Two months ago, NHL fans didn't know who Andrew Hammond was. Now, Ottawa Senators general manager Bryan Murray is being asked whether he is working to get him re-signed.

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This article was published 22/3/2015 (2379 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

Two months ago, NHL fans didn't know who Andrew Hammond was. Now, Ottawa Senators general manager Bryan Murray is being asked whether he is working to get him re-signed.

"Just tell him to stop the puck the rest of the year and we'll be fine," Murray said during the GM meetings about one of the NHL's hottest goalies.

CLOSECUT CLOSE CUT
Ottawa Senators' Andrew Hammond, nicknamed 'The Hamburglar' holds up a hamburger after it was thrown on the ice after he defeated the Philadelphia Flyers 2-1 in the shootout in NHL hockey action in Ottawa on Sunday, March 15, 2015. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick

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CLOSECUT CLOSE CUT Ottawa Senators' Andrew Hammond, nicknamed 'The Hamburglar' holds up a hamburger after it was thrown on the ice after he defeated the Philadelphia Flyers 2-1 in the shootout in NHL hockey action in Ottawa on Sunday, March 15, 2015. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick

Eight important questions to ponder heading into the stretch run of the NHL season:

1. Is Hammond a hot goalie or a developing goalie?

Maybe he is both, although the more likely scenario is he is riding a confidence wave rather than suddenly blossoming into an NHL super goalie.

Before he started on this 12-0-1 run, he had a .898 save percentage in the American Hockey League. Saturday morning, he had a .950 save percentage for the Senators.

Hammond, 27, could be a late bloomer. But the only important fact now is the Senators have their best chance of making the playoffs if he is in net. He didn't surrender more than two goals in a game until his 13th game.

Adrian Wyld / THE CANADIAN PRESS files 
A fan holds a sign as Ottawa Senators goalie Andrew �The Hamburglar� Hammond skates past.

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Adrian Wyld / THE CANADIAN PRESS files A fan holds a sign as Ottawa Senators goalie Andrew �The Hamburglar� Hammond skates past.

2. Who is benefiting most from trade deadline acquisitions?

Marek Zidlicky has given the Detroit Red Wings the right-shot defenceman they have wanted for their power play.

His offensive skills seem perfect for their puck-possession game. He had three goals and seven points in nine games.

By contrast, New York Rangers defenceman Keith Yandle had one goal in eight games. Andrej Sekera has two assists in 10 games with the Los Angeles Kings.

3. Is there still a race to finish last, guaranteeing Connor McDavid or Jack Eichel in the draft?

Absolutely. The Buffalo Sabres lost their game in hand on Friday and remained in last place by three points, but they still must play the 29th-place Arizona Coyotes twice.

The Coyotes had one win in 17 games. Both teams shed key players at the trade deadline.

Sean Kilpatrick / THE CANADIAN PRESS files 
Ottawa Senators goalie Andrew Hammond has taken the NHL by storm since being called up from the AHL. Entering Saturday�s action he was 12-0-1 with a .950 GAA.

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Sean Kilpatrick / THE CANADIAN PRESS files Ottawa Senators goalie Andrew Hammond has taken the NHL by storm since being called up from the AHL. Entering Saturday�s action he was 12-0-1 with a .950 GAA.

4. Is there any chance Cam Talbot will be the Rangers' playoff goalie?

Not unless Henrik Lundqvist has a setback in his injury recovery. He was supposed to return to practice on Friday but missed it because of the birth of his daughter.

Fan chatter about Talbot replacing Lundqvist is not grounded in reality. Lundqvist is considered one of the NHL's top goalies, and Talbot has been hot for 11 games. Don't forget he was average when he first received the call to replace Lundqvist.

5. If the playoffs started today, who would be the favourite?

The Rangers are playing the best in the Eastern Conference, but don't count out the St. Louis Blues, Chicago Blackhawks and Kings (if they make it).

6. Is there a sleeper in the playoff pool?

The Minnesota Wild are sneaky good, with an impressive lineup from top to bottom. If goalie Devan Dubnyk continues to play at a high level, the Wild are true Stanley Cup contenders.

With Barry Trotz behind the bench, the Washington Capitals could be a sleeper in the Eastern Conference. Alex Ovechkin is the most dangerous player in the game right now.

7. Who will win the Norris Trophy?

It's too close to call. Votes could be scattered among 10 players.

Nashville Predators defenceman Shea Weber is probably overdue, as is Drew Doughty (Los Angeles).

But Erik Karlsson (Ottawa), P.K. Subban (Montreal Canadiens), Duncan Keith (Chicago) and Kris Letang (Pittsburgh Penguins) are all worthy Norris candidates.

8. Are the Penguins going to be a better playoff team?

They are playing a style more conducive to post-season success, but it's difficult to know where they are as a team because of multiple injuries.

But in some of their games, they appear to be their own worst enemy. They have not kicked the habit of letting their emotions get the best of them.

--USA Today