Free Agent Dossier: Fredrik Claesson

Next up in our ongoing series of soon-to-be Senators free agents, we take a look at the future of pending RFA Fredrik Claesson.

Unlike getting the spelling of his first name correct the first time without using Google, it's not extremely difficult to predict what the Senators will do with Frederick Fredrik Claesson in the summer.

Even with the acquisition of Dion Phaneuf, which also saw Ottawa do away with Jared Cowen, the Senators' defensive depth is quite shaky. Their NHL defense corps might've been given a substantial upgrade, but the lineup after the top six defenders in the organization is questionable.

This makes Claesson, one of Binghamton's best defensemen, an important asset.

The 23-year-old is set to become a restricted free agent at the season's end, and the decision Senators management has to make seems like a no-brainer.

Of the defensemen playing with Ottawa's AHL affiliate in upstate New York, Claesson is the only one to earn playing time in the NHL this year. Brought in to fill a hole with Marc Methot injured and Cowen seriously struggling, Claesson was slotted alongside fellow Swede Erik Karlsson for a great deal of the eight games the Stockholm native was up for.

Plainly speaking, the 6'1" left-handed defenseman was average. And maybe he was actually a bit below average.

Claesson is a puck-moving defender who can hold the line in the offensive zone better than most of the Senators' current roster. But where he excels in stickhandling, getting pucks to the net (nine shots in eight games) and seeing the play develop moving forward, he lacks in defensive zone coverage and can be a tad careless during breakouts.

With 1.25 giveaways per game - the highest total of all Senators blueliners - Claesson was on the bad end of some bad goals against. He finished his stint in Ottawa with a plus-minus rating of minus-8.

We saw some great things from him in the few weeks he was with the big club. But Claesson's game seems a bit incomplete at the moment. He's young, so he's got age on his side, but the Senators will need him to develop quickly if they are to utilize him at the NHL level on a consistent basis any time soon.

Right now, the 2011 5th-rounder is a great fit for Binghamton. He's a decent call-up, and has a good chance to grow into a solid offensive defenseman.

The Senators shouldn't really have any problem signing him to another two-way contract. Claesson is a worth-while weapon to own for the future's arsenal.

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