Y'all remember this, right?
As trade deadline nears, hearing rumblings Ottawa prospect Shane Prince is considering serious offer from KHL if not traded. #Sens— Russ Bitely (@russbites) February 24, 2014
Turned out that tweet by someone named Russ Bitely last year coming out of thin air caused quite an uproar within the Senators' community that had many believing it had some kind of validation to it, but his new one-year, two-way contract (worth $700,000 NHL/$120,000 AHL) put an end to any speculation, as tweeted by Prince himself after his re-signing;
Excited to be back with the @Senators for another season. Looking forward to great things!!— Shane Prince (@ShanePrince18) July 15, 2015
Looking back at it all now, the first indication proving it to be only a rumor that didn't have any legs was Prince wasn't included in the Robin Lehner deal which would've been a pretty good package heading to Buffalo.
So with that not taking place, let's move on, shall we?
The 22-year-old continues to chase his passionate dream of becoming an everyday regular in the NHL and he got a taste of it making his debut on Feb 16 and recording his first point, (an assist) against the Carolina Hurricanes, the same night Lehner was injured that ultimately led to the end of his playing days as a Senator.
Either Prince makes it out of training camp for Ottawa, or he will return for his fourth season in Binghamton as his addition to the B-Sens would be an offensive plus while being one of the first call-ups ready to go when needed. He'll fit quite nicely on the top line with Cole Schneider and either Eric O'Dell or Curtis Lazar, as the two capable centers should fit in.
The quick moving forward has developed to attack the net breaking down his marginal perimeter play that saw him sit the pine for a handful of games by HC Luke Richardson a couple of seasons ago. From that, to having been selected in representing Binghamton (along with Chris Wideman) in the AHL All-Star Classic event and recorded a hat trick in the actual game itself, is noteworthy progress.
Last season was Shane's best, producing 28 goals and 37 assists in 72 games in leading the club in goals and points while keeping his penalties to a minimum with a mere 31. Played on the first line with Cole Schneider and Carter Camper, as that is where he stood out the most with Camper serving as the table setter. Quick hands with a wicked wrist shot and fast on his feet while crashing the net looking for the right opportunity to cash in are all positives.
Prince is more of a finesse type and reads the ice very well while circling the offensive zone up high looking for the right opportunity to strike and often succeeding while keeping the opposing netminder on their toes.
A fan favorite and darling of many Senators' fans, it's gratifying having a player of Shane's statue as he continues to develop and mature to be the best that he can after being selected as the team's Star of the Year award winner leading the club with the most curtain calls last season.
Prince has also been involved in his annual charity work running the 2015 Puck Cancer Beach Classic raising money for cancer research where teams of three compete on a beach in a hockey environment near his hometown of Rochester, NY.
While it's a depth signing for the Senators, Prince is seeing it as a real opportunity to make the big club and hasn't given up knowing it's a crowded situation with the current overflow of wingers in Ottawa. Where he fits in remains to be seen as Ottawa has some decisions to make after training camp with Colin Greening, Alex Chiasson or Chris Neil, as the organization heads towards the direction of the youth movement beginning this fall.
One player that perhaps stands in his way is team mate Matt Puempel. Strong on his feet and packed with energy, Puempel brings a slightly better balance of offensive skills as well as on defense. The former first rounder is almost a year younger then Prince as his enthusiastic goal celebrations are fun to watch no matter what the current score of the game is.
However, he took a step back in his second season as he tallied only 12 times in 51 games for Binghamton before getting an extensive call up during Ottawa's late season run after netting 30 in his rookie season. That aside, Matt is still high on the list of prospect rankings despite his previous lower point production.
This new contract featuring Prince is a good sign(ing) for future prospect's as Ottawa continues to impress lately supporting their partner's in Binghamton. In return, some of those will be paying off once again, with both Prince and Puempel out in front for the offense.
I'm looking forward to some good things to happen next season from Prince as this will be an important one coming up for him as well as the Binghamton Senators.
*Cover Pic Courtesy of Alicia Strauch