Road to the NHL: Ryan Dzingel

As one of the league’s youngest teams, the Ottawa Senators have had their fair share of prospects get their first taste of the NHL this season. Most of them are their own draft picks and have spent a few years developing their trade with the AHL minor affiliate, the Binghamton Senators.

This season has been a major learning curve for the entire team, suffering from allowing the most shots against per game out of all teams. With injuries to key players such as Clark McCarthur, Kyle Turris, Milan Michalek and Chris Phillips, young players have received opportunities to show off their progression.

Dzingel Dzings His First

One of these players is Ryan Dzingel. He scored his first NHL goal last night against the Buffalo Sabres, helping the Senators win the game in a shootout. After Matt Moulson opened the scoring for the Sabres, Dzingel tied the game up barely more than a minute later, tapping away at the rebound as he planted his skates near the crease.

Long Road

Like his teammate Mike Hoffman, Dzingel did not go to a team during his first eligible year for the NHL Entry Draft in 2010. Consequently, he returned to the American development program with a stronger motivation to improve himself. He greatly improved his stats, leading his team in points. This caught the eye of Ottawa’s amateur scouting team, and the Senators selected him in the seventh round, 204th overall, in the 2011 NHL Entry Draft.

The season later, Dzingel moved on to play in college for Ohio State. He was consistently one of their top forwards during his three seasons there, narrowly beating out fellow Ottawa Senator Max McCormick.

In his third season with Ohio State, he split time with Binghamton as he signed a two-year entry-level contract with Ottawa. He did great with the team during that small stretch of time, scoring seven points in nine games. He played a full season with Binghamton a year later, posting respectable numbers as a first-year pro.

Deserving Recall

Prior to the Ottawa Senators calling him up on Feb. 6, he was among the leaders in Binghamton scoring, better than other strong prospects in Nick Paul and Max McCormick. He now has a goal and three points in seven games with Ottawa, as the hope is that he continues to find his comfort at the professional level. If he progresses at a steady rate, he can potentially be a good third-line scoring winger.

He is a restricted free agent at season’s end, so he will have to continue to prove himself as much as he can in order for the Senators to at least qualify him.