If there is one thing to take away from this season in Binghamton is 23 year-old rookie netminder Gilles Senn and his development for the Devils. He has been a pleasant surprise in his first appearances away from his native land in Switzerland in his NA debut. At first, I thought Senn would benefit from playing in the ECHL while adapting to the new scenario that was presented to him, but that’s all behind us now.
At 6’ 5” he is the tallest player considered a prospect with a slim 202 lbs. to go on that large frame of his. Senn was a 5th round pick, and 129th overall in the 2017 draft by New Jersey, and along with an extensive resume for the Davos HC of the Swiss-A between the 2014-’19 seasons.
Senn has shown signs of some remarkable reflexes and his ability to jump into action despite his huge body, and possesses a quick glove that is spot on when feeling the pressure. I have previously mentioned on twitter that he is one of the best prospects to come down the pipeline in quite some time for Binghamton.
When the BDevils needed a
desperate must win on the road, Senn delivered with his first shutout of the season in Sunday’s win over the Monsters in Cleveland. The team has supported his performance and rallied around him to remain in the thick of a playoff race in the North Division.
His current record is 11-7-2-1, 2.75 GAA, 0.899 SV% for the BDevils. Although not glorified, Senn has shown signs of improvements with increased playing time as he should be rewarded the #1 slot over Cory Schneider, who has recently struggled once again. Overall I feel he needs additional time in the AHL before making the leap to the next level. The question is, how much time will it take?
I now turn to questions for Emily Rose, who is one of The Panel members that contribute each quarter for the players in-between the pipes with grades and evaluations and had this to say after the 2nd quarter about Senn;
“Senn continues to impress in net. It’s hard to believe that it’s only his first year on North American ice. His ability to see the puck ahead of the play helps him get into position prior to the puck coming his way frequently. Additionally, he doesn’t let goals scored against him get him down. He seems to readjust his game and is able to bounce back relatively quickly. The biggest piece that Senn needs to work on is not dropping down to his knees every time someone brings the puck in towards him. Teams have caught on to this and have been able to beat him high more than once. Senn has the ability to be something special for the big club. I look forward to seeing him get more games in down here to develop and fine tune his game even further.”
I asked Emily about this and a few others that came to mind;
During the last quarter of our reports, you mentioned about Gilles Senn and what everyone else has been talking about with him not being able to sustain time on his feet. Have you seen any improvements at all in this area of concern?
I feel like he continues to improve in this area but it’s definitely not entirely fixed. The more time he spends in net, the more confident I feel in his play. That said, he still has to be careful to not get stuck down on his knees. As quick as he is, as soon as he drops, the opponent can get that puck lifted past him.
When Mackenzie Blackwood was called up to fill a need for New Jersey, how long do you think it will take for Senn to follow suit?
I want him to finish this year out entirely at the AHL level before I feel comfortable evaluating him with the NHL in mind. He is a very, very skilled player but is still young and still has to learn. If I had to answer today, I’d ideally suggest another full season after this one with the majority of the starts going to him here in Binghamton. He’s had to share too much of this season and I’d like for him to be considered the starter here in Binghamton before moving up. His play is exciting and I’m sure NJ fans want him... But, I think he needs to feel more confident at the AHL level, get some serious time playing and then he can be looked at for the next level. That said... if the need arises...
Despite being a tall player, his quickness strikes me the most. What would you pin to be his greatest asset(s)?
I absolutely agree on his speed and agility. He seems to be laser focused and is able to work in spite of his size. With the shift to larger goalies over the last several years, it truly can lead to difficulties with movement and reactions. I’ve seen goalies or larger sizes just have more difficulty maneuvering at the speed they need to in order to stop certain shots; that’s not a concern with Senn.
He also seems to be very malleable. He came in playing a certain way based on his European play. In such a short amount of time, he really has adjusted to the style of North American play. I think that Gilles is capable of playing really well regardless of the situation in front of him. Obviously goalies need players in front of them to both defend and score. That said, 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.
I know you are a goalie fan when it comes to Binghamton hockey over the years. If you could, name your all-time favorite and why.
This is probably the hardest question. I love seeing the variety of quirks that come with a goalie and we’ve truly been privileged to see a wide array of goaltenders come through Binghamton. Guys who were successful on the ice and guys who were absolute role models off the ice. Narrowing it down to my all-around, all-time favorite is probably impossible but I’ve gotten it down to 2.
First, Ray Emery. The guy was an absolute beast. I remember meeting him as a child and then again just a few years ago when he was inducted into the Binghamton Hockey Hall of Fame. Both times, he was kind and took the time out to speak to me for a few minutes. Plus, he was just fun to watch. His death rocked me in a way that I didn’t realize a professional athlete’s death could.
Then, I’d be remiss to not acknowledge Robin Lehner. Coming in at 19 years old and taking over for Barry Brust in the Playoffs in 2011, ultimately leading us to that Calder Cup title, was incredible. Plus, I’ll never forget his fight against then Syracuse goaltender, Riku Helenius. Then, to see him go through all that he went through and come out on top is, perhaps, even more impressive. The guy is a champion on the ice and a role model and advocate for mental health awareness and transparency off the ice.
And finally, as a teacher, how does a workday move along for Miss Rose?
My workday is different every day and it’s part of why I love what I do. Even though I have a set schedule of what times I’m teaching each subject, it’s rare to have a “normal day”. My day is spent catering to others, specifically 8 and 9 year olds. They’re at a point in their lives when they’re naturally curious and ready to explore ideas and answers on their own. I work with them, read with them, write with them, teach them, learn with them, and laugh with them. There is literally never a dull moment from the minute they walk in to the minute i walk them to their buses. I find myself constantly in the throes of decision making and adjusting my game plan to meet the needs of each child in my room. My days from September to June are crazy, busy, exhilarating, and exhausting. And I absolutely wouldn’t change it for anything.
Thanks Emily and for your time in answering questions and sharing with our readers, it was a pleasure! And thanks goes out to our readers as well as I look forward to your comments below.