Top 25 Under 25, No. 24: Cole Schneider
After his first full season with the Binghamton Senators, Cole Schneider makes his first appearance in the S7S Top 25 Under 25 series.
Cole Schneider has very quietly become a prospect that people have started paying attention to. Undrafted, he played two seasons of NCAA Division 1 hockey with the University of Connecticut. In his first season with UConn, he was selected to the All-AHA (Atlantic Hockey Association) Rookie Team. He followed up that feat by setting school records for goals (23) and points (45) over 38 games in his sophomore season, going on to be selected to the All-AHA First All-Star Team. This standout second season convinced the Senators to sign him to an entry-level contract. He played the last 11 games of Binghamton's season in 2011-12, notching two assists in that time. In his first (and so far, only) full season with Binghamton, he played in 60 games, putting up 17 goals and 18 assists.
Signed as a low-hype college sophomore, it is impressive that people are even talking about his potential for a call-up this coming season. As a LW, he falls behind NHLers Clarke MacArthur, Milan Michalek, Colin Greening, and Mike Hoffman. He also has a far lower offensive projection than Shane Prince, Matt Puempel, or Alex Guptill, not including centres who may crack the Sens' lineup through a switch to LW, such as Jean-Gabriel Pageau or Curtis Lazar. He does however seem to promote a stronger defensive awareness that some of the aforementioned LW prospects, and has respectable point totals. Though 35 points in the AHL is nothing incredible, it's important to note that, as an example, Derek Grant put up 28 points in 63 games in the AHL last season. Grant is also a year older and had two more years of AHL experience going into 2013-14. Many view Grant as a strong candidate for a fourth-line, penalty kill specialist in the NHL. If Schneider can offer the same defensive ability with a better scoring touch, he may turn himself into an injury call-up this coming season.