Binghamton Senators Update

Things have changed considerably for the B-Sens since my last update.  The team, back then time flailing with an overworked Andrew Hammond and several underperforming players, seems to be getting back on track.  Thirteen games since my last look and the B-Sens have gone 8-4-1, with 79 GF (remaining 3rd in the conference) and 71 GA (tied for 11th, up from 14th).  Before I get into detailed thoughts here are the raw numbers:

6 Chris Wideman D 23 11 12 23 +7 24 5 0 1.00 1.04 81
18 Shane Prince LW 21 9 9 18 +4 8 2 0 0.86 0.38 52
15 Cole Schneider RW 22 9 9 18 -4 4 3 0 0.82 0.18 61
44 Jean-Gabriel Pageau C 23 8 10 18 +6 25 1 1 0.78 1.09 87
9 Matt Puempel LW 23 6 11 17 -4 9 3 0 0.74 0.39 71
14 Patrick Mullen D 23 3 9 12 -2 10 2 0 0.52 0.43 35
10 Buddy Robinson RW 23 3 9 12 +4 14 0 1 0.52 0.61 41
20 Alex Grant D 23 2 10 12 -4 8 1 0 0.52 0.35 34
72 Aaron Johnson D 23 1 11 12 +14 22 0 0 0.52 0.96 29
57 Derek Grant C 23 7 4 11 +8 13 1 0 0.48 0.57 55
11 Carter Camper C 23 2 7 9 -3 2 0 0 0.39 0.09 25
3 Fredrik Claesson D 23 1 8 9 -2 11 0 0 0.39 0.48 28
* 43 Ryan Dzingel C 18 4 3 7 -5 19 0 0 0.39 1.06 30
* 17 Max McCormick LW 15 3 4 7 +4 32 0 0 0.47 2.13 26
22 David Dziurzynski LW 17 2 5 7 +7 42 0 0 0.41 2.47 18
* 27 Alex Guptill LW 14 3 2 5 +2 14 0 0 0.36 1.00 22
* 16 Garrett Thompson F 20 2 3 5 -1 16 0 0 0.25 0.80 26
8 Daniel New D 12 1 3 4 +6 8 0 0 0.33 0.67 14
37 Darren Kramer LW 22 0 4 4 -1 93 0 0 0.18 4.23 32
* 12 Danny Hobbs F 7 1 1 2 0 0 0 0 0.29 0.00 7
4 Michael Sdao D 14 1 1 2 -1 40 0 0 0.14 2.86 8
30 Andrew Hammond G 15 0 1 1 0 0 0 0 0.07 0.00 0
Not active on this team 41 Jakub Culek C 2 0 0 0 -1 2 0 0 0.00 1.00 4
Not active on this team 33 Chris Driedger G 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0.00 0.00 0
35 Scott Greenham G 7 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0.00 0.00 0

Numbers always need context, so let’s break down the lineup by position and experience.  I’ll begin with veterans (players no longer on ELCs), look at the prospects in at least year two of their pro career, and then at the rookies, all divided by position (in brackets I’ve put their ages followed by how many years they’ve been playing pro hockey, not including this one); I left Danny Hobbs out, btb, as I have Culek (the latter, despite being an actual prospect, clearly has no home in Bingo yet).

Forwards
Vets
Cole Schneider (24/2) – tied with Prince and Pageau as the top scoring forward on the team (and tied with the former for the goal lead), he’s had 14 points since my last post, which is the most of any player over that span
Derek Grant (24/3) – the best plus/minus among forwards, he’s on pace for a career high in points (he’s had six over the last thirteen games)
Carter Camper (26/3) – after a horrendous start to the season he’s notched eight points, but is in the midst of another slump (pointless in five games)
David Dziurzynski (25/4) – steady Dizzy had a rough start to the season with only two points in his first twelve games, but has now tallied in five straight
Prospects
Shane Prince (21/2) – looks to be breaking out in terms of production and was on fire in November (12 points in ten games)
Jean-Gabriel Pageau (22/2) – is one of the few B-Sens to produce consistently for the entire season; has ten points over the last thirteen games
Matt Puempel (21/1) – first-rounder has started to round into form with 11 points in his last thirteen
Buddy Robinson (23/1) – known principally for his size, he was plagued by inconsistency as a rookie and that continues; after a strong start he’s faded with just 5 points over the stretch
Darren Kramer (23/2) – something about him must impress Richardson, but it’s not his definitely not his play with the puck
Rookies
Ryan Dzingel (22) – after a horrendous 7 game pointless streak he’s had four in his last eight
Max McCormick (22) – there was some hesitancy in playing him early, but he’s dressed for 10 of the last 13 outings and posted 6 points
Alex Guptill (22) – a slow start from the rookie acquired in the Spezza trade, but when he’s played he’s been somewhat productive (4 points in his last six games)
Garrett Thompson (24) – an unheralded NCAA FA signing; I have no idea what the Sens thought they were getting with him, but “underwhelming” is the word with just two points in his last nine

