ELMIRA, N.Y. - As the ECHL affiliate of the NHL's Ottawa Senators and New Jersey Devils, and the AHL's Binghamton Senators and Albany Devils, the Jackals are tasked with developing prospects throughout the organizations. The Road To The Show presented by Liberty Travel provides details on how those prospects are progressing.
Ottawa Senators (NHL) – With the Winter Olympics taking center stage and the NHL halted it is a good time to gauge where the Senators sit in the playoff race. Ottawa heads into the break with a 26-22-11 record and a 5-3-2 mark in its last ten games. The Senators have held steady in the sixth spot in the Atlantic Division for the majority of the season. They are currently one point behind Detroit and seven points behind Montreal and Toronto. The top three teams in each division are guaranteed a playoff spot with the final two openings decided by overall points. Ottawa is tied with Columbus and Washington with 63 points – one behind Detroit for the final wild card spot. Norris Trophy contender Erik Karlsson will be relied upon heavily to help Ottawa push for the playoffs. The Swedish Olympian leads all NHL defensemen and his teammates with 55 points. Karlsson is also tied for fifth in the league with 25 power-play points – one more than Claude Giroux and four more than Evgeni Malkin. Karlsson also kicked off his Olympic debut yesterday with two goals in Sweden’s 4-2 win against the Czech Republic. He faced off against his teammate, Milan Michalek, who was held off the scoresheet for the Czechs. Chris Phillips remains out indefinitely with a lower body injury and Clarke MacArthur is questionable with a foot injury. Mark Stone is on the injured reserve and has not appeared with Binghamton since Ottawa reassigned him on February 6.
Binghamton Senators (AHL) – What a season Mike Hoffman is having. After struggling with a collarbone injury for the majority of the 2012-13 season the 24-year-old is having a resurgence in 2013-14. His 25 goals and 33 assists are both tops on Binghamton’s loaded roaster and his 58 points rank second in the AHL. Last night Hoffman scored once and added two assists for the AHL All-Stars in an international exhibition with Farjestad BK of the Swedish Elite League. His three-point night was good enough to earn him AHL player of the game honors. Hoffman has helped the Senators to a 29-15-4 record, which has earned them the top spot in the East Division. The former Saint John Sea Dog scored twice and added an assist in Binghamton’s last game before the break on Saturday. Danny New recorded an assist on Saturday and has three helpers in the last four games. The former Providence College captain has eight assists and nine points in 23 games with Binghamton. New started the season in Elmira and notched nine assists and 11 points in 22 games. Second-year forward Cole Schneider has already surpassed his career marks from last season. The UConn product has 15 goals and 37 points in 44 games. Schneider point total and plus-13 rating both rank third on the team. Defenseman Fredrik Claesson is in his second pro season and continues to progress offensively while providing the defensive acuity he is known for. He has 20 assists and 22 points and a team-leading plus-28 rating. Stephane Da Costa was returned from Ottawa so he could continue playing during the NHL break. Da Costa added an assist on Saturday and has six assists over a three-game assist streak that dates back to January 17. Danny Hobbs was returned on loan to Elmira after he recorded a goal and assist in his AHL debut on February 1.
New Jersey Devils (NHL) – New Jersey sits just five points out of an automatic playoff position in the Metropolitan Division with a 24-22-13 record, yet remains in seventh place. Six points separate six teams in the Metropolitan so the final push to the playoffs will be a tight race to the finish. New Jersey could be in a better position if they have capitalized on its chances to earn two points instead of just one. Only the Chicago Blackhawks have more overtime plus shootout losses in the league with 14. New Jersey has 13 overtime plus shootout losses and is 0-8 in shootouts. The ageless wonder Jaromir Jagr leads the team with 17 goals, 49 points and a plus-21 rating through 59 games. Jagr is currently competing in his fifth Olympics with the Czech Republic. Joining him on the Czech squad are his New Jersey teammates Patrik Elias and Marek Zidlicky. Jagr and Zidlicky scored both of the Czech Republic’s goals in its 4-2 loss to Sweden. Elias added an assist on Zidlicky’s tally. Damien Brunner had a game-high five shots for the Swiss in their 1-0 victory over Latvia. In the injury department, Anton Volchenkov remains on the injured list as questionable with a lower body injury. Defenseman Jon Merrill was loaned to Albany so he could continue playing during the NHL break. Merrill hasn’t appeared for Albany since November 23 and he recorded two assists in that game. Merrill scored his first NHL goal in overtime on Friday night to give the Devils a 2-1 win over Edmonton.
Albany Devils (AHL) – At the All-Star Break Albany has a 25-16-7 record and sits in ninth place in the Eastern Conference. The Devils are on the outside looking in currently after a 3-5-2 stretch over their last ten games. The addition of Jon Merrill who was reassigned by New Jersey will provide additional support on the blueline before the NHL begins play after the Winter Olympics. Fellow young defenseman Eric Gelinas was reassigned by New Jersey but cannot participate with Albany during the Olympic break due to NHL rules. On Saturday Keith Kinkaid left late in the second period of Albany’s game with a lower body injury. His current status is up in the air so Albany signed former NHL veteran Johan Hedberg to their roster. Kinkaid’s loss is a tough blow to Albany. The 24-year-old netminder has an 18-8-2 record with a 2.30 goals-against-average and a .914 save percentage in his breakout season. Joe Whitney continues to produce offensively for the Devils. Whitney leads the team with 17 goals, 21 assists and 38 points in 47 games. Whitney also registered two assists last night in the AHL All-Star Game. Despite still being tied for first among team defensemen with 15 points, Raman Hrabarenka has been out of the lineup for the last five games. The Mogilev, Belarus native had two assists in five games with Elmira prior to his call up to Albany. Rookie Reid Boucher leads Albany’s rookies with 11 goals in 29 games. Kelly Zajac, brother of Travis and Darcy, leads the Devils’ rookies with 20 assists and 27 points in 40 games.