This is your obligatory Fredrik Claesson signed his entry level contract with the Ottawa Senators post. The Swedish defenceman was Ottawa's fifth round selection (126th overall) in the 2011 NHL Entry Draft and a teammate of Mika Zibanejad's on Djurgardens SEL team... or should I say former Swedish Elite League team?
After 36 seasons of playing at the highest level of hockey in Sweden, Djurgardens was relegated to Sweden's second division after an underwhelming performance in the Kvalserien - an Eliteserien qualification tournament that features the top four teams from the HockeyAllsvenskan (Sweden's second highest division) and the last two teams from the SEL.'
Rather than spend another season in Sweden not playing against the country's best players, Claesson is going to cross the Atlantic and spend next season playing for Ottawa's AHL affiliate in Binghamton.
The Senators announced the news earlier this afternoon in an article on their official website and it featured this interesting quote from assistant GM Tim Murray:
"He wasn’t on a very good team in Djurgarden ... but I think it helped his game," Murray said of Claesson, the Senators' fifth-round pick (126th overall) in the 2011 NHL Entry Draft. "It allowed him to play a lot of minutes in a lot of different situations. He played regular against the men and that’s a pretty good league.
"By him being on that team and not getting buried, it probably sped up his development and gave him the confidence to make this big move, come over here and start (next) year in Binghamton and get on with his pro life."According to RDS' Renaud Lavoie, Claesson's two-way ELC is a three year pact that carries an average annual value of $550,000 with a $195,000 signing bonus.
Upon signing the deal, the accolades started pouring in for the defensive prospect.
The blue line in Binghamton is already looking pretty young next season. With Claesson likely joining the likes of Ben Blood, Eric Gryba, Patrick Wiercioch and Chris Wideman, there isn't that stabilizing veteran presence on their roster. Based on that fact, it would make a lot of sense for the Senators to revisit signing a familiar commodity like Andre Benoit - an intriguing suggestion put forth by Le Droit's Sylvain St-Laurent. (Note: the article is in french.)
Huge congrats to my boy @Classeman14 for signing with the Sens. One of the most dedicated and hard working guys I know. Well deserved buddy.— Gabriel Landeskog (@GabeLandeskog92) May 10, 2012
Basically the gist of St-Laurent's article is that Benoit's looking to come back to North America because his daughter is starting school and he wants to overcome the language barrier by putting her in an English-speaking school. St-Laurent concludes by stating that if the Murrays truly want to add a veteran presence, all they have to do is submit an offer to Benoit.
Expect @steffeG to tackle Claesson's ELC in a post tomorrow or Saturday. In the meantime, carry on with whatever you were doing...