Defensemen
Vets
Chris Wideman (24/2) – absolutely lights out this season and has nothing left to prove offensively in the AHL where he leads all defensemen in scoring; he deserves a call-up
Patrick Mullen (28/5) – after a rocky start to the season he’s rounded into form with nine points over the last thirteen games
Alex Grant (25/5) – had a very slow start (six points in eighteen games) before exploding of late
Aaron Johnson
(31/11) – a true veteran, he’s been as-advertised
Daniel New (25/2) – slatted for the ECHL, it seems like any time a hole needs to be plugged on the Binghamton blueline it’s the undrafted NCAA grad; doesn’t really do anything spectacular, but can get the job done in a limited way
Prospects
Fredrik Claesson (22/2) – steady Freddy had an awful start to the season before gradually rounding into form
Michael Sdao (25/1) – an unremarkable start isn’t a worrying sign for a player like Sdao who can still evolve (at least at the AHL level)

Goalies (all vets)
Andrew Hammond (26/1) – Richardson had an early season addiction to Hammond–or perhaps a lack of faith in Greenham–and overplayed him, but he’s been great in five of his last six starts
Scott Greenham (27/3) – slatted for the ECHL, he’s been good in every start except his last

At the moment the player who impresses most is Wideman; while others are having good seasons, he’s in the midst of a fantastic one.  On the flip side are the disappointments: Camper, Thompson (at 24 being a rookie is no excuse), and Sdao.  Of the rookies it’s hard to pick the standout right now, but the best looks to be either Dzingel or McCormick.

This article is written by Peter Levi (@eyeonthesens)

Senators News (December 10th)

I’ve been lost in the world of Dragon Age Inquisition for awhile, but I have kept my eye on the Sens and there’s a lot to talk about.

The return and official retirement of Daniel Alfredsson was well-handled and it’s great to have Alfie back in the city and involved.  I never doubted he’d return, and whatever misgivings Eugene Melynk may or may not have had he’s too acute a businessman to not roll out the welcoming mat and bring the franchise’s most important player back in the fold.  It’s clear Alfie left in the hopes of winning a Cup and it’s unfortunate for him that Detroit’s window was not open last year.  What impact he’ll have on the team day-to-day is hard to say, but it can only help the franchise now that he’s back.

Paul MacLean’s firing wasn’t particularly surprising (Nichols offers a great breakdown; Travis Yost has thoughts as well).  I saw this season as yet another rebuilding year, but the franchise either can’t accept or admit the fact so team performance was going to knock MacLean out no matter what he did.  I don’t see Dave Cameron as an NHL coach, but it’s a results oriented business and one never knows (I’m sure Luke Richardson rumours will start soon, if they haven’t already).  He’s certainly the person Melnyk wants on the bench (as it seems everyone is aware), and Cameron is getting his shot, even if I don’t think he has the pieces to do much more than finish on the outside looking in.  I’m keen to see how he distributes ice time, but don’t anticipate there will be significant changes in that regard (and on that note, here’s more on just how awful Chris Phillips is).

In terms of player performances, there’s been crying over Erik Karlsson‘s defensive play, but given the anchors he’s saddled with every night, I don’t empathise with the complainers.  As expected, Mika Zibanejad has come out of his shell offensively since I last posted, Curtis Lazar has fallen off the map (as has Zack Smith).  Phillips is awful, Cowen is awful, etc.  We know that plus/minus is largely meaningless, but it’s worth noting just how far ahead of his teammates Mike Hoffman is (at +10 he’s six up on second-placer Patrick Wiercioch).  Many of you are wondering what Colin Greening is getting paid for, but remember Colin is a smart guy and that money will let him build a time machine to go back to 2011-12 where he can find his game (and maybe Peter Regin‘s too–why not?).

Binghamton has been on fire of late, climbing back to a respectable 11-9-3 record on the season (which, granted, only puts them 11th in the conference).  I’ll have a comprehensive update specific to roster performance shortly, but the major difference has been a number of players rounding into form (Shane Prince, Cole Schneider, and others).  Jeff Ulmer has offered grades for the team (and here), but as he provides no criteria I’m not sure what those grades tangibly mean.

