While things aren't so rosy these days for the Binghamton Senators, there is two players that are having productive seasons as I profile a defenseman and a forward with aspiring dreams of making the NHL someday, Fredrik Claesson and Ryan Dzingel.
#3 Fredrik Claesson
The 23-year-old Swede is playing the role of a mentor this season being paired up with rookie Ben Harpur in showing how to be a pro stabilizing the defense. Whether it's working or not is up to debate, but there isn't a better defenseman willing to take on the task other then Claesson, as he's often mentioned before that he wants to be a leader on the team although he doesn't where the 'A' on his jersey (which he deserving has earned imo), as that has been handed out to some other players with previous NHL experience like Michael Kostka and Mark Fraser.
The edge that Claesson holds is he has been a fixture on the blueline for Binghamton for four seasons and has been consistently better than most in a shut down type of player. He excels on the penalty kill and is always the one out on the ice killing penalties and the occasional five on three situations.
Claesson is not know to be a big offensive threat (2g, 6a, -6 in 26 games), but more of a type of shutting down the lanes and likes to be physical with the occasional hip check that he so effectively follows through with. A very reliable player that Luke Richardson loves using in tight situations.
Although it's been a rough go with the team struggling in finding a way to be somewhat consistent, so goes the flow of the players as Freddy is no exception as he has been off a bit making some minor mistakes. Perhaps stringing some wins together would cure his ill's along with the teammates. Maybe he's met all the challenges that the minors have given. Quite possibly Claesson is just frustrated by not been giving an opportunity as he recently was involved in two fights in a single game against the Syracuse Crunch last week matching his overall total of last season.
There has been some rumors that he might return to his homeland and play for his beloved Djurgården hockey team in Johanneshov, Sweden if Ottawa doesn't tender a new contract after signing an extension over the off season. And I don't blame him if he doesn't get a shot after all his time playing in Binghamton.
Whatever the case, he's ready. The Ottawa Senators could use a guy like Claesson to help stabilize their broken defense. Ottawa should do the right thing and give Freddy a chance with absolutely no regrets.
#43 Ryan Dzingel
(Edit: This article was completed and published date was set prior to Dzingel's call-up on Monday.)
One of the better players that brings his 'A' game consistently and has recently turned it up a notch while producing points emerging as the club leader with 22. Also leads with 15 assists and has seven goals featuring a highlight type in last Saturday night's win over Lehigh Valley. Used in the top six with veteran Eric O'Dell and winger Buddy Robinson lately but also saw some time at center with Matt Puempel and Max McCormick/Cole Schneider.
As a full second year pro playing in Binghamton, the 23-year-old native out of Wheaton, IL has the capabilities to be a bottom six player in the NHL soon if he keeps progressing the way he has. Speed is his biggest strength as I would love to see him go against Shane Prince.
Drafted seventh by Ottawa in 2011 and played for four seasons at Ohio State University before turning pro in 2014 with nine games in Binghamton (2g, 5a) towards the end of the season. Dzingel was the leading scorer on the Buckeyes in his junior year while serving as one of the assistant captain’s netting 22 goals, 24 assists in 37 games. He also was elected to the All-Big Ten First Team and AHCA West First-Team All-American in 2013-'14.
Might need to add some weight as his speed will work in the AHL but that could be an issue when facing bigger, more experienced players in the NHL. He's got time in his development to fill out while continue to improve in finishing out his play-making abilities while carrying the puck in the offensive zone. Should be a strong contender for next year's opportunity in training camp as he's still a ways off before getting a call.
So far Dzingel is doing what needs to be while learning the game as his days of being a healthy scratch are long behind him. He's currently playing in his second season of a two-year contract that should turn into a two-way deal for the 2016-'17 season. Lately with the way he has been playing, this puts him back to the head of the class within the prospect pool.
Heading back to Chicago for Christmas with @Classeman14 ... Fired up— Ryan Dzingel (@Ryandzingel) December 20, 2015
~ Here's Having a Merry Christmas everyone!
*Cover Pic & Insert Courtesy of Alicia Strauch