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) – As the March 5th Trade Deadline came and went teams either loaded up for a playoff run or tossed in the towel for the season. Ottawa was an active participant in the trade frenzy that ensued over the past week. The Senators began their movements when they placed Joe Corvo and Cory Conacher on waivers this past Tuesday. Corvo cleared waivers and was reassigned to the Chicago Wolves in the American Hockey League. The Buffalo Sabres picked up Conacher off waivers on Wednesday. Also on Wednesday Ottawa traded a 2014 fifth round pick and a 2015 third round pick to Edmonton for skilled forward Ales Hemsky. Hemsky, who compiled nine goals and 26 points in 55 games with the Oilers this season, will slot into the right wing on the top line with Jason Spezza and Milan Michalek. Defenseman Chris Phillips signed a two-year deal worth $5 million with the Senators amidst all the trade rumors. On the ice the Senators have stumbled out of the Olympic break. They are 1-3-0 since returning to action and only have eight goals scored in the four-game span. The lone win came against Vancouver on Sunday in the annual Heritage Classic at BC Place. Ottawa stayed in Western Canada and visited Edmonton and Calgary but lost both contests. New Senator Ales Hemsky scored twice for the Oilers in their 3-2 win over Ottawa the night before the Senators acquired him. Star defenseman Erik Karlsson scored in back-to-back games after his stellar Olympic performance and now leads all NHL blueliners with 17 goals and 57 points. Number one goaltender Craig Anderson will need to perform at a higher level if the Senators want to make the playoffs. He has allowed seven goals in the past two games and currently holds a 20-14-8 record with a 3.08 goals-against-average and a .907 save percentage. Ottawa remains in sixth place in the Atlantic Division with a 27-25-11 record. The Senators are nine points out of the automatic third playoff spot in the division and sit four points back of the final wild card spot.
Binghamton Senators (AHL) – The NHL Trade Deadline created a trickle-down effect that will be felt in Binghamton and Elmira. The Senators traded forward Jeff Costello to Vancouver for defenseman Patrick Mullen who was promptly reassigned to Binghamton. Ottawa drafted Costello in the 5th round of the 2009 NHL Entry Draft. The Milwaukee, Wisconsin native is currently completing his senior season as the captain at the University of Notre Dame. Mullen, who is the son of NHL Hall of Famer Joe Mullen, notched seven goals and 20 points in 46 games with Utica in the AHL this season. Additionally, the Senators acquired defenseman Alex Grant from Anaheim for forward Andre Petersson. Grant was a fourth round selection by Pittsburgh in the 2007 NHL Entry Draft. The former number one overall pick in the QMJHL Entry Draft played four pro season in the Penguins’ organization and then was traded to Anaheim prior to the start of this season. Petersson was a fourth round pick in the 2008 NHL Entry Draft by Ottawa. The Olofstrom, Sweden native was in his third season with Binghamton. Petersson had 17 goals and 40 points in 47 games this season. The additions of Mullen and Grant should help solidify the blueline for the Senators. But, the losses of Petersson and Mike Hoffman, who was recalled by Ottawa on Feb. 23, leave the Senators without two of their top three point-getters. Stephane Da Costa becomes the current points leader with 44 in 45 games. Binghamton is still leading the East Division with 70 points but a current four-game skid has allowed Norfolk to climb into the picture. The Senators currently hold a 33-19-4 record and sit third in the Eastern Conference.
New Jersey Devils (NHL) – New Jersey took advantage of the Olympic break and regrouped for the final push to the playoffs. The Devils entered the break with a 4-4-2 stretch, but have won three of the four games since returning to action. Adam Henrique’s current hot streak has been a large reason why the Devils have been successful since the break. The 24-year-old had 14 goals and 27 points prior to the freeze, but has exploded for five goals and seven points in the four games played after the Olympics. His effort earned him the second star of the week in the NHL for the period ending March 2. Henrique has vaulted into third on the team with 34 points in 63 games. His 19 goals tie Jaromir Jagr for the team lead. Jagr continues to climb the all-time ladder, passing NHL legends seemingly each night. The 42-year-old scored his 700th career NHL goal on Saturday, tying him for seventh on the all-time list with Marcel Dionne. Jagr proceeded to pass Dionne on the all-time assist list with his 1,041sthelper on Tuesday. His assist moved him into ninth place on the NHL’s all-time list. Aside from Jagr’s history watch the Devils were active with a trade at the deadline. New Jersey acquired veteran forward Tuomo Ruutu from the Carolina Hurricanes for forward Andrei Loktionov and a conditional third round pick in the 2017 NHL Draft. Ruutu recorded five goals and 16 points in 57 games with the Hurricanes this season. The Devils will look for Ruutu to increase his offensive output with his new club as they push for the postseason. If Henrique can keep up his hot streak the Devils may finally get the secondary scoring they needed. New Jersey currently sits sixth in the Metropolitan Division with a 27-23-13 record. They are only three points out of the automatic playoff spot and just two points back from the second wild card position.
Albany Devils (AHL) – Despite the frenzy of activity during the deadline Albany will not receive any reinforcements due to the NHL trickle-down effect. Rookie defensemen Jon Merrill and Eric Gelinas were sent down to Albany on Wednesday, but that was only a formality so they would be eligible to play for Albany in the AHL playoffs. Both were immediately recalled to New Jersey and will most likely finish the regular season in the NHL. Albany will move forward with a strong defensive unit that has allowed the second-fewest goals against in the Eastern Conference. The lockdown defensive style has helped Albany claw its way into the top eight in the conference. The Devils currently sit seventh in the Eastern Conference with a 29-18-9 record and are seven points behind Springfield, who leads the Northeast Division. Goaltender Keith Kinkaid has battened down the hatches in between the pipes all season, ranking in the top five among AHL goalies in goals-against-average, wins and shutouts. Kinkaid currently sports a 20-9-3 record with a 2.22 goals-against-average and a .917 save percentage. Offensively, Mike Sislo has emerged as a scoring threat with five goals and six points during his current five-game point streak. On the season Sislo has 18 goals and 32 points in 45 games. His goal total and points rank second on Albany. Rookie forwards Kelly Zajac, Reid Boucher and Stefan Matteau will be relied upon as well to continue producing for the Devils. Zajac leads all team rookies with 22 assists and 30 points in 48 games. Boucher leads Albany’s rookies with 14 goals. Matteau has 11 goals and 21 points in 48 games to go along with his 6-3 215-pound frame. The 2012 first round pick has the makings to be a solid power forward at the NHL level.