Binghamton Senators Roster Expectations

Previously I looked at the roster changes and potential lineup for Binghamton, but with the lockout in effect I wanted to take a look at how that impacted those predictions.  The changes aren’t radical, but it means that until an agreement is reached between the NHL and NHLPA players I expected to be in the NHL (like Jakob Silfverberg and Jared Cowen) will be in Binghamton.  They are like dominos knocking CHL-eligible players like Shane Prince back to junior.

Goaltending is pretty simple: Robin Lehner, Ben Bishop, and Nathan Lawson.  As long as Bishop is here Lawson essentially won’t play.  Bishop has a strong track record in the AHL and Lehner generally does better when pushed, so I expect both of them to be at the top of their game.  I imagine they will roughly split the season between them and I’ll get into win expectations when I do my forthcoming preview for the team’s success in the AHL.

Here’s the blueline: Andre Benoit, Tyler Eckford, Mark Borowiecki and Cowen are the top-four, with Patrick Wiercioch and Eric Gryba rounding things out.  All things being equal, expect Benoit, WierciochCowen and Eckford on the powerplay.  At the moment Fredrik Claesson is the seventh defenseman.

The forward group is much more complicated (particularly given how many wingers can play center), so first I’ll break them down by position (having already excluded CHL-eligible players, even though Pageau will play this weekend due to various injuries):
Centers: Da Costa, Cannone, Grant (LW), HamiltonCaporusso (LW)
Right wing: Silfverberg (LW), Jessiman, Petersson (LW), Stone, Downing (C)
Left wing: Zibanejad (C/RW), Hoffman (C), Dziurzynski (RW), SchneiderKramerCowick

I believe that Caporusso and Downing are automatics for Elmira while CowickHamilton and Schneider are battling it out for the spare forward/Kramer fill-in spot.  My projected top-six: Hoffman, Da Costa, JessimanZibanejad, Silfverberg, and Petersson; filling out the bottom-six are:  Dziurzynski, Grant, StoneCowick, Cannone, and Kramer.  There are many possibilities here, but in general I think that’s the top-six group to start.

Projections (assuming health throughout the season, last year’s ppg’s in brackets):
Silfverberg 76 (SEL 1.10) – expect him to dominate and lead the team in scoring
Da Costa 65 (0.78) – good production when he was out of shape, I expect improvement
Petersson 57 (0.73) – at least a modest gains on production from last year can be expected
Hoffman 57 (0.64) – lead the team in scoring and I think he’ll continue to increase his totals
Zibanejad 57 (SEL 0.50) – elite players who jump from the SEL to the AHL do quite well
Benoit 45 (KHL 0.32) – put up crazy numbers (55) his previous year in the AHL, but this team isn’t as offensively dynamic as the Calder Cup squad so I’m expecting more typical production from him
Jessiman 45 (0.65) – he’s coming off a career year and I expect his numbers to dip a little
Stone 38 (WHL 1.86) – big numbers in the CHL don’t necessarily translate at the AHL level so it’s hard to know if he’ll dominate or take his time adapting
Cannone 30 (0.56) – pressed into top minutes on a bad team, he’ll settle back into a supporting role and see his production drop because of it
Grant 30 (0.38) – a rough rookie season, but he should be better this year; he’s buried in the lineup so his production won’t improve much
Cowen 30 (NHL 0.20) – should dominate in the AHL
Wiercioch 30 (0.35) – there should be a step forward offensively from him this year
Dziurzynski 25 (0.38) – given his role on the team there’s no real room for increased production
Eckford 25 (0.33) – I expect him to match his totals from last year
Borowiecki 20 (0.30) – a year older and better, but he’s not on the team to produce points
Cowick 15 (0.20) – to play regularly he needs to be a fourth-line, energy forward, so there aren’t many points available
Gryba 15 (0.27) – he’s not on the team to produce points
Kramer 10 (WHL 0.56) – optimistic totals for a scrapper; he may be an occasional presence in the lineup depending on the opposition
PPG’s for those not projected: Jack Downing (0.36), Wacey Hamilton (0.14), Louie Caporusso (ECHL 1.10), Cole Schneider (NCAA 1.18), Shane Prince (OHL 1.57), Jean-Gabriel Pageau (QMJHL 1.41), Chris Wideman (NCAA 0.58), Ben Blood (NCAA 0.50), Fredrik Claesson (SEL 0.14).

