Binghamton Senators: 2012-13 Regular Season Review

The Binghamton Senators finished 5th in the AHL with a 44-24-8 record for 96 points, which represents a 31-point (and 15 win) improvement over last season (when they were 30th in the league).  The team was 10th in scoring (their 227 goals is 26 more than last year), and 4th in goals against (their 188 goals allowed is 55 less than last season).  No Binghamton player scored more than 38 points, 11 less than Mike Hoffman‘s meagre team-leading total from last season.  Back in October I predicted that Binghamton would finish third in their division and compete for a playoff spot with 38 wins, their fate determined by scoring.  I was spot on that their goaltending and defence would be better (despite Jared Cowen only suiting up for 3 games and Andre Benoit never returning from the NHL), and as it turned out they scored enough to be one of the best teams in the league.  Last season’s team suffered from a subpar group of veterans, but Benoit (for the first half) and Hugh Jessiman were big upgrades on that front.

Throughout the year I posted ten-game segments looking at how Binghamton performed, so here’s a brief recap of the season that was:
The first ten games Binghamton went 4-4-2 with Mike Hoffman, Andre Benoit, and Tyler Eckford leading the way offensively; Patrick Wiercioch was +5, while Fredrik Claesson and Eckford were both -6; Jared Cowen was injured and would only return to the NHL in the final few games of the regular season
The next ten games the team went 9-1-0 with Jakob Silfverberg, Pat Cannone, and Derek Grant leading the way offensively; Cannone was +12; Andre Petersson was injured and would miss the rest of the season
The next ten games the B-Sens went 7-2-1 with Silfverberg, Hoffman, and Benoit leading the way offensively; Cole Schneider and Jean-Gabriel Pageau were +5
The next ten games Binghamton went 6-3-1 with Stephane Da Costa, Corey Cowick, and Mark Stone leading the way offensively; Eric Gryba was +11; Silfverberg, Benoit, and Wiercioch were permanently added to Ottawa’s roster, while Mark Borowiecki also joined it temporarily; Danny New was added to the AHL roster
The next ten games the team went 4-5-1 with Scheider, Shane Prince, and Pageau leading the way offensively; Gryba was +6, while Eckford was -4; Brett Lebda was added to the roster; David Dziurzynski, Grant, Gryba, Borowiecki, Mika Zibanejad, and Da Costa all spent time in the NHL
The next ten games the B-Sens went 6-3-1 with Prince, Pageau, Cowick, and Lebda leading the way offensively; Pageau was +7, while Louie Caporusso was -5; Zibanejad returned to Ottawa permanently, while Stone and Grant spent some time with the parent club; Nick Craven played on an ATO, but was released after four games
The next ten games Binghamton went 4-5-1 with Schneider, Stone, and Prince leading the way offensively; Schneider was +5, while Pageau was -4; Jakub Culek, Andrew Hammond, Michael Sdao, and Buddy Robinson were added to the roster
The final six games saw the team go 4-1-1, with Stone, Cowick, and Cannone leading the way offensively; Chris Wideman was +7; Matt Puempel and Cody Ceci were added to the roster

Here’s a look at how each player performed throughout the season with my analysis and a grade for each player (A=outstanding season, B=above expectations, C=expectations met, D=below expectations, F=well below expectations), for players who played in the NHL I’m only looking at how they did with Binghamton (the only ECHL call-ups included are those whose rights were owned by the organisation or they became regulars; INJ=games missed due to injury, SCR=scratched, FM=fighting majors):

