Shane Prince: Time to Ascend to His Throne in Ottawa
This season has become one of fundamental change for the Ottawa Senators and their former cornerstone players.
Daniel Alfredsson retired after leaving the team last season.
Jason Spezza now skates for the Dallas Stars.
Chris Phillips is becoming a press box mainstay.
And as the Ottawa Senators embrace a new, younger roster, Chris Neil’s time to retire or move out of Ottawa is quickly (and sadly) approaching.
But it isn’t all bad news for Sens fans.
In the wake of the departures of franchise foundations, young Sens are emerging to take their place. Mike Hoffman, Mika Zibanejad, Mark Stone, Curtis Lazar, Cody Ceci, and Jared Cowen are all 25-years-old or younger and taking regular shifts in the NHL.
Despite the influx of new talent at the NHL level, one prospect remains buried in the AHL.
Here’s why it’s time for Shane Prince to get his shot in the NHL.
The next Sens prospect that deserves an NHL shot is Shane Prince.
The 5’11”, 190 lbs. centre was drafted in the second round of the 2011 NHL Entry Draft.
A local product, Shane Prince played for the Ottawa 67’s for three seasons prior to being drafted by the Senators. When drafted by his “hometown” NHL team, Prince expressed excitement to stay in the Ottawa organization:
Since the 2011 draft, Prince has played three seasons with Ottawa’s AHL affiliate in Binghamton.
At every level, Prince has shown strong offensive instincts with a sense of defensive responsibility. His point totals have generally hovered around a point-per-game pace along with very strong plus-minus stats:
This season, the 22-year-old Shane Prince has started strong again, posting 28 points in 33 games along with a plus-7 rating with the Binghamton Senators.
Still, Prince is waiting on his first call to the NHL.
Speaking with Kinsey Janke at NHL.com, Head Coach Luke Richardson gushed about Prince:
Everyone wants to score goals, but he’s really driven by scoring goals…He’s a real competitor, and that’s a good thing. You can coach systems, and positions, and even a little technique, but you can’t coach emotion. He’s got it.
Despite his offensive skills, Shane Prince understands that strong defensive play will be needed to earn an NHL promotion.
In an interview with Kevin Oklobzija of the Democrat and Chronicle, Prince said:
I’ve had some good talks with some of the guys in management…With the Ottawa organization, like every organization, they put a lot of emphasis on being a complete player. I’ve been working hard with Luke and Steve Stirling…on developing a complete game. I need to be a tough player to play against. I need to throw my body around a little bit.
As Prince’s game and awareness continue to evolve, the NHL Senators won’t be able to avoid promoting the promising skater for long.
Prince’s call-up may come soon with Sens forwards Zack Smith and Chris Neil currently injured. Due to the injuries, perpetual-trade-candidate Colin Greening has been forced into a consistent lineup spot. If Greening is traded or if Neil and Smith are sidelined long-term, the Ottawa Senators may come calling for Shane Prince soon.
When his call comes, Shane Prince is poised to carve out a permanent NHL spot.
What do you think, Ottawa Senators fans? Are you excited for Shane Prince to get his chance in the NHL? Or, do you feel this AHL star unlikely to succeed at the NHL level?
Sean Tierney writes articles about the Sens, working to include analytics whenever possible. He has also written about the Leafs, Habs, Sens, Raptors, and Blue Jays for Fansided and Bleacher Report. He enjoys long walks on the beach and candle lit dinners and definitely isn’t the tallest guy in the men’s rec basketball league.