The Christmas break seemed like a good time to update my snapshot of Binghamton’s season thus far. Here what my last assessment boiled down to:
Clearly the team is tumbling over a precipice
That was 12 games ago and since that time Binghamton has gone 3-8-1, which is essentially the same pace as the start of the season (4-9-1). Let’s look at the big numbers:
7-17-2 (last in the North Division, 29th in the AHL)
71 Goals For (13th in their conference, 21st overall)
94 Goals Against (worst in the league by GAA)
14.6% PP (13 goals scored; 21st in the league)
79.2% PK (25 goals against, 27th in the league)
6 games with a significant negative shot differential (1-5-0)
6 games with a significant positive shot differential (3-2-1)
Record when giving up a PP goal 3-13-1
Record when scoring a PP goal 4-5-1
Their scoring has dropped from 7th to 13th, their goals against has also dropped to 30th; since I looked at their special teams 7 games ago they haven’t scored on the powerplay (0-20), while their PK has marginally improved (from 77.5%). Other notes of interest:
-In 6 of their 7 wins the BSens gave up only 1 goal against
–Lindberg has dressed in every game (6) where the BSens have enjoyed a significant shot differential (+9 or more)
-In the aforementioned games Harpur was either scratched or missed most of the game due to injury (4 of 6)
–Harpur played in every game (6) where the BSens suffered a significant negative shot differential (-7 or more)
-GA when Harpur is scratched: 3.00 over 5 games (vs 3.76 when he plays)
Before we get to player-by-player, here are individual stat leaders by a few different categories:
Even Strength Point Leaders (by points-per-game)
Dzingel 21 (0.80)
Lindberg 10 (0.55)
O’Dell 11 (0.50)
Puempel 8 (0.47)
Dziurzynski 9 (0.45)
Schneider 10 (0.38)
McCormick 8 (0.38)
Kostka 7 (0.35)
Mullen 7 (0.26)
Greening 6 (0.26)
Paul 6 (0.24)
Claesson 6 (0.23)
Robinson 4 (0.22)
Stortini 5 (0.20)
Lepine 3 (0.15)
Fraser 3 (0.12)
Ewanyk 3 (0.11)
Powerplay Point Leaders (bracketed: on-ice for PP goals)
Schneider 6 (10)
Mullen 5 (9)
O’Dell 4 (6)
Puempel 4 (6)
Greening 3 (5)
Stortini 3 (3)
Lindberg 2 (3)
Paul 2 (3)
Dzingel 1 (6)
Kostka 1 (2)
Claesson 1 (2)
Carlisle 1 (1)
Ewanyk 1 (1)
On-Ice for powerplay goals against (25 total)
5 players tied at 1
Player-by-player: I’m not a huge fan of using grades, but it’s a simple way to reflect how they’ve played (A=above and beyond expectations, B=exceeds expectations, C=meets expectations, D=below expectations, F=god awful); other acronyms: ESP=even-strength points PPP=powerplay points, SOG=shots on goal:
Ryan Dzingel 26-7-15-22 ESP 21 PPP 1 SOG 76 Grade B
Far and away the most dominant offensive player on the team, his lack of powerplay points is puzzling but something I expect to turn around; he’s far ahead when it comes to even-strength production. Here’s how he’s done with his linemates:
He’s spent most of the year with O’Dell (18 games), followed by Lindberg (13), McCormick (6), and Schneider (5). There’s been no sensitivity from the coaching staff in following the production shown here. He deserved his call-up to Ottawa and for my money he’s one of only three forwards who should see time in the NHL if there are injuries/trades.
Cole Schneider 26-10-7-17 ESP 10 PPP 6 SOG 77 Grade C
His production has fallen off a cliff lately (9-1-1-2), mostly while playing with Puempel and Paul. It’s difficult to zero in on what the problem has been and I see it largely as a slump combined with struggling linemates. Here is his production by line:
He’s spent most of the season with Paul (17 games), then Puempel (12), O’Dell (8), McCormick (5) and Dzingel (5). Like with Dzingel above, the coaching staff have shown little sensitivity to production rates with linemates (why they try to shoehorn McCormick into scoring roles is beyond me). He’s the second of three forwards on this list who deserves a shot in the NHL when call-ups occur (he’s excellent defensively).
Eric O’Dell 22-9-6-15 ESP 11 PPP 4 SOG 47 Grade C
His production has slowed significantly since October (14-4-4-8), although some of that can be attributed to ever-shifting linemates. Here’s how he’s performed with various combinations:
He’s spent most of the season with Dzingel (18 games), then Lindberg (10), Schneider (6), and McCormick (5). He’s produced at some level with most combinations, although the puzzling desire to shove McCormick into a scoring role hasn’t help. He’s not worth an NHL call-up at this stage, as he doesn’t really drive offense, producing only when with players who do.