Mark Stone 54-15-23-38 +21 INJ 17 [NHL 4-0-0-0 -1] Grade C
This may seem like an unfair assessment of Stone, but expectations were high so it was going to be difficult for him to play above them.  The adjustment to the pro game came smoothly, although the further transition to the NHL will have to wait until at least next season.  Of the players who weren’t permanently added to the NHL roster, Stone lead the B-Sens in points-per-game (0.70).
Stephane Da Costa 57-13-25-38 +14 INJ 12 [NHL 9-1-1-2 -3] Grade D
I’m not sure that Da Costa really progressed this season; perhaps some intangibles improved, but I expected him to dominant at the AHL-level, but his production actually slipped slightly from last year.
Shane Prince 65-18-17-35 +12 INJ 7 SCR 4 Grade B
Expectations outside my blog were quite high, but I thought Prince was even money to return to junior given the glut of forwards in Binghamton.  Instead he became a key offensive contributor, finishing second on the team in goals.
Cole Schneider 60-17-18-35 +19 FM 1 INJ 4 SCR 12 Grade B
A rocky start for Schneider (who was in and out of the lineup), but he made great strides and became more consistent as the season wore on (24 of his points came from January onward).  The future seems bright for last year’s unheralded NCAA free agent, although I’m not sure how he projects at the next level.
Corey Cowick 72-16-19-35 +8 FM 3 INJ 4 Grade B
After two disappointing seasons as a pro everything came together for Cowick.  Although he didn’t receive a call-up to Ottawa, he finally found the consistency he needed to be an important player in Binghamton.
Jakob Silfverberg 34-13-16-29 +4 [NHL 45-9-9-18 +8] Grade B
Even with high expectations Silfverberg‘s half-season in Binghamton was excellent; he quickly became the catalyst for the team, able to make teammates around him better.
Hugh Jessiman 68-10-19-29 Even FM 7 INJ 8 Grade C
Coming off his most productive AHL campaign, the former first-rounder wasn’t able to give the team the same offensive contribution, but was a useful contributor throughout the season.
Jean-Gabriel Pageau 69-7-22-29 +8 FM 1 SCR 1 [NHL 6-1-1-2 +1] Grade B
Like Prince above, I thought there was a good chance that Pageau would return to junior.  Instead he remained on the team and worked his way up from centering the fourth line to being a key offensive player, eventually getting the call from Ottawa.
Brett Lebda (Bin/Roc) 59-3-26-29 -9 FM 1 Grade B
The former NHLer was an inspired pick-up by the organisation who solidified a paper thin blueline once the NHL lockout ended.  He’s not as good as Benoit, but given that he only cost the Sens an AHL contract the dividends are fantastic.
Derek Grant 63-19-9-28 +11 FM 1 INJ 4 [NHL 5-0-0-0 -1] Grade C
Despite earning an NHL call-up, leading the team in goals, and receiving team accolades, I expected more production from Grant.  There’s a lot to like about him, but the ceiling looks a bit lower at the next level.
Mike Hoffman 41-13-15-28 +9 INJ 19 [NHL 3-0-0-0 -1] Grade D
Contract years are typically where offensively gifted prospects will blow-up in the AHL, but that wasn’t the case for Hoffman whose production remained about the same as last year’s.  There’s NHL potential in him (as his call-up illustrates), but I think the top-six ceiling is extremely unlikely.
Pat Cannone 74-10-15-25 +21 FM 1 SCR 2 Grade D
Rewarded with a fat AHL contract after his solid rookie campaign last season, Cannone was a total disappointment, with a third of his production courtesy of a month spent riding Silfverberg‘s coattails.  The Sens tossed him out on the waiver wire in January, but found no takers.
Andre Benoit 34-9-16-25 +3 [NHL 33-3-7-10 -3] Grade C
At the AHL level he was exactly what was expected–absolutely fantastic.
David Dziurzynski 54-4-16-20 +7 FM 5 INJ 3 [NHL 12-2-0-2 -1] Grade C
Firmly established as a checking forward, he’s not an overwhelming talent, but quite a find as a BCHL free agent.
Patrick Wiercioch 32-10-9-19 +10 INJ 1 [NHL 41-5-14-19 +8] Grade B
Finally broke out and was on pace for a 45-point season before moving up to the NHL (where he can be expected to stay).
