Binghamton Senators: Regular Season Review

Binghamton’s regular season has wrapped up and it’s time to take a quick look at the East Division champs and how the players on the roster performed.  The team finished 44-24-8 (virtually their exact record from last season), setting up a re-match with the Wilkes-Barre Penguins who upset them last year.  The B-Sens were the highest scoring team in the AHL, their 276 goals (+49 from last season) far above most team’s in the league and 18 more than their closest competitor (St. John’s); on the flip side they allowed the most goals in the Eastern Conference (232; up 44 from last season).  Below I’ve 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 red.  Grade rationale is simple: A – above expectations, B – met expectations, C – didn’t grow, but didn’t decline, D – below expectations, F – awful.

Mike Hoffman RFA (5-130/09) 51-30-37-67 ppp 35 ppg 1.31 [NHL 25-3-3-6] Grade: A
Finally experienced the explosion in production that I expected last year and made a legitimate push to be considered an NHL player; he lead the team in points, goals, and powerplay points; he has pro speed and good hands, but the question remains is he Ryan Shannon or something more?
Stephane Da Costa RFA (NCAA FA/11) 56-18-40-58 ppp 27 ppg 1.04 [NHL 12-3-1-4] Grade: A
Also produced as I’d expected in the previous season and showed firmer glimmers of NHL potential (with solid underlying numbers–ala Hoffman, although Travis Yost seems to have backed off in relation to Da Costa in his year-end grades); doesn’t have the blazing speed of Hoffman, but good hands and offensive instincts–fitness has been a problem and the question remains how well his skills translate
Cole Schneider RFA (NCAA FA/12) 69-20-34-54 ppp 15 ppg 0.78 Grade A
The organisation doesn’t always hit homeruns with their FA college signings and while Cole’s translation at the next level remains unknown, he’s improved leaps and bounds over his rookie season; his hands stand out most (both shooting and passing)
Chris Wideman RFA (4-100/09) 73-9-42-51 ppp 30 ppg 0.70 Grade A
A fantastic sophomore season by the blueliner (leading the team in assists) whose size might be his chief impediment to getting a taste at the next level–smaller defenseman have to be quick and proactive
Matt Puempel (1-24/11) 74-30-18-48 ppp 18 ppg 0.65 Grade B
An excellent rookie season for the first-rounder, who on a team with less depth likely would have posted even better numbers; good speed and great hands
Shane Prince (2-61/11) 69-21-27-48 ppp 10 ppg 0.70 Grade B
A modest improvement over last year including struggles to start the season, but he did lead the team in even strength scoring despite rumours he demanded a trade; a smaller player he has more to prove, particularly given how many undersized forwards compete with him in the organisation
Jean-Gabriel Pageau (4-96/11) 46-20-24-44 ppp 12 ppg 0.96 [NHL 28-2-0-2] Grade A
Many expected him to spend the entire season in Ottawa (I was not among them) and while he wasn’t particularly good in the NHL he was excellent in Bingo; excellent speed and defensively responsible
Mark Stone (6-178/10) 37-15-26-41 ppp 18 ppg 1.11 [NHL 19-4-4-8] Grade A
Last season’s leading scoring, the injury-prone Stone put up good numbers again (with the same underlying NHL numbers of Hoffman and Da Costa above); he’s second on the roster in points-per-game; doesn’t have great footspeed, but a heady player with great hands
Alex Grant UFA (4-118/07 Pit) 71-9-28-37 ppg 0.52 Grade B
Acquired in a trade from Norfolk to solidify the blueline and he has proven a solid addition; savvy veteran has posted consistent numbers
Patrick Mullen UFA (NCAA FA/09 LA) 66-8-24-32 ppg 0.48 Grade C
Another deadline acquisition for defensive depth, this time from Utica; a decent all-around player
Buddy Robinson (NCAA FA/13) 69-15-16-31 ppp 0 ppg 0.45 Grade B