A final note on Elmira (ECHL), the Jackals have four defensemen and six forwards signed along with goaltender Marc Cheverie.  Nearly all the forwards are listed as wingers.  This is how their roster looks at the moment (players in red are ones I believe will be knocked out of the lineup when Binghamton sends more players down):

Forwards
Centers: Jordan Pietrus (W) (65-40)
Rightwing: Artem Demkov (67-57), Jean Bourbeau (49-26), Chaz Johnson (64-35), Rob Bellamy (ECHL 63-24), Kevin McCarey (NCAA 37-12), Brandon Blandina (NCAA 39-9)
Leftwing: Dustin Gazley (RW) (72-85), Andrew Rowe (AHL 34-11), Brad Peltz (NCAA 9-1), Corey Bellamy (FHL 32-14), Alec Kirschner (ECHL 30-2)
Defense: Kyle Bushee (57-19), Matt Campanale (66-23), Jimmy Martin (70-27), Jordon Southorn (50-21), Ben Blood (NCAA 42-21), Chris Wideman (NCAA 41-24), Danny New (NCAA 36-14)
Goaltenders: Marc Cheverie (2.71), Nick Niedert (2.07)

ECHL projections are exceedingly difficult given all the roster movement, so I’m not going to try it here.  Sens prospects will receive significant ice time and I expect them to enjoy a lot of success at this level.  If my roster expectations for Binghamton are correct then Caporusso (C), Downing (RW/C), and possibly Hamilton (C), Schneider (LW) and Claesson (D) will spend significant time here (assuming a lengthy lockout).

This article is written by Peter Levi (@eyeonthesens)

Senators News: October 12th

-The lack of meaningful hockey news prior to the start of Binghamton’s season tomorrow created a flood of Ben Bishop-to-Binghamton articles.  This possibility has been up in the air for weeks, but given the difficulty goaltenders have found in finding jobs in Europe it’s no surprise this was the route Bishop had to take.  The only real impact of the signing is on Nathan Lawson, whom Andy Strickland reports has refused assignment to Elmira.  I’m not sure how that will be handled, although it’s Lawson‘s prerogative to refuse.

Mika Zibanejad and Matt Puempel were both interviewed on The Team 1200 recently.  No earth-shattering comments from either, as you’d expect.

-Elmira has announced their opening night roster (they play Reading tonight; Sens prospects in green): Forwards: Brad Peltz (NCAA 9-1), Dustin Gazley (ECHL 72-85), Jordan Pietrus (ECHL 65-40), Brandan Blandina (NCAA 39-9), Corey Bellamy (FHL 32-14), Jean Bourbeau (ECHL 49-26), Andrew Rowe (AHL 34-11), Alec Kirschner (ECHL 30-2), Rob Bellamy (ECHL 63-24), Artem Demkov (ECHL 67-57), Kevin McCarey (NCAA 37-12); Defense: Ben Blood (NCAA 42-21), Chris Wideman (NCAA 41-24), Danny New (NCAA 36-14), Kyle Bushee (ECHL 57-19), Jordan Southorn (ECHL 50-21), Matt Campanale (ECHL 58-22), Jimmy Martin (ECHL 70-27); Goalies: Marc Cheverie (ECHL 2.71), Nick Niedert (ECHL 2.07).  Chaz Johnson (ECHL F 64-35) is on injured reserve while Benjamin Dieude-Fauvel (ECHL D 62-14), Kevin Harvey (ECHL F 34-11), and Jarrett Rush (ECHL D 57-13) are on reserve.  That’s 12 forwards, 7 defensemen, and 2 goaltenders excluding reserves.  Clearly the team expects more forwards from Binghamton in the near future.

-Just a clarification on Brad Peltz as I get asked about him frequently: despite being a Senators draft pick he was not offered a contract by the team when he turned pro.  He was invited to Binghamton on a tryout basis and remains with Elmira on a tryout.

-Speaking of Elmira’s game against Reading, the latter features prospect Philipp Grubauer (who lost to both Binghamton and Elmira in pre-season action), as well as former B-Sen Yannick Tifu.

-Elmira released goaltender Joe Spagnoli from their roster.

Hockeys Future has finished it’s top-50 prospect list and Mika Zibanejad shows up at #5 (Jakob Silfverberg was #40 and Robin Lehner was #46).

-I’m not sure what their source is, but Hockey-Site provides a list of average player salary by league:
NHL
KHL
Czech Extraliga
SEL
SM-Liiga
NLA
AHL
DEL
With elite players in various other professional leagues making decent salaries.

This article is written by Peter Levi (@eyeonthesens)