Chris Wideman 60-2-16-18 +8 FM 2 SCR 6 [ECHL 5-0-5-5 +2] Grade B
Looked out of place early in the season, but towards the end of the year suddenly found his game and began to pile up the points.  As an undersized defender he always has to do more than his larger compatriots, but there are signs he might be able to do just that.
Mark Borowiecki 53-4-10-14 +21 FM 14 INJ 13 [NHL 6-0-0-0 +1] Grade C
His rugged style resulted in missing considerable time due to injury.  It was something of a surprise that he was unable to stick with the undermanned Senators.  He earned the “C” late in the season.
Tyler Eckford 59-7-6-13 Even FM 1 INJ 17 Grade D
After a great start to the season, Eckford went ice cold and struggled with injuries.  Solid play in the post-season would help salvage his season.
Eric Gryba 38-5-6-11 +28 FM 1 INJ 9 [NHL 31-2-4-6 -1] Grade B
Continued his steady play at the AHL level, but his lengthy stay with Ottawa is something of a surprise given the organisational support for Borowiecki.
Mika Zibanejad 23-4-7-11 +3 INJ 17 [NHL 39-7-13-20 +10] Grade D
Ironically, Zibanejad has been much better at the NHL level than in the minors.  He was inconsistent with Binghamton and struggled with injuries.
Fredrik Claesson 70-3-8-11 +4 FM 3 INJ 3 SCR 3 Grade B
One of the youngest players on the team, after a rough start to his AHL career he became a steady defender.
Dustin Gazley 29-4-5-9 +2 INJ 6 [ECHL 37-14-35-49 +6] Grade C
Initially a breath of fresh air offensively when he was first called up to Binghamton, that production disappeared and the undersized forward has slipped down the roster accordingly.
Wacey Hamilton 38-4-4-8 -7 FM 1 INJ 34 SCR 4 Grade D
Missed half the season with the concussion and when he returned to the lineup continued the internal conundrum for me in wondering what the organisation thinks they have in him.  An undersized player, he continues to be on the wrong side of the plus/minus ledger and he doesn’t score, so what is he exactly?
Danny New 33-2-5-7 +9 FM 1 SCR 8 [ECHL 21-2-9-11 +4] Grade B
Played his way up from Elmira to Binghamton and while he didn’t light the world on fire the fact that he was a plus player and suited up in place of actual prospects (like Blood) is a pat on the back to the NCAA grad.
Louie Caporusso 23-1-5-6 -1 [ECHL 41-19-26-45 +15] Grade F
Despite earning his first AHL points, he hasn’t done nearly enough to justify the organisation re-signing him.
Andre Petersson 17-2-3-5 -7 INJ 59 Grade incomplete
Injured early in the season, Petersson‘s season never really got off the ground.
Buddy Robinson 6-2-2-4 +2 SCR 1 [NCAA 38-8-8-16] Grade incomplete
NCAA free agent signee has looked good in limited action.
Jack Downing 19-3-1-4 -2 FM 2 INJ 19 SCR 2 [ECHL 34-14-14-28 +2] Grade D
A Binghamton regular last year, Downing was an injury fill-in and clearly hasn’t been able to take that next step.
Jared Cowen 3-0-3-3 Even [NHL 4-0-0-0 -1] Grade incomplete
Injured after a promising start.
Cody Ceci 3-1-1-2 +2 [OHL 69-19-45-64] Grade incomplete
Late addition from junior.
Michael Sdao 12-1-0-1 +4 FM 3 SCR 3 [NCAA 31-8-7-15] Grade incomplete
Finished his college career and added some toughness to the team.
Darren Kramer 21-1-0-1 -3 FM 11 SCR 22 [ECHL 19-3-7-10 +1] Grade D
Unable to establish himself as an AHL regular.
Matt Puempel 2-0-0-0 +1 [OHL 51-35-12-47] Grade incomplete
Late addition from junior.
Jakub Culek 3-0-0-0 Even SCR 3 [QMJHL 9-3-4-7] Grade incomplete
Late addition from junior.
Kyle Bushee 3-0-0-0 -1 [ECHL 63-9-23-32 +15] Grade incomplete
Emergency call-up from Elmira, he could not force himself into the lineup like New.
Nick Craven 4-0-0-0 Even [NCAA 25-16-17-33] Grade F
NCAA free agent signed an ATO, but couldn’t keep his place on the roster.
Jean Bourbeau 6-0-0-0 -3 [ECHL 64-20-18-38 +2] Grade incomplete
Not very impressive in limited call-up duty.
Ben Blood 24-0-0-0 -4 FM 2 SCR 6 [ECHL 32-1-1-2 +8] Grade F
NCAA grad struggled mightily at the AHL level.
Brad Peltz SCR 56 [ECHL 13-2-2-4 +2] Grade F
A surprise signing (AHL-contract), he never earned his way into the lineup and barely played at the ECHL level.  It’s hard to imagine he’ll be retained.

