It’s been well over a month since my last update. Back in January, the B-Sens were 6-10-2, including a particularly ugly losing streak. The team has gone 9-9-3 since my last update; their 197 GF has them 1st in the Conference, while their 209 GA has them last. As for individual numbers, here’s a quick look:
|21||Matt Tassone (total)||C||6||1||1||2||-2||11||0||0||0.33||1.83||7|
|31||Peter Mannino (total)||G||19||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0.00||0.00||0|
|4||Peter Mannino (total)||19||1085:08||67||0||3.70||5||8||4||656||589||0.898|
Carter Camper has finally started to produce as expected, with 21 points in his last 19 games, but it’s far too late for that to matter to the team; otherwise players have stayed the course. Shane Prince is 13th in overall scoring, while Chris Wideman is 16th (1st among defensemen). Michael Sdao has returned to the lineup after missing almost two months of action, and Troy Rutkowski has been recalled from Evansville, but the B-Sens blueline remains a mess. I think the team wound up signing too many vets who fill the same role (Alex Grant, Patrick Mullen, and Aaron Johnson). Not only have those players not performed up to expectations, but they’ve meant limited room for prospects to grow behind their wall of ice time. Other than Wideman I’d argue none of the B-Sens blueliners have improved. The forward group is better, although there’s no need for someone like Brad Mills to be taking ice time away from players who could use it to develop. I think Richardson shares Paul MacLean’s hangup of over being overly reliant on veterans (which makes no sense in the AHL).
As Andrew Hammond continues to excel in Ottawa, Scott Greenham (5-4-1) has been Binghamton’s best goaltender despite splitting time with Peter Mannino (4-5-2). Exactly why the goalies are receiving equal time is beyond me.
Nichols (6th Sens) likes to shit all over the Sens depth in Binghamton and I think a lot of his reasoning comes from how highly he values the opinion of Corey Pronman (for example)–I’ve discussed my issues with Pronman before (he somehow included Ben Blood as a worthy prospect, for example). There’s a disconnect between people like Nichols and Travis Yost (now at TSN) on the value of prospects–they seem to think that if the player isn’t guaranteed to be elite then the prospect doesn’t matter. This an odd approach in that these are the same analytics fans who love Erik Condra (a late pick who wasn’t remotely exciting as a prospect). The flipside of this can be found on the HFboards or SenShot where prospects are given far too much weight. On average only 1 or 2 players from each draft class is ever going to become an NHL player. The point of all this is that there are still players in Binghamton with NHL potential. Prince certainly deserves a shot, as do several others. Unfortunately for Binghamton fans the mix of players this season simply wasn’t good enough–the free agents brought in to solve the defensive and goaltending problems failed to do so.
There’s still a month’s worth of games before the season ends, but it’s time to start thinking about who is responsible for the failed season. Tim Murray signed the free agents, so the blame for the roster is certainly his. That being said, Luke Richardson has also made some peculiar coaching decisions, particularly in how he’s handled his goaltenders. Richardson can’t be blamed completely for the Jekyll and Hyde act Hammond put on (if Greenham can put up a .920 save percentage with this defense, the Hamburglar should as well), but he did fail to adjust how he was handling him in the AHL (as I brought up at the time). Richardson can also be questioned in how he’s utilized young players, but on the whole I think his influence pales in comparison to the hand he was dealt. Tim Murray is gone, so the architect of the problem has already been removed. With talented prospects on the horizon things should be better next season.
This article is written by Peter Levi (@eyeonthesens)