname.

Overall, Hammond, 31, has put together a 27-15-6 mark with a 2.31 goals-against average, a .923 save percentage and four shutouts in 56 career NHL outings.

The 6-foot-2, 223-pound Hammond spent last season with the Iowa Wild. He has also played for the Colorado Avalanche.

The Bowling Green product will likely start the upcoming season with the Rochester Americans and serve as a mentor for top Sabres goalie prospect Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen.

Luukkonen and Jonas Johansson, another young goalie, both underwent surgery earlier this year. Botterill said the Sabres don’t want to force them into NHL action.

“This was something we really wanted to focus in on and make sure we wanted to cover ourselves there,” Botterill said of adding a third netminder. “You look at Andrew’s past success in the American Hockey League and whenever he’s gone up to the National Hockey League, he’s also had success.

“We just wanted to get more strength in our organization in case we do run into injuries. It gave us more depth.”

The other one-way signings the Sabres made Monday:

– Forward Curtis Lazar inked a one-year, $700,000 contract.

Lazar, 24, scored 20 goals and 41 points in 57 games last season with the Stockton Heat, the Calgary Flames’ AHL affiliate. He played one NHL contest.

The Ottawa Senators drafted the 6-foot, 205-pound Lazar in the first round in 2013, 17th overall. Lazar has compiled 15 goals and 51 points in 246 career NHL contests.

The Flames didn’t give Lazar, who could be bound for the AHL again, a qualifying offer last week.

Lazar captained Team Canada to a gold medal at the 2015 World Junior Championship. Sabres winger Sam Reinhart and Edmonton Oilers superstar Connor McDavid also played on that club.

“That’s what we tried to do with all these signings today: Have a training camp that has a lot of competition and pushing,” Botterill said. “Having a lot of competition at each position. What we liked about Curtis is his ability to play both center and wing.”

– Defenseman John Gilmour signed a one-year, $700,000 contract.

Gilmour, 26, enjoyed a monster AHL season in 2018-19, scoring 20 goals and 54 points in 70 outings with the Hartford Wolf Pack, the New York Rangers’ affiliate. He also went pointless in five NHL games.

“What we like a lot about his game is certainly the threat with his big shot, just his ability to skate, his ability to get up in the play,” Botterill said.

The Flames drafted Gilmour in the seventh round in 2013, 198th overall.

The 6-foot, 190-pound Gilmour has compiled two goals and five points in 33 career NHL games.

– The Sabres signed center Jean-Sebastien Dea to a two-year, $1.4 million deal.

Dea, 25, bounced around last season, playing for the Pittsburgh Penguins, New Jersey Devils and two AHL clubs – the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins and Springfield Thunderbirds.

The 5-foot-11, 175-pound Dea compiled four goals and six points in 20 NHL outings and 17 goals and 44 points in 46 AHL contests in 2018-19. He has scored five goals and seven points in 29 career NHL games.

Botterill and Amerks GM Randy Sexton know Dea from their days in Pittsburgh.

The Amerks also re-signed forward Dalton Smith to a one-year AHL contract Monday.

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