Patrick Mullen 26-1-13-14 ESP 7 PPP 5 SOG 29 Grade B
For a player BSens fans pilloried the previous season, I’ve been surprised at how good he’s been–easily the best and most consistent defensemen on the team this year. He’s the only blueliner doing anything on the PP and he’s been effective on the PK as well (including being on-ice for four of the team’s five short-handed goals). Saddled with the dead weight that is Fraser most of the season, when his partner was suspended he got the moribund Harpur instead. He’s got good speed, good hands, and has been solid defensively. Could he fill-in at the NHL level? I’m not sure, but by performance he’s the most deserving on the blueline at the moment.
Matt Puempel 17-7-5-12 ESP 8 PPP 4 SOG 45 Grade D
Much more is expected of a first-round pick in the final year of his ELC, but he’s in the midst of a four-game pointless streak and simply hasn’t impressed. Here’s his production through various linemates:
Most of his time has been spent with Paul (13 games) and Schneider (13), then Dzingel (3). Unlike most of the other forwards there hasn’t been much experimentation with how Puempel has been deployed (other than the continuing failed experiment of putting him on the point on the powerplay)–so at least some of the fall in his production boils down to Paul‘s struggles. Like O’Dell above, he doesn’t really drive the offense, but produces when he’s with players who do. He did not deserve his NHL call-up.
Tobias Lindberg 18-3-9-12 ESP 10 PPP 2 SOG 40 Grade B
Jerked around by the coaching staff and then suffered through a mysterious injury that magically cured when the team needed a forward to fill out their line up. Here’s a look at the team with and without him:
Record with/without: 6-10-2/1-7-0
GF with/without: 53 (2.94)/18 (2.25)
Beyond being one of the most productive players on the team (second in even-strength points), the team is much more competitive when he plays and he’s had a huge impact on their ability to score. Despite this he’s somehow been in Richardson’s doghouse all season. Here’s how he’s done with various linemates:
He’s been most productive with Dzingel, who he’s played alongside with most (13 games); followed by O’Dell (10) and Paul (6). A cerebral player, he has great speed, great hands, and a high hockey IQ. His willingness to experiment offensively is probably what Richardson hates, but the coach needs to check his ego. He’s the third (and final) forward worthy of an NHL call-up; he’s also the only forward prospect on the roster who might have top-six talent.
David Dziurzynski 20-5-6-11 ESP 9 SOG 26 Grade C
His unexpected fast start (15-5-6-11) was tailing off when he was inexplicably recalled to Ottawa. I like Dizzy at the AHL-level, as he’s a useful player at this level, but it’s long been apparent he doesn’t have NHL talent. Here’s his production with linemates:
The thing to note here is how negatively playing with Stortini impacts him–those shiny numbers at the top with Greening don’t exist once the Newfoundlander is removed; the coaching staff doesn’t pay attention to production with him either (also of note is that, like everyone else, McCormick‘s presence does nothing to create offense). His most frequently linemates are Stortini (17 games), Greening (9), and McCormick (6).
Colin Greening 23-5-5-10 ESP 6 PPP 3 SOG 46 Grade C
At this point in his career he is what he is, although his AHL numbers are lagging behind where they were when he started in Binghamton (in fairness to him he’s spent a lot of time playing on the fourth line). Linemate production:
He’s been on a long dry streak (7-1-0-1), compounded by playing with largely useless players (like Stortini). His most frequent linemate is Stortini (14 games), followed by Ewanyk (9) and Dziurzynski (9), then Hobbs (4). He doesn’t complement top-line players, but he is useful as a third-liner so long as he has decent linemates (he’s a north-south player who can’t distribute the puck, so someone has to do that work for him).
Max McCormick 21-7-3-10 ESP 8 SOG 54 Grade C
Has spent far too much time playing top-six and powerplay minutes, but as an organisation and coaching favourite, he’s been given a lot of opportunities. Here’s his production by linemate:
He’s played most often with Paul (8 games), Dzingel (6), Schneider (5 games) and Dziurzynski (5) and Stortini (5). The lack of consistency in linemates and production are evident (you’ll also note that despite copious powerplay time he hasn’t produced with the man-advantage). I’d take his positive numbers with Paul-Schneider as non-repeatable. While I like McCormick quite a bit, he’s an offensive drag and needs to be put on an energy line that doesn’t have production expectations (he’s a lot like Greening where he’s a north-south player with a decent shot, but can’t distribute the puck or drive the play).