Like Schneider he’s another early NCAA departure with a lot of raw tools; an up and down rookie season, but solid overall as he trends upward; good speed for a big man along with soft hands
Jim O’Brien UFA (1-29/07) 51-11-18-29 ppp 4 ppg 0.57 Grade F
Pissed off the organisation enough to bury him in Bingo with a one-way contract; middling numbers given his past performance (I’d been told he’d been sent home, but now hear he’s practicing with the team and could play)
Fredrik Claesson (5-126/11) 75-3-26-29 ppp 0 ppg 0.39 Grade A
Excellent sophomore campaign from the defensive defenseman; continues to grow in leaps and bounds, keeping his game simple
David Dziurzynski RFA (BCHL FA/10) 68-13-12-25 ppp 0 ppg 0.37 Grade C
Seems to have plateaued and his future as a depth player in the NHL is very much in doubt
Corey Cowick RFA (6-160/09) 72-12-13-25 ppp 0 ppg 0.35 Grade C
Without riding shotgun with JJP his numbers plummeted and whatever hints of NHL-potential fell with them; seems to be missing some of the elements needed to become a depth NHL-forward
Derek Grant RFA (4-119/08) 46-12-10-22 ppp 3 ppg 0.48 [NHL 20-0-2-2] Grade C
His unexpected NHL call-up did not yield better AHL-returns; his numbers are only slightly better than last year; he apparently developed an attitude after his time in Ottawa; projects as a depth penalty killer and there’s still time for that to happen
Wacey Hamilton RFA (WHL FA/11) 63-4-16-20 ppp 0 ppg 0.32 Grade C
The org has missed badly in their free agent CHL-signings and I’m still scratching my head over what they thought they were getting in Hamilton
Cody Ceci (1-15/12) 27-2-17-19 ppp 6 ppg 0.70 [NHL 49-3-6-9] Grade B
A good albeit short rookie season for the first-rounder, whose time in the NHL was rocky; has all the offensive tools, but defensive play still needs work
Daniel New (NCAA FA/12 AHL) 31-1-12-13 ppp 4 ppg 0.42 [ECHL 22-2-9-11] Grade C
Any time an ECHL defenseman plays over 30 games and gets powerplay time you know you have a weak blueline
Michael Sdao RFA (7-191/09) 61-6-5-11 ppp 1 ppg 0.18 Grade C+
The best fighter in the 2009 draft, Sdao will look to continue to grow into a depth defenseman (unlike Blood below)
Mark Borowiecki (5-139/08) 50-2-6-8 ppp 0 ppg 0.16 [NHL 13-1-0-1] Grade C
A season marred by injury, poor production, and taking too many penalties; gritty blueliner is at his best a #6 in the NHL
Ryan Dzingel (7-204/11) 9-2-5-7 ppp 1 ppg 0.78 Grade incomplete
Did not look out of place as he left the NCAA; has great hands and head for the game
Darren Kramer (6-156/11) 45-2-2-4 ppp 0 ppg 0.09 Grade D
The toughest fighter in the 2011 draft, it looks doubtful he can do much more than that at the AHL-level
Tyler Eckford UFA (7-217/04 NJ) 32-0-4-4 ppp 0 ppg 0.12 Grade F
Awful last year, he was somehow even worse this season–a terrible signing (like O’Brien he’s apparently been sent home)
Garrett Thompson (NCAA FA/14) 7-1-2-3 ppp 0 ppg 0.43 Grade incomplete
NCAA free agent was solid in his brief debut
Danny Hobbs (NCAA FA/12 AHL) 13-1-2-3 ppp 0 ppg 0.23 [ECHL 52-17-18-35] Grade incomplete
ECHL call-up had 2 points in his first game and 1 in his next 12–enough said
Ben Blood RFA (4-120/07) 54-0-3-3 ppp 0 ppg 0.06 Grade F
I’m amazed he dressed for more than half the season; no offensive tools and despite his size isn’t particularly aggressive
Troy Rutkowski (WHL FA/13) 12-1-0-1 ppp 1 ppg 0.08 [ECHL 41-0-9-9] Grade F
Was awful in the ECHL as well and could well join the long line of bad CHL free agent signings for the organisation; a puck-mover at the junior level he was unable to bring that into the pro game
Vincent Dunn (5-138/13) 1-0-0-0 Grade incomplete
One game is just not a big enough sample size
Jakub Culek (3-76/10) 7-0-0-0 [ECHL 49-8-22-30] Grade F
Was solid in the ECHL, but I’m not sure there’s more to him
Ludwig Karlsson (NCAA FA/13) 8-0-0-0 [ECHL 39-11-13-24] Grade F
A lot more has to be expected from an NCAA free agent–he needs to be better