Robin Lehner 18-10-2 2.12 .938 [NHL 4-3-4 2.22 .936] Grade A
A fantastic season for Lehner which earned him an NHL roster spot.
Ben Bishop 8-3-2 2.59 .928 [NHL 8-5-0 2.45 .922] Grade C
Played as expected in Binghamton, but was ultimately outplayed by Lehner.
Nathan Lawson 12-6-2 2.19 .938 Grade B
After a rocky start he’s been excellent as the starter.
Marc Cheverie 6-6-1 2.80 .907 [ECHL 11-9-1 2.60 .917] Grade C
After initial struggles at this level he was able to win some key games down the stretch.
Andrew Hammond [DNP] Grade incomplete
NCAA free agent signee arrived on an ATO, but was never put into the lineup.
Scott Greenham [DNP] Grade incomplete
Inexplicably signed to a PTO at the end of a season, was thrown in for a period at the end of the season.

Whereas last year Binghamton’s season collapsed under the weight of key injuries, this year they shrugged off both injuries and permanent roster loses to the NHL.  The inexperienced Luke Richardson was able to squeeze enough production out of his ever-shifting lineup to make them a formidable opponent. Goaltending, above anything else, lead the team.  No player scored 20 goals or produced 40 points, yet there was always just enough scoring to put the team over the top.  The organisation was able to consistently add talent to the roster and that will continue going into next season (albeit the blueline is a bit thin on offensive talent).  I believe the team is already a success, but there’s nothing preventing Binghamton from making a spirited run in the playoffs.

This article is written by Peter Levi (@eyeonthesens)

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7 Comments

  1. […] Binghamton Senators: 2012-13 Regular Season Review […]

  2. […] they were drafted (for those who spent the year playing professionally you can see how they did here).  The prospects are listed chronologically from those who’ve spent the most time in the […]

  3. […] the Sens traded Pat Cannone to St. Louis for future considerations.  The Sens had waived him in January, but found no takers (likely due to his high AHL salary, 105k next season).  […]

  4. […] I’m not convinced that he’s ready to make the jump.  As I mentioned in my review of Binghamton’s season, Hoffman‘s offense seems to have stagnated at the AHL-level, where it isn’t elite and […]

  5. […] for the team.  If Hoffman can continue to produce at the same level I’ll have to retract my prediction at the end of last season that he can put up points at the next […]

  6. […] graded each player specifically for their play in the AHL (for last year’s examination go here); acronyms ppp=powerplay points, ppg=points-per-game; I put RFA’s in green and UFA’s in […]

  7. […] I’ve graded each player specifically for their play in the AHL (for last year’s examination go here); acronym note: ppg=points-per-game and DOB=dater of birth; I put RFA’s in green and UFA’s in […]


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