Michael Kostka 20-1-7-8 ESP 7 PPP 1 SOG 50 Grade C
The veteran blueliner has spent most of the year carrying around the lumbering dead weight of Lepine. Other than a productive November (7-1-4-5), he’s struggled to produce offensively (13-0-3-3), something hinged on having to do so much work for his partner. He’s also failed to produce on the powerplay, but as he’s often on the second unit that’s a mitigating factor. I wouldn’t say I expected more from Kostka, but he was not having a season that deserved an NHL call-up.
Zack Stortini 24-4-4-8 ESP 5 PPP 3 SOG 27 Grade F
The lumbering goon has been an expected disaster this season–he can’t skate, play defense, pass, or shoot, yet he’s been given endless opportunities on the powerplay and on the third line to contribute. Richardson (and the organisation) has a soft spot for useless veterans and that has benefited Stortini enormously at the expense of much better teammates. Here’s a look at his linemate production:
His most frequent linemates are Dziurznyski (17 games), then Greening (14), and Ewanyk (7). If you parse out his powerplay points there’s basically no production with anyone and he hurts his linemates (only Greening-Dziurzynski could somewhat overcome the burden of carrying him). If he has to play at all it’s on the fourth line, but the team would be better off if he never hit the ice.
Nick Paul 25-1-7-8 ESP 6 PPP 2 SOG 39 Grade D
What a rough start for the rookie; a talented player with good hands, he completely lost his confidence when Richardson irrationally scratched him on November 7th (a mistake the coach has at least learned from, as he hasn’t been scratched again): pre-scratch 9-0-5-5, post-scratch 16-1-2-3. He’s had excellent linemates for the most part:
His most frequent linemates are Schneider (17 games), Puempel (13), McCormick (8), and Lindberg (6). What’s clear from this picture is Paul needs two talented linemates or he can’t produce (that the McCormick experiment has continued for so is unfathomable). There was a lot of hype about Paul prior to the season and I think he still has the potential to be a useful top-nine forward, but he’ll need plenty of time to develop.
Fredrik Claesson 26-2-6-8 ESP 6 PPP 1 SOG 24 Grade C
Another competent defenseman stuck with lamentable partners; by and large he’s carried Harpur around all season and that’s been a struggle for him. Here’s how he’s done with his various partners:
Harupr 14-1-3-4 -10
Carlisle 7-1-2-3 +2
Tuzzolino 5-0-1-1 +2
Don’t be fooled, Tuzzolino is also awful, but he’s not as god-awful as Harpur. There are a couple of puzzling things here: 1) Freddy should not be on the powerplay, but he has consistently played on the second unit, 2) he’s been on-ice for most of Binghamton’s powerplay goals against by a wide margin, but I’m not sure if this is a bad sign or simply a product of a small-sample size. It’s really hard to assess Claesson as he’s been saddled with the worst defenseman in the organisation for over half his season.
Buddy Robinson 18-3-2-5 ESP 4 SOG 32 Grade C
Why a player coming off back-to-back 30-plus point seasons has been marooned on the fourth-line so often is beyond me (it’s to make room for Stortini, but that’s a terrible reason). His usage is what underlies his poor offensive numbers. His lines:
He really hasn’t had regular linemates, but the most frequent is Ewanyk (6), Hobbs (4) and Flanagan (4) and Penny (4) and Dzingel (4). I’m not sure what you can expect from Robinson offensively given how he’s been used (he’s been fine defensively). He’s best suited to third-line duties.
Chris Carlisle 16-2-2-4 ESP 2 PPP 2 SOG 21 Grade C
Called up early in the season from Evansville when it became apparent that the horrific blueline in Binghamton needed help. Despite that need, he’s spent a third of his time (5 games) dressed as a forward. As a blueliner he’s spent most of his time with Claesson, but he’s also spent time with Kostka:
Claesson 7-1-1-2 +2
Kostka 4-0-1-1 +1
The numbers are essentially the same and the fact he’s been scratched the last three games makes no sense whatsoever. He deserves to be playing regularly on defense given the current defensecorps.
Travis Ewanyk 26-1-3-4 ESP 3 PPP 1 SOG 32 Grade F
A player who obviously belongs in the ECHL, inexplicably he’s been dressed for every game this season. What does he do well? Nothing. He adds nothing to the team whatsoever. Here are his line splits:
While Hobbs was healthy they formed part of a line (17 games); he’s followed by Stortini (7), Robinson (6), and Greening (5) and Carlisle (5).
Guillaume Lepine 19-0-3-3 ESP 3 SOG 22 Grade F
The ECHL defensemen is one of those big, lumbering, physical players who doesn’t do anything well but is “good in the corners”. Carried by Kostka, he’s unfortunately a better option than either Harpur or Tuzzolino. To understand how comically bad he is, look at his numbers when moved away from his regular partner:
Kostka 15-0-3-3 +7
Tuzzolino: 2-0-0-0 -4
Harpur 2-0-0-0 -2
He should be giving part of his paycheck to Kostka.
