Sens' Brass Gets Look Into Promising Future
If Wednesday’s preseason opener for the Binghamton Senators is any indication, Ottawa fans should be excited about the talent in the pipeline.
With Ottawa General Manager Bryan Murray, assistant GM Tim Murray and head coach Paul MacLean all in attendance, they had some pretty positive things to evaluate.
Granted it’s only one game, but highly touted prospects Mika Zibanejad, Mark Stone and Jakob Silfverberg all got on the scoresheet. Throw in Jean-Gabriel Pageau (fourth-round pick in 2011) and it was a great night for the youngsters in the organization.
Zibanejad and Silfverberg, both from Sweden, got key goals in Binghamton’s 4-3 shootout victory on Wednesday. Zibanejad scored the second goal of the game with just under five minutes left in the first period, to give Binghamton a 2-0 lead.
In the third period, the duo hooked up on a shorthanded breakaway that saw Silfverberg tally, making it 3-1 at that point.
The Swedish domination did not end there, as Robin Lehner, who struggled in 2011-2012, looked sharp in net. He stopped 28 of 31 shots in regulation and all three he faced in the shootout.
“Robin’s been solid all camp and tonight was just another demonstration of that,” said Binghamton coach Luke Richardson. “All three goals were probably bouncing off shin pads and went to the open guy. The second and third one, I thought we over back-checked and left guys open.”
Lehner, coming off a 22-13-1 season a year ago, has been in better shape in camp and come in to this season with a better attitude.
“He was moving the puck and taking charge out there,” said Richardson. He was being very vocal and was dominant in the shootout.”
Stone, a 2010 sixth-rounder from Winnipeg, played well in the game and got on the scoresheet in the shootout and played with high energy much of the night. He got the puck where it needed to be and looked very comfortable.
The same could be said for Zibanejad and Silfverberg, who were not in over their heads at all.
Ben Blood, who had an assist on Binghamton’s first goal, skated very well as did Darren Kramer, who got into his first pro fight 14 minutes into the contest.
All of the young guns seemed to be a bit fatigued as the game went into the third period, which explains the Hershey comeback, but that is to be expected this time of year.
That said… Richardson has been very impressed by what he has seen so far, not only in the game, but also in camp.
“Without a main camp, this is the main camp this year and the guys have all come in in great shape and worked extremely hard,” he said. “We have some real tough decisions, but that’s hockey and that’s what we want.”
Binghamton will practice today and play at Hershey on Friday, in preseason game two. They wrap up the three game exhibition season on Saturday against Albany at the Broome County Arena.
Richardson said they will use all the time they have left to continue evaluating, before making decisions on the final roster.