Enter “The Hamburglar”

The newest New Jersey Devil has made his way to practice with the club.

Sam Kasan reported earlier today on the Devils app “Injury Report” that goalie Andrew Hammond was with the Devils on the ice earlier Tuesday for practice.

Hammond told Kasan “[i]t was my first time getting into a practice in a little while. It’s always fun being out there.”

As Kasan noted, Hammond, who was acquired by the Devils at the trade deadline from the Montreal Canadiens in exchange for forward Nate Schnarr, has been battling a lower body injury this season.

With the Habs, he had played in four games this season prior to his injury, notching a 3-0 record with a 2.40 goals against average and a .920 save percentage on the season. Kasan mentioned his 60 career NHL games, where his overall record is 30-15-6 with a 2.31 GAA and a .923 save percentage.

Kasan stated that “there is no target date for when he could rejoin the lineup and dress for a game” despite practicing.

Hammond continued: “It was another step forward. I feel good. I got through practice. That was the first step. I feel good after. I just need to keep building on it. We’ll see how much longer (until a return). I’m trying to get up to game speed. But it was a positive day today.”

Kasan explained that Hammond’s injury and the Devils having been on the road for the week since the deadline has kept the goaltender from having “a chance to be around the team and his new teammates/coaches until recently.”

But Hammond liked what he has seen so far, telling Kasan: “Now that I’ve had a few days here it’s been great. They have a good group here. It’s tight-knit, and they make it very easy for a new player like myself to bled in and be one of the guys. All-in-all, I couldn’t have asked for a better experience so far.”

The Devils will be traveling to Boston for a Thursday night tilt with the Bruins at TD Garden later this week.

Devils Sign Halonen to ELC

The Devils announced today the signing of college free agent Brian Halonen to a 2-year Entry Level Contract. The forward will also sign an American Hockey League Amateur Tryout Contract and report to the Utica Comets this week.

The ELC will kick in for the 2022-23 NHL season.

The 23-year-old winger from Michigan Tech had 21 goals and 23 assists (44 points) over 36 games with the Huskies this past season. That was sixth in the NCAA with those 21 goals and his 44 points was good for eighth overall in the NCAA. He finished first in the nation in five-on-five goals according to the Devils’ PR department’s press release on him.

Halonen finished the season as a top-10 finalist for the Hobey Baker Award – he will be going up against Devils draft pick and University of Michigan defenseman Luke Hughes.

Halonen was named to the All-Central Collegiate Hockey Association (CCHA) First Team in the postseason this year after he led the CCHA in total points (36) as well as goals in conference games this season.

He played in 138 total games in his four years at Michigan Tech (spanning 2018-19 to 2021-22) and had 53 goals and 52 assists over that time totaling 105 points. The 6-foot tall, 215-pound winger also had ten game-winning goals in his collegiate career.

In 2018-19, he won the Michigan Tech Huskies’ Norbert Matovich Memorial Outstanding Freshman Award. He had 12 goals and nine assists for 21 points in his rookie season.

He is a native of Delano, Minnesota and played two seasons with the Des Moines Buccaneers of the United States Hockey League prior to his time at Michigan Tech.

During the 2017-18 season, his 35 points placed him third on the Buccaneers in points and his 19 assists was tied for first. He also had 16 goals that season with Des Moines.

In addition to that, the Devils also announced that forward AJ Greer and defenseman Kevin Bahl have been sent back to Utica.