Mark Fraser 24-0-3-3 ESP 3 SOG 17 Grade F
He’s big, he’s fast, and he’s physical, which apparently is enough to blind the organisation to the fact that he can’t play defense at the AHL-level. A selfish player who continually takes dumb penalties (along with regular defensive gaffes), Mullen has had to do yeoman’s work to make his numbers seem almost reasonable. Watching him try to make a pass or shoot the puck is painful.
Danny Hobbs 18-1-1-2 ESP 2 SOG 26 Grade F
An ECHL forward that Richardson fell in love with last season, he does nothing well–the only positive I can give him is he hasn’t taken as many selfish penalties as most of the other bottom-six forwards.
Darian Dziurzynski 3-1-0-1 ESP 1 SOG 8 Grade incomplete
A PTO call-up from the ECHL who showed a lot of energy, but the sample size is simply too small to assess him (other than he’s clearly better than players like Ewanyk and Hobbs).
Kyle Flanagan 7-1-0-1 ESP 1 SOG 7 Grade C
Another PTO call-up from the ECHL, there are things to like about his game (speed and puck-skills), but he’s shown defensive weakness and a tendency to take penalties when he gets in trouble. His linemates:
I think there are better options the BSens could use to take his place.
Alex Guptill 3-0-1-1 ESP 1 SOG 6 Grade F
Now in the ECHL, he didn’t look like he belonged in the AHL and his performance in Evansville (17-6-2-8) hasn’t changed that opinion
Ben Harpur 21-0-1-1 ESP 1 SOG 11 Grade F
The worst player on the roster by a large margin, he needs his defensive partner to do all the work for him. He’s not quick, he’s not strong, he’s not aggressive, he’s not good positionally, he can’t pass, he can’t shoot–basically he occupies space and a roster spot–c’est tous. His partners:
Claesson 14-0-1-1 -8
Tuzzolino 2-0-0-0 -1
Mullen 2-0-0-0 -3
Lepine 2-0-0-0 -2
Kostka 1-0-0-0 even
No one can make him look even competent and the organisation needs to send him to Evansville to see if it’s even possible for him to develop.
Nick Tuzzolino 9-0-0-0 SOG 13 Grade F
The ECHL-defensemen was awful in limited duty and Richardson praising him earlier this season was ridiculous; he belongs in Evansville. His splits:
Claesson 5-0-0-0 Even
Harpur 2-0-0-0 -4
Lepine 2-0-0-0 -2
Ryan Penny 6-0-0-0 SOG 8 Grade C
One of only two call-ups from the affiliate in Evansville; the rookie had decent numbers in the ECHL (17-3-7-10), and has a reasonable skill-set; he’s clearly better than some of the fourth-line alternatives and hasn’t had the defensive gaffes of (say) Flanagan above.
Alex Wideman 4-0-0-0 SOG 0 Grade F
I have no idea why he wasn’t immediately sent to the ECHL; while he has good speed, he doesn’t bring anything else to the table (how does a forward have no shots in four games?); he’s been effective in Evansville (22-4-13-17)
Chris Driedger 5-6-0 3.02 .907 Grade B
Had a great start and deserved his NHL call-up (where Dave Cameron ignored him). In his one game since coming back he was off his game, but one game doesn’t mean much. By my count he’s given up 5 bad goals this year (quite reasonable given the numbers of games he’s played)
Matt O’Connor 2-9-2- 3.65 .878 Grade D
An atrocious start that had some questioning his future, his last three games he’s turned it around and given a hint that the good times could continue. There’s a lot of season left and it will be interesting to see how he does behind Binghamton’s porous defense. He’s given up 12 bad goals this year (which is very high)
Andrew Hammond 0-2-0 4.05 .864 Grade F
Was awful in his conditioning stint
Scott Greenham 0-0-0 4.92 .800 Grade incomplete
Arrived in Binghamton coming off an injury in the ECHL and did not look right in limited duty; it took him awhile to regain his form in Evansville once he was returned
What impact has Luke Richardson had on this team? He’s been terrible. Jerking around Paul put him in a long funk, while whatever war he’s having with Lindberg is selfish and simply hurts the team. Despite talking about the team taking fewer penalties, that talk has made no difference and he’s done nothing to punish the players most guilty of doing so. His preference for certain veterans (especially Stortini) hurts the team tremendously, and his stubbornness in keeping players without good hands on the powerplay has caused it to stumble. Finally, instead of taking responsibility for the team’s performance he offers up excuses. I’ve been saying this for awhile now, but he needs to go and be replaced by someone who knows what they’re doing.
This article is written by Peter Levi (@eyeonthesens)