There was a certain player that stood out during Binghamton’s training camp last September that myself, including the small gathering couldn’t quite put a finger on who he was with the lack of names attached to their jerseys.
After some careful thought, we all assumed it must be Buddy Robinson without a doubt in his stunning resemblance, including his 6’ 2”, 190 lb. frame with red hair, and a childish looking face. However, the problem was, Robinson was one of the few remaining players at the time with parent club Ottawa in their own camp. So It couldn’t be him.
It continued to stump us all on whomever he was and what he had to offer, in what looked like a plausible, gifted new talent that could bring for the local professional hockey team that we all root for here in Bingamton.
Although he didn’t make the cut, this unknown was good enough to sign a contract for the new ECHL affiliate out in Wichita, Kansas to begin the season playing for the Thunder. The mystery was soon resolved, as his name would later be revealed as Jack Rodewald. Good deal. But who exactly is Jack Rodewald?
"Jack can do it all..once he adjusts and defends in the pros and fends off defenders because of the strength and size of the players in those leagues, he'll find his game.'' ~ Moose Jaw coach Tim Hunter
I decided to take a look back and found out his playing days in the WHL were quite impressive. The former Moose Jaw Warriors’ standout piled up 63 goals and 77 assists in 129 games in two seasons back in 2013-’15 that was second best behind Brayden Point, who currently is with the Tampa Bay Lightning. Rodewald finished overall with 166 points (76g, 90a) in 255 contests in the WHL.
Next up, the Orlando Solar Bears of the ECHL the following season in 2015-’16 and his 18 goals, 29 assists in 62 games was good enough for fourth best on the Bears in his first full experience in the pros. Rodewald also appeared in 16 games mixed in his two seasons for the Toronto Marlies in which he had two assists.
After he was cut from Binghamton, he then went on and scored five goals along with three helpers in six games for the Thunder before being called up to Binghamton on November 10th, and he never looked back.
Alex from Wichita, was kind enough to share his thought’s concerning Rodewald’s playing time with the Thunder;
@Ski931 Rode did everything great. Creating scoring chances and was hardly out of position. After 2 games I knew we weren't keeping him long— Alex Wiens (@AlexWiens10) December 23, 2016
The 22 year-old Winnipeg native is currently signed to a PTO as a free agent and has emerged as one of the bright spots that has made an impact, on what has otherwise been a dismal season so far on a team that is starving for any kind of offensive output.
Rodewald has a history of being a point producer, as he has scored in the last three games while adding an assist for the BSens. He has recorded seven goals and three assists overall in 20 games for the Senators, which is good for fifth place in his first full season in the AHL, and is currently tied for second in goals for the club lead with Max McCormick, two behind Casey Bailey with nine.
Essentially Rodewald is at his best when attacking the net while creating screens by utilizing his size, as he comes off as a somewhat minor, but effective pest more then often that has stirred up a fracas here and there after stoppages. Somewhat playing in a grinder role you might say, as this team has sorely missed out in this category when compared to previous years.
But his shot percentage is ranked third amongst all rookies, & fourth overall with a 28% shot total with seven tallies on a mere 25 shots. Pretty impressive.
In my 1st Quarter Grades Report back in the first week of December, he was assessed a B- rating that was ranked above average after his first ten games when compared to the rest of the team. Something that will surely rise if he continues to excel in the second quarter.
Rodewald is currently on a PTO that is set to expire on Jan 6th, 2017 as the club’s budget was set in stone before his arrival with three already signed to a AHL contract with defensemen Guillaume Lepine and Chris Carlisle, along with forward Kyle Flanagan.
Regardless, Rodewald should be re-newed to another PTO that would be good for another 25 games, before the team would then face a decision on whether or not to release him, or be forced to sign him to a SPC. Which in turn would be a really good move if you ask some of the fans, as they share their sentiment’s on the subject manner;
He's been an excellent addition to a lackluster team. Adds a spark that many prospects haven't been able to bring. Deserves an ELC. #AHLS7S— Emily (@EmilyRose474) December 23, 2016
Rodewald is 1 of those players who never gives up. He's in there doing his best every game. Should be signed by us, he's earned it. #AHLS7S— Alicia Strauch (@AliciaS20) December 23, 2016
We need more players like Rodewald. He deserves a better team, but I'd like to see his productive work ethic rewarded with an ELC #AHLS7S— Erin Lynn (@Bing_da_Bling) December 23, 2016
Considering what’s at stake with the affiliation change coming up at the end of the season, local management can sign Rodewald during the upcoming summer if they so choose to do so.
Either way, he’s a solid lock to remain here in Binghamton the rest of the way and hopefully, he’ll continue to do his part to help secure a post-season position along with his teammates come this spring, including his ginger clone in Mr. Robinson.