The Belleville Senators made a pair of announcements on Thursday. The first was that the team had signed two assistant coaches: David Bell and Colin Chaulk. Bell was an assistant coach with the AHL Ontario Reign the previous two seasons, and was also an AHL assistant coach with the Springfield Falcons from 2007-2009. In between those, he was coaching in the OHL, including being head coach of the Niagara Ice Dogs for the 2016-17 season. Chaulk was previously the head coach and VP of Hockey Operations for the team's ECHL affiliate, the Brampton Beast. Fred Lemay, the video coach of the Beast, has also been promoted to the B-Sens' video coach. Former assistants Paul Boutilier and Ryan Murphy as well as video coach Tyler May were not retained, leaving head coach Troy Mann and goaltending coach Kory Cooper as the only coaching staff returning from next season. It was not revealed what the new assistants will be in charge of. The staff will try to bring AHL playoff hockey to Belleville for the first time ever after the team fell just short last year.
In other news, the B-Sens have also extended forward Joseph LaBate. The extension is for one year and is not two-way, though salary was not disclosed. The 26 year old appeared in 70 games for Belleville last year, leading the team in PIMs with 106, as well as contributing eight goals and five assists. He will provide veteran leadership on a team that is projected to be very young. He has no points in 13 career NHL games with the Vancouver Canucks, and has 60 points and 354 PIMs in 215 career AHL games spent with Utica and Belleville.
The Sens also announced an extension for Jack Rodewald. The extension is one-year, two-way, carrying a value of $725k in the NHL and $100k in the AHL. Rodewald led the B-Sens in goals with 23 and also contributed 24 assists in 59 games last season. The 25-year-old forward has no points in 10 games with the NHL Sens over the last two seasons. He will also be a veteran leader for a young AHL squad next year. It's safe to say that his career has greatly outpaced expectations after he signed with the then-ECHL affiliate Wichita Thunder after standing out in the Sens' rookie camp as an undrafted invitee in 2016.