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) – Ottawa’s five-game point streak came to an end Wednesday night at home against the New York Islanders. With six games to play and five points separating them from the Columbus Blue Jackals, who currently occupy the final wild card spot, those two lost points to the Islanders damaged the Senators playoff chances. Ottawa holds a 32-30-14 record and maintains the sixth position in the Atlantic Division. They will be forced to move on without Bobby Ryan, who has been lost for the season after undergoing sports hernia surgery today, and captain Jason Spezza, who has missed the last two games with a lower-body injury. Additionally, forward Colin Greening has missed the last three games with a lower-body injury and defenseman Jared Cowen has missed the last two contests with a lower-body injury. Young players like Mark Stone and Mike Hoffman have been slowly wading into the NHL, but because of the injured contributors they have been forced into larger-than-expected roles. Stone, 21, has one goal, four points and a plus-seven rating in the last six games. The Winnipeg, Manitoba native was drafted in the sixth round (178th overall) by Ottawa in the 2010 NHL Draft and has exceeded some expectations by reaching the NHL in his second professional season. Last year Stone posted 38 points in 54 AHL games with Binghamton and four pointless NHL games. This season he matched his point totals in just 35 games, which led to his current prolonged stint with Ottawa. Hoffman, 24, has played in 20 NHL games this season after logging just four combined in the last two seasons. The Kitchener, Ontario native recorded 67 points in 51 games with Binghamton this season so an extended promotion was in order. He has two goals and four points with Ottawa this season.
Binghamton Senators (AHL) – The only team able to beat Binghamton in the last nine games dating back to March 9th has been the Albany Devils. The Senators have rebounded from a six-game losing streak to win seven of the last nine and protect their slim two-point cushion over Wilkes-Barre/Scranton in the East Division. Active leading scorer Stephane Da Costa has been on fire lately with 14 points (five goals, nine assists) over a nine-game point streak that came to an end last Friday. The Paris, France native leads the team with 40 assists and 58 points in just 55 games. Da Costa also has three goals and four points in 12 NHL games. Ottawa recalled Jean-Gabriel Pageau on Sunday after he posted seven goals and ten points in 12 games with Binghamton this month. Binghamton recalled Danny Hobbs from Elmira that same day and recalled Scott Greenham on Sunday. Hobbs has two points in his first seven AHL games with the Senators and Greenham is 3-0-1 with a 2.92 goals-against-average and a .901 save percentage. With many junior and college teams’ seasons coming to an end Binghamton added two additional players on Wednesday. Garrett Thompson, 24, signed a one-year entry-level contract with Ottawa on Tuesday after his collegiate season at Ferris State came to an end. Thompson led the Bulldogs with 16 goals and tied for the team lead with 32 points in 42 games as an alternate captain this season. Ottawa selected Ryan Dzingel in the 7th round (#204 overall) of the 2011 NHL Draft and has seen him flourish at Ohio State University. The 22-year-old recorded 108 points (45 goals, 63 assists) in 110 NCAA games for the Buckeyes. This season Dzingel set career highs with 22 goals, 24 assists and 46 points in 37 games. He was named one of the ten finalists for the 2014 Hobey Baker Award, which is awarded to the top collegiate hockey player. Binghamton has added some new weapons for the playoff push with nine games remaining in the regular season. The Senators are 40-21-6 and sit third in the Eastern Conference.
New Jersey Devils (NHL) – The Devils have clawed their way within three points of the final wild card spot in the Eastern Conference with their current five-game point streak. New Jersey holds a 32-28-16 record with six games remaining in the regular season. The Devils would be tied for the second wild card position if they won just three of their 11 shootouts this season. New Jersey’s 0-11 record in shootouts makes them the only team remaining in the league that has not won a shootout. Also, New Jersey’s 11 shootout losses are the most in the NHL. The latest shootout loss came on Tuesday against the league’s worst team, Buffalo. Trade Deadline acquisition, Tuomo Ruutu, scored in the game and has six points in 13 games since the trade. Travis Zajac scored his first career hat trick and tied his career high with a four-point effort in Monday’s 6-3 win over Florida. Zajac now ranks fourth on the team with 43 points and fifth in goals (16) and power-play points (15). Jaromir Jagr continues to impress the entire hockey community. Jagr notched three assists and a four-point night in Monday’s victory. The Kladno, Czech Republic native leads the team with 40 assists and 64 points while playing in each of New Jerseys’ 76 games. Ryane Clowe has struggled to stay healthy this season and it looks like he will be out again. He suffered a head injury during the second period of Monday’s game and did not return. Clowe had a goal and two assists in the game but unfortunately couldn’t continue. Jon Merrill has missed the last two games after taking a shot off his face in the third period of Saturday’s game against the New York Islanders. Joining Clowe and Merrill on the injured list are Tim Sestitio, who hasn’t played since March 20, Anton Volchenkov, who has been sidelined since March 22, and Bryce Salvador, who has sat out the last four games.
Albany Devils (AHL) – With eight games left in the regular season the Devils sit sixth in the Eastern Conference with a 35-21-12 record. The Devils have a five point cushion over Norfolk, who has fallen to ninth in the conference, and are searching for their first playoff appearance since relocating to Albany. The Devils have been a strong defensive team all season and much of the success in March was due to Scott Wedgewood. The rookie netminder out of Brampton, Ontario posted his best statistical month of his pro career with a 5-2 record, a stellar 1.70 goals-against-average and a .920 save percentage. Wedgewood also posted back-to-back shutouts March 15-16 to push his total to three. Defenseman Adam Larsson was recalled by New Jersey on Monday. Larsson had ten points (two goals, eight assists) in his last 15 games with Albany. Mike Sislo was recalled to New Jersey on Tuesday after notching 14 points (10 goals, 4 assists) in his last 17 games with Albany. Helping replace some of the scoring is rookie forward Stefan Matteau who has three points (two goals, one assist) in the last three games and has pushed his season totals to 13 goals and 24 points in 59 games. Fellow rookie Reid Boucher has three goals in the last five games and now has 19 on the season. The former Sarnia sniper ranks third on the team in goals and fifth in points. Albany has also signed Ben Johnson to an amateur tryout. The Calumet, Michigan native posted 53 points (28 goals, 25 assists) in 59 games this season for the Windsor Spitfires of the Ontario Hockey League. Johnson was drafted in the third round (#90 overall) by New Jersey in the 2012 NHL Draft. He is also a cousin of fellow Devils prospect Blake Pietila, who just completed his junior season at Michigan Tech.