CALGARY, CANADA - JANUARY 5: Nikita Gusev #8 of Team Russia skates with the puck while being defended by Fredrik Claesson #7 of Team Sweden during the 2012 World Junior Hockey Championship Gold Medal game at the Scotiabank Saddledome on January 5, 2012 in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. (Photo by Richard Wolowicz/Getty Images)
As you've no doubt seen, the Ottawa Senators signed Fredrik Claesson,who was selected in the fifth round (126 overall) of the 2011 NHL Entry Draft, to a three-year entry-level contract. The Senators reported that Claesson will come over to North America for next season, and will likely suit up for the Binghamton Senators.
Claesson, if you don't recall, was ranked 23 in our listing of the Senators' top 25 players under 25 years of age.
Claesson played alongside Mika Zibanejad in Djurgardens this season, his second full season in the SEL, and finished with 7P (1G, 6A) in 47GP for the now-relegated team. The fact that his team will no longer be playing in Sweden's top league probably explains part of his reasoning for wanting to come to North America this season, as Nichols pointed out. He plays a mostly defensive game, and assistant GM Tim Murray said that his skating and mobility improved this season--although there's ample room for further improvement.
Claesson will be one of three rookie AHLers on what will be a very green blue line in Bingo, along with Chris Wideman and Ben Blood--the most experienced defenders on the B-Sens right now are third-year pros Patrick Wiercioch and Eric Gryba, plus second-year pro Mark Borowiecki (although BoroCop got a head start by playing with the team through the 2011 Calder Cup playoffs), and possibly the as-yet-unsigned Bobby Raymond, who spent parts of the last two seasons with Bingo and who the Sens' brass are apparently quite keen on. Don't be surprised if the Sens bring in some more AHL experience on the back-end next season, pushing one of Claesson, Wideman, or Blood to spend some of the season with the Elmira Jackals of the ECHL.
Links after the jump
- Discussions can get animated when Ottawa's top brass lay out their game plan for entry drafts. (Gazette)
- Stefan Noesen could crack the lineup for next season, but he'd need a heck of an off-season in the weight room to do so. (Sun)
- Luke Richardson is interested in the now-vacant Binghamton Senators head coaching job. (Citizen, Sun)
- A bunch of former B-Sens said a lot of good things about former B-Sens coach Kurt Kleinendorst. (Press & Sun Bulletin)
Around the league:
- Preview of the Western Conference Final. (SB Nation)
- I dread this: "The cold war between the NHL and NHLPA" (Raw Charge)
- Listen, Darren McLeod, I'mma let you finish, but Harrison Mooney just published one of the greatest photo captions of all time! Of ALL TIME! (Puck Daddy)
- The Anaheim Ducks re-signed Bruce Boudreau to a two-year extension, so he won't be coaching the B-Sens next season. Not that that was ever likely, but it would have been pretty great. (Anaheim Calling)
- Great piece by Mirtle on Ilya Kovalchuk and the continuing story of the tragic Yaroslavl plane crash. (Globe and Mail)
What do you think of the B-Sens blue line for next season?
Not much experience, so it could be a tough season for Robin Lehner (42 votes)
A steep learning curve, but thy're good prospects so they should pick it up quickly (98 votes)
Murray needs to bring in some experienced guys (60 votes)
They'll hit the ground running (27 votes)
227 total votes