The Ottawa Senators have extended 22 year old defenseman Fredrik Claesson to a one-year, two way contract extension worth $600K at the NHL level and $85k in the AHL. The young swede was part of the World Junior squad that took home the gold medal in 2012 Mika Zibanejad's overtime goal. Claesson was a fifth round pick in 2011 and has played with the Binghamton Senators since the 2012-13 season.
Claesson had 4 goals and 19 points for the B-Sens this year. While his plus/minus of -6 is a steep drop from his previous year's +37, it should be taken into consideration that the AHL squad generally struggled to outscore opponents at even strength this year, posting a cumulative -56 versus last year's +191. Claesson is a steady, reliable defenseman and brings depth and consistency to a Binghamton defense that could see a great deal of turnover in the near future.
From the Senators' Official website: "A Stockholm native, Claesson was presented with Binghamton’s "Top Defenseman" award following the 2013-14 season after establishing his current professional career high of 29 points and ranking second among all AHL players with a plus/minus rating of +37. In 221 professional games (all of which have occurred with the B-Sens) Claesson has recorded 59 points (10 goals, 49 assists), 132 penalty minutes and a plus/minus rating of +35."
Last year, the Silver Seven staff ranked Claesson at #13 for our Top 25 Under 25 series and the article can be found here. That column praised Claesson's defensive game, stating "Binghamton Coaches have praised Claesson for his strong defensive play and leadership skills, while assistant coach Steve Stirling says he's definitely the team's best defenceman after Mark Borowiecki. Claesson was relied upon heavily last season by Bingo and flourished, becoming one of the team's go-to men on the penalty kill."
Claesson has yet to make his first NHL appearance. Some would argue that Claesson's talent, skill set, and consistency should have resulted in an opportunity, or at least a look with the big club, particularly because so many other left-handed D-men had extensively documented struggles last season.
The issue for Claesson moving forward is the numbers game. With 8 defensemen signed to one way deals going into next season, and Borowiecki, Wiercicoch, Phillips, Cowen and Methot all playing the left side, something has to give for him to get that chance.