by Lindsay Kramer || NHL.com
Lindsay Kramer, the AHL correspondent for NHL.com, profiles an up-and-coming player each Monday during the season, and his AHL notebook appears each Thursday on NHL.com.
The Rochester Americans held their meet-and-greet with fans earlier this week. New Amerks goalie Chris Beckford-Tseu was one of the guest stars.
That comes with the nature of his position. It also comes with an uncertainty of who this guy is.
"They are excited to see me play. There are a lot of new faces (on the team)," Beckford-Tseu said. "They hope there’s a turnaround from last year. A bunch of people were asking where I played. It was pretty good. Being in a new city, you are excited to see how everything is going to be."
A lot of that depends upon how one of the biggest gambles of the AHL offseason turns out. After taking over from Buffalo as the sole parent club of the Amerks, the Florida Panthers struck quickly by signing Beckford-Tseu to a two-year, two-way contract on the second day of free agency.
If Beckford-Tseu becomes the clear No. 1 with Rochester – and the Panthers are counting on that – it will be the first time in his five-year pro career that he’s earned that type of role. Oh yeah, he also needs to help revive a once-proud franchise that missed the playoffs last season.
"I guess I was a little surprised. I wasn’t one of the bigger-name goalies out there," said Beckford-Tseu, 24. "I thought I was going to have to wait a little bit longer, but I was happy we got the deal done when we did."
It’s not that Beckford-Tseu doesn’t have potential. It’s just that in each of the past four seasons, he’s been pushed down to the ECHL and he’s never played in more than 34 AHL contests in one season. That came with Peoria last year, when he went 15-14-2, 2.63, .899.
"In St. Louis, Peoria, there was always a logjam of guys around. It was tough to get a good workload in Peoria. I’m ready to play at this level," Beckford-Tseu said.
"We’re looking at a guy who still has a chance to develop, and given a chance could maybe establish himself as a No. 1 in the league," said Jack Birch, director of player personnel for the Panthers. "Give the guy a chance to be a No. 1, and maybe he runs with it."
Beckford-Tseu knows many of those hopeful fans he met the other day see him as the difference in the team’s turnaround this season. In that regard, they can line up right behind him.
"Whatever the fans expect of me, I expect more. You definitely want to be in the playoffs," he said. "I see myself ready to take over and do as well as I can. It’s exciting."