Andrew Hammond (NCAA FA/13) 25-19-3 2.81 .910 [NHL 1 game, no result] Grade B
A solid year for the rookie, who sported better numbers than Lawson; proved he has AHL-chops, but whether he can be more is an open question
Nathan Lawson UFA (NCAA FA/07 ECHL) 15-8-1 3.05 .908 [NHL 1 game no result] Grade C
Mr. Glass was often on the shelf, but solid when he appeared (he’s finished for the season due to injury)
Scott Greenham (NCAA FA/11 AHL) 4-0-1 2.57 .912 [ECHL 8-15-3 3.21 .904] Grade B
ECHL ‘tender looked good in limited duty–better than he did on an awful Elmira team
Chris Driedger (3-76/12) 4.58 .909 [ECHL 1-2-0 3.92 .893] Grade incomplete
You can’t judge from him playing part of one game

It was another successful season in the AHL as Binghamton has a good chance to go deep in the playoffs.  There are no future NHL stars playing here, but there are a number of NHL-caliber players and worthwhile call-ups which is a compliment to the now-departed Tim Murray, Luke Richardson, and the scouting staff.  The main issue for the organisation is their hit-and-miss veteran signings and their swings for the fences with CHL free agents.

This article is written by Peter Levi (@eyeonthesens)



  1. Hi Pete,
    Not sure if you remember, but I predicted Chris Wideman would have a breakout season (as well as Quentin Shore). Glad to see you gave him an A !

    IMO, I think based simply on his AHL play that Ceci has to get an A. I believe it was either Luke R or Pierre D that stated that he was the best player int the AHL at the time of his call-up.

    I’m disappointed in the performance of both Cowick and Derek Grant. I was really hoping they were both on the path to becoming 4th line energy guys for the Sens.

    Look for a big playoffs for Buddy Robinson. Combination of playing with Pageau and the fact that he seemed to really start producing down the stretch.

    • Congrats on the predictive accuracy! It’s not easy to project prospects, especially ones who play out of the highlight of the CHL and are under the radar at the draft.
      The organisation was certainly impressed by Ceci–my grade is more about my expectations and I thought a first-rounder like him (who dropped in the draft to #15) *should* dominate in the AHL, so from my perspective that’s what he should have accomplished. So the “B” isn’t meant as a shot at Ceci.
      I was very suspicious of Cowick’s numbers last year and thought his performance was inflated by playing with PPG, so this year didn’t surprise me much. As for Grant, he’s not used in an offensive role, so his actual numbers aren’t awful, but I was sorry to hear his ego inflated due to the Ottawa call-up.
      I’m very curious to see how the B-Sens will do given that Lawson is out and they give up a lot of goals. They were favoured last year and went with a whimper, but I’m hopeful they’ll have a long run this time around. It’ll certainly be interesting watching who excels!

  2. Great article as always. Correction on New/Jim O’Brien, both are back in practice and O’Brien looks to start game 3 of the first round series. Unlike Eckford, both were simply on long-term injuries.

    • Thanks! I noticed that via the Twitter machine–someone I thought was in the know told me they were gone so I went with that information.

    • It wasn’t Pete’s fault but mine as I had received some damaged information. My apologies.

  3. […] wrote about Binghamton’s season back in April and then graded the prospects a week ago, but I return to the topic because Manny has gifted us […]

  4. […] 11th (34-34-8), hampered by their awful GA (258, worst in the conference).  In comparison to last year the BSens scored 34 less goals and allowed 26 more.  Below I’ve graded each player specifically […]

  5. […] Both vets who started the year were terrible (Eckford) to below average (Lawson); deadline acquisitions were good, but nothing could overcome Richardson’s incompetence as a coach (my full review here). […]

  6. […] Both vets who started the year were terrible (Eckford) to below average (Lawson); deadline acquisitions were good, but nothing could overcome Richardson’s incompetence as a coach (my full review here). […]

  7. […] season was over we were assured next season would be different. On my end of things I was making prescient analysis of prospects in Binghamton; Nichols wanted more two-way players; Jeremy Milks was still writing […]

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