NJ Devils’ GM Tom Fitzgerald has continued to carve a notch in his resume for the Devils’ Organization and all packed with good reasons. The recent acquisitions of two veteran goaltenders, Corey Crawford and Scott Wedgewood, is noteworthy as the focus is in the crease for the latest Profile Series feature.
After Cory Schneider’s buyout with two years remaining on his lofty contract, it turned out to be a significant depth move with the free-agent signings as Fitzgerald continues to address not only New Jersey, but Binghamton as well.
Let’s break it down as whenever the AHL season begins we are informed as we start with the hottest goalie in the league before the shutdown, Gilles Senn.
Senn will be entering his second year for Binghamton in what are high hopes in his ability, which resulted in him winning his last seven games in a row. With some further seasoning at the AHL level, NJ can be patient with his development now that they have signed Crawford. I would hate to see Senn rushed to fill a role up top as he has much potential to prove with time.
Drafted by New Jersey Devils in round 5 (#129 overall) of the 2017 NHL Entry Draft, the Visp, Switzerland native continues his development for the Binghamton Devils.
During his rookie season in Binghamton, the 24-year-old posted impressive numbers and was a factor in the incredible run the club provided in the middle-to-late season push before the eventual AHL shutdown due to COVID-19.
Senn’s adjustment period to North American rinks took some time. However, he started to appear more comfortable with the experience gained. Senn ended up with a record of 17-7-2, 2.77 GAA, 0.901 SV% in 27 appearances for the BDevils in 2019-’20 that included wins in 10 of his last 11 games that helped push the team into a playoff spot.
Senn also saw some time for New Jersey for two games as his first start took place on Dec 21st, 2019, which resulted in a 5-1 loss in Columbus to the Blue Jackets despite making 35 saves. In an interview afterward with Chris Ryan of NJ.com, Senn had this to say, “I tried to track the puck, saw it go to the middle. In (Binghamton) I have more time,” Senn said. “It’s something to learn now. Not that I wasn’t ready, it’s just getting faster.”
At 6’ 5, 202 lbs., the talented Swiss is quick on his feet, as his height overfills the net while squaring up to the opposing shooter. Senn has the glove work which is just as effective when it comes to development in the AHL while working hard in crafting his skills.
During the Binghamton Devils 3rd Quarter Grades & Player Evaluations by The Panel, member Emily Rose had this to say;
Senn continues to impress throughout the 3rd quarter. A few shaky games at the end of the quarter but almost to be expected as he’s taken on a heavier workload and been the starter in back to back games as a result. In the recent Bites article, I mentioned how much time Senn has had to share in the crease. Given the recent rearranging of goaltenders in Binghamton, I believe we will truly be able to see a glimpse of how well Senn can truly play. So far, he seems to be the real deal. The prospect of a Blackwood / Senn tandem for New Jersey is a very real possibility just a few years down the road.
There was another source of information when I did a brief interview with Emily regarding Senn back on Feb 12th, 2020. There Emily mentioned “He seems to be laser focused and is able to work in spite of his size” and “..I think Senn plays a solid game whether it’s behind a team that struggles to score or a team that is offensively dominant and weaker in the defense. His ability to adjust to different styles of game play make him an incredible asset in net.”
Senn will be entering his final season of a two-year deal signed in April of 2019.
The 28-year-old veteran netminder Scott Wedgewood returns to the organization where it all began in his second stint and was inked to a 1-year, 2-way contract worth $700,000/$200,000 last weekend.
Wedgewood was in net for the BDevils during the inaugural season and earned a 5-1 victory back on Oct. 14, 2017, stopping 36 of 37 shots against the Laval Rocket and earned 1st Star of the Game honors. That would be his only appearance before being traded to the Arizona Coyotes in exchange for a fifth-round pick.
But there was a logjam in net with the upcoming Mackenzie Blackwood and an additional prospect named Ken Appleby who was playing for Adirondack. Wedgewood now returns to the Organization that drafted him in 2010 in the 3rd round, #84 overall in 2010. He previously played in parts of five seasons for the Albany Devils.
At 6’ 2, 207 lbs., Wedgewood has a career 94-61-15, 2.47 GAA, 0.912 SV% in 190 AHL games and 7-10-5, 3.05 GAA, 0.903 SV% in 24 NHL contests (20 w/Arizona, 4 w/NJ). Wedgewood will be looked upon to help mentor Senn while providing valuable experience for the second-year pro.
The Etobicoke, ONT native spent the previous two seasons for the Rochester Americans and Syracuse Crunch, respectively, and just celebrated in the Tampa Bay Lightning Stanley Cup run as one of the reserves in net.
Another Panel member shares their thoughts with Tracey Lake regarding Wedgewood’s previous tenure for the Albany Devils;
I watched Wedgewood for parts of 5 seasons in Albany, and when he was healthy, he was on his game. He started out as a reliable backup to Keith Kinkaid, winning 16 games in 2013-14, the first of three Devils playoff appearances in Albany.
His best season was 2015-16, when he went 14-3-3 with a 1.55 GAA and .933 save percentage in 22 appearances despite multiple injuries—an ankle injury prior to the start of the regular season kept him out until mid-December, then the first of his major shoulder injuries came just over a month later, keeping him out of the crease until mid-March. He looked to build on this success in 2016-17 while paired with Mackenzie Blackwood in his first pro season, but he re-injured his shoulder in mid-November in a loss against Binghamton, forcing season-ending surgery.
Again, if he can stay healthy, he will make a good tandem with Gilles Senn.
With Wedgewood back in the fold alongside Senn, that leaves Evan Cormier‘s return to the Devils ECHL affiliate in Glen Falls, NY., but literally a phone call away if there is a concern within the Organization.
Like I mentioned on Twitter, the Wedgewood signing is only as good if he can stay off the IR, which has been a common place in his career. Regardless, I continue to be impressed with Fitzgerald’s commitment to Binghamton with moves like this.
Can Senn continue his dominance in the AHL while Wedgewood provides relief as a mentor and remain healthy? These are questions I have as I wait with all fans when it soon becomes normal once again.
And with that, I’ll leave you readers with this. Enjoy!