Earlier today, it was confirmed that Shane Prince was sent back to Binghmaton. This afternoon it was confirmed that Matt Puempel will take his place, playing on Saturday against the Panthers.
#Sens confirm Matt Puempel has been recalled to replace Shane Prince who was sent down.— Bruce Garrioch (@SunGarrioch) February 19, 2015
Prince played two games with the big Senators this year, registering an assist in the first game. This will be Puempel's first NHL game.
Both players were drafted in the 2011 draft, with Puempel going 24th overall and Prince going 61st overall. Despite the higher draft pedigree, injuries and a suspension slowed Puempel's development. Additionally, Prince is in his third professional season, while Puempel is only in his second (he played 11 AHL games in the two years previous to last year's rookie season). Last year, Puempel overcame a slow start to post 30 goals in his AHL rookie season. He also posted 18 assists in 74 games. This year, in 51 games he only has 12 goals but has already put up 20 assists.
It appears that the Sens are looking to see what they have in both of their young wingers. It is still a surprise though that the team is not keeping up a spare healthy forward despite having spent a large chunk of the season with 23 skaters and Marc Methot on IR. It looks like sending Prince down was purely a financial move. Still, late in a season in which the playoffs are all but impossible, it adds an element of excitement to see some prospects play who may be full-time NHLers as early as next season.