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) – If the Olympic break taught us anything it was that Erik Karlsson is the most lethal offensive defenseman on the planet. The Swedish star was tied with Phil Kessel for the tournament lead with eight points and was named the tournament’s best defenseman. Karlsson led the Swedish squad to a silver medal in his first Olympic appearance. The Ottawa blueliner returns to the NHL as the defensive league-leader with 55 points. His point total is ten more than the next-highest Senator, Jason Spezza. Team USA snub, Bobby Ryan, still leads Ottawa with 21 goals but will need to take his game to the next level for a squad searching for more scoring. Milan Michalek was held scoreless as a member of the Czech Republic team in Sochi. His 25 points ranks sixth on the Senators but his -22 rating is second worst on the team next to linemate Jason Spezza. Ottawa recalled Binghamton’s leading scorer Mike Hoffman on Sunday. The 24-year-old has earned his second NHL call up this season after posting 30 goals and 67 points in 51 AHL games. Ottawa also recalled goaltender Andrew Hammond on an emergency basis as Craig Anderson is away due to the birth of his second child. Chris Phillips is listed as questionable with a lower body injury and Clarke MacArthur is questionable with a foot injury. Ottawa returns to action as the sixth-place team in the Atlantic Division with a 26-22-11 record.
Binghamton Senators (AHL) – The East Division’s top team continues to roll along with a 33-17-4 record. Despite yesterday’s loss at Toronto the Senators possess a four-point lead ahead of Norfolk in their division. Binghamton’s potent offense has propelled the team all season and ranks tied for first in the AHL with 203 goals for. The Senators have 20 more goals for than any other team in the Eastern Conference. But for the time being they will have to move on without top scorer Mike Hoffman. The former Saint John Sea Dog was recalled by Ottawa on Sunday and rightfully so as he led the team with 30 goals and 67 points in 51 games. Stephane Da Costa was reassigned to Binghamton before the Olympic break to continue playing and may stay with the B-Sens as the NHL returns to action. Da Costa is the second-leading scorer on Binghamton with 42 points in 43 games. He had three goals and four points in 12 NHL games this season. Andre Petersson saw his six-game point streak (two goals, eight assists) come to an end this weekend. The Olofstrom, Sweden native has been looking to regain his form from two seasons ago when he posted 23 goals and 44 points. Last season he played only 17 games due to injury, but has returned healthy this year and has 17 goals and 40 points in 45 games. Rookie Matt Puempel scored his 20th goal yesterday and added an assist to boost his season total to 31 points in 52 games. The former Kitchener Ranger leads all Binghamton rookies with 20 goals and ranks seventh overall on the team in points. Danny New continues to see top pair minutes for the Senators and has 11 assists and 12 points in 29 games this season. The former Providence College captain has already surpassed last season’s AHL point total in fewer games. Troy Rutkowski returned to Binghamton from loan with Elmira yesterday, which was a day after Scott Greenham was returned to Elmira.
New Jersey Devils (NHL) – The Olympic break came at a good time for the Devils. A mundane 4-4-2 stretch leading into the Winter Games left New Jersey seventh in the Metropolitan Division with a 24-22-13 overall record. The race to the finish will be pressure-packed and will require a hot-streak for the Devils. The need for goal scoring is at a premium for New Jersey, which has the second-lowest goals for total in the NHL with 135. New Jersey has just five skaters in double-digits goal scored. The team is lead by 42-year-old Jaromir Jagr, who has 17 goals and 49 points. Jagr added two goals and an assist as a member of the Czech Republic squad in Sochi. The Devils second-leading scorer, Patrik Elias, has 33 points for New Jersey but contributed just one assist in five Olympic games for the Czechs. Their Olympic teammate Marek Zidlicky notched four points, which tied for first on the Czech team. Zidlicky is the top scoring defenseman on the Devils with eight goals and 29 points. The 37-year-old will be relied upon more heavily to contribute offensively for the Devils down the stretch. Damien Brunner was held scoreless for the Swiss team throughout the Olympics. The 27-year-old has just nine goals and 17 points for New Jersey this season. The top scorer under 30 for the Devils is Travis Zajac, who has nine goals and 29 points. The young players on New Jersey will need to produce at a higher rate if they plan on making the playoffs. Eric Gelinas was recalled by New Jersey from Albany on Monday. The rookie defenseman had six goals and 22 points before the Olympic break. Fellow rookie blueliner Jon Merrill was recalled on Feb. 19 and figures to be part of the Devils defensive plans moving forward.
Albany Devils (AHL) – As the playoff picture begins to take shape the Albany Devils are making their case for a spot in the top eight. With wins in their last three games and points in seven of their last ten the Devils are heating up at the right time. This past weekend Albany battled through a three-in-three and came out victorious with six hard-fought points. The successful weekend bumped Albany up to fifth in the Eastern Conference with a 29-17-8 record. The Devils were defensive stalwarts, allowing just four combined goals in the three-game weekend. Lockdown defensive play is not unusual for the Devils, who rank tied for second in the Eastern Conference with just 142 goals against. The offense came courtesy of Mike Sislo, who has scored in three straight games and has four goals over that stretch. His 17 goals rank second on the team and is a new career high for the third-year pro. Sislo’s 30 points also is a career mark and ranks tied for second with rookie Kelly Zajac. The Devils family legacy continues for the Zajac clan and the newest emergence has been the 25-year-old Union College product. Zajac leads Albany’s rookies with 22 assists and 30 points in his first full pro season. He played 14 games for the Devils last season. Fellow rookie Reid Boucher continues to emerge as a bona-fide sniper. The former Sarnia Sting standout scored in back-to-back games Saturday and Sunday, which raised his total to 14 in just 35 games. Boucher’s 26 points rank fifth on the team and his .74 points-per-game average is second behind leading goal-scorer Joe Whitney. Rookie forward Stefan Matteau also scored twice this weekend to bring his total to 11 in his first pro season. The formerBlainville-Boisbriand power forward ranks seventh on the team with 21 points. Maxime Clermont was reassigned by New Jersey to Albany on Sunday and then was promptly reassigned to Orlando in the ECHL.