Evansville has played 19 games now and sits at 8-9-1 (11th in the Conference, just like Binghamton) and we can take a look at the play of the Sens prospects there:
Troy Rutkowski (19-1-7-8) is enjoying a much better sophomore season in the ECHL, which is faint praise for the FA signee, but at least there’s been some improvement
Jakub Culek (5-0-1-1) has been a spare part in Binghamton most of the year and his limited playing time can’t really be judged other than its lack is a bad sign
Chris Driedger (5-6-1 3.26 .901) buried behind Cal Heeter to start the season, after early struggles (1-4-1 with terrible numbers) he’s turned it around posting a pair of shutouts while all his numbers are improving (he’s also won both starts with Bingo)

Prospect update

SHL (Sweden)
Mikael Wikstrand (DOB 1993, DL, 7-196/12, Frolunda) 23-3-6-9
Over the last 10 games he’s picked up a goal and four assists and sits third in defensive scoring on the team
Andreas Englund (DOB 1996, DL, 2-40/14, Djurgarden) 28-1-3-4
Over his last ten games he has an assist; he’s at the Swedish WJC camp
Marcus Hogberg (DOB 1994, GL, 3-78/13, Linkoping) 4-5-0 2.43 .914
His numbers have improved substantially (especially GAA) over the past month

CHL
Francis Perron (DOB 1996, C/LW, 7-190/14, QMJHL, Rouyn-Noranda) 29-15-24-39
Has fourteen points over his last eleven games and is 17th in overall scoring in the Q
Tobias Lindberg
(DOB 1995, C/RW, 4-102/13, OHL, Oshawa) 27-13-22-35
Over his last 10 games he has thirteen points and sits 16th in OHL scoring
Nick Paul (DOB 1995, LW, 4-101/13 Dallas, OHL, North Bay) 27-19-15-34
Has sixteen points in his last eleven games and is 18th in OHL scoring; he’s at Canada’s WJC camp
Vincent Dunn (DOB 1995, CL, 5-138/13, QMJHL, Rimouski) 26-11-6-17
Over his last six games he has four points
Ben Harpur (DOB 1995, DL, 4-108/13, OHL, Guelph) 18-4-15-19
Continues on a surprisingly torrid pace, with nine points in his last eight games
Miles Gendron (DOB 1996, DL, 3-70/14, BCHL, Penticton) 31-4-9-13
After initial struggles he seems to be turning it around, with seven points in his last ten games

NCAA
Quentin Shore (DOB 1994, C/RW, 6-168/13, U Denver) 12-5-6-11
Has six points in his last five games
Chris Leblanc (DOB 1993, RW, 6-161/13, Merrimack) 8-3-0-3
Three goals in his last seven games
Shane Eiserman (DOB 1995, LW, 4-100/14, U New Hampshire) 10-2-1-3
No points in his three games
Robbie Baillargeon (DOB 1993, CR, 5-136/12, Boston U) 7-1-1-2
Has not played since my last update
Kelly Summers (DOB 1996, DR, 7-189/14, Clarkson) 14-0-1-1
No points in his last seven game

NCAA-III
Tim Boyle (DOB 1993, DR, 4-106/12, Endicott) 12-3-7-10
Has six points in his last five games

I’m hesitant to include Boyle in the list as playing at Endicott indicates to me that his pro aspirations are all but over, but at least for now I’ll still list him.

Finally, I’m fond of “where are they now” tidbits and thought I’d check in on some former Sens prospects:
Roman Wick: the Calder Cup winning (and Sens rights retaining) Swiss player is in the midst of his second consecutive season at a point-per-game pace with ZSC; I don’t think we’ll see the 28-year old cross the pond any time soon
Kaspars Daugavins: another Calder Cup winner, the Latvian is putting up good numbers in the KHL and could (if he desired) return to the NHL as a fourth-liner or spare forward
Andre Petersson: the fellow StarCraft-fan is putting up solid KHL numbers; at only 24 he’ll likely take another stab at the NHL, but probably only after a strong enough season in Europe to ensure a real shot
Corey Cowick: landed on his feet with Springfield, turning a PTO into an actual contract
Bryce Aneloski: never offered a contract after finishing his NCAA career, he’s managed to be a regular AHL call-up his first two pro seasons, but is still primarily an ECHL player
Jeff Costello: never suited up for Ottawa and is toiling away in the ECHