Shane Prince set to make NHL debut tonight
Former Ottawa 67 Shane Prince is set to be in the lineup tonight for his first NHL game.
Shane Prince is set to make his NHL debut tonight against the Carolina Hurricanes, something the 22-year-old sounds extremely excited about. It's understandable, too -- just this past summer, there were unverified rumours that Prince had asked for a trade or was considering jumping to the KHL. A local favourite from his days with the Ottawa 67's -- putting up seasons of 88 and 90 points in his last two years with the club -- Prince has steadily improved in the AHL and is on pace for his best year yet. He's put up 38 points in 46 games so far, good for 19th in the league. His play was good enough to garner an invite to the AHL All-Star game a few weeks ago, where he put up a hat-trick.
Prince was ranked 14th in the most recent edition of this site's Top 25 Under 25 rankings, which was his third time being ranked in that spot. Prince's stability in that position might seem like a negative, but it's really a positive: after so many years in the system, one would expect his ranking to fall as shiny new prospects enter the system. Yet Prince has steadily improved each year -- his point-per-game pace in the AHL has risen from 0.54 in his first year, to 0.70 last year, to 0.82 this year -- keeping his stock high and the Senators are finally rewarding him for his hard work.
This makes Prince the third Senators draft pick from 2011 to step foot in a National Hockey League game, following Mika Zibanejad and Pageau. He likely won't be the last -- both Matt Puempel and Fredrik Claesson seem destined for at least a call up in the near future, likely after some room is made for call-ups prior to the trade deadline.