Binghamton Devils Sign Chris Calnan

The Devils’ AHL affiliate made a college signing yesterday, bringing in forward Chris Calnan of Boston College on a one-year, two-way AHL contract. The announcement was made via a press release on the Binghamton website.

Calnan is 23 years-old and played four years at BC. He was originally a pick of the Chicago Blackhawks in the 2012 NHL Draft, but did not sign there. He finished his college career with 24 goals and 32 assists for 56 points in 142 games.

The press release notes that the 6-foot, 2-inch, 210-pound native of Norwell, Massachusetts won a Hockey East regular season championship in 2013-14 with Boston College.

Presumably, a two-way AHL contract would be between the AHL and ECHL teams (in the Devils’ case the Adirondack Thunder), I would think. Unless he is paid an AHL base salary even at the NHL level? Not too sure how that works out, but hopefully he is given a shot in the bigs as well.

Also, I wanted to address a bit of news uncovered by Lou D’Elia on Twitter and brought to my attention through a tweet by Devils Insiders (I retweeted and it can be found in the box to the left of this post). It seems the Devils are actively courting visiting fans to come to Prudential Center to see their teams play the Devils.

Now, this is not unprecedented in sports. I seem to remember the Nets, when they played at the Meadowlands, basically selling games based on what visiting star you wanted to watch play the Nets (i.e. “come see Michael Jordan take on the New Jersey Nets!”). Also, during this past postseason, the Ottawa Senators were reportedly running online ads on places like Facebook urging Ranger fans to take the trip up to Ottawa to help fill their building during the second round. And that was during the playoffs!

It really is hard to defend this, but the Devils need to make money. They are not a charity. If there are not enough Devils fans coming out to see the team take on, say, Pittsburgh, on a Tuesday night, you might as well try to get the building full. Even if it is with Pens fans.

The problem I see here is that, should a visiting fan find their tickets through this method, they are going to be more likely to act disrespectfully while at the game. The Devils already have the stigma of “no fans” hanging overt them. Let’s not encourage visiting fans to come into the Prudential Center to act like idiots, essentially taking over the place.

It is kind of a dangerous strategy, but again, the Devils need to make money. I am not in denial either. I know the Devils are in a rough sports landscape with eight other major professional sports teams in their immediate metropolitan area to contend with at various times for the public’s dollars. Add in four Philly teams and that landscape becomes even more crowded. Add to that the team has been hamstrung by lack of proper marketing during the Lou Lamoriello years and that the team has not been very good for the last five or so years and you have a recipe for low attendance.

Attendance was dicey even during the Stanley Cup years at the Meadowlands, but I always chalked that up to the arena just being way too big. Prudential Center is a smaller, more intimate building that we should be able to get fans in to. Devils fans, preferably.

Hopefully the team gets good soon. The new management has been a lot better at marketing the team than in the past. If we ice a winner, maybe we start putting butts in seats. Time will tell on that, but in the meantime, this strategy is a little bit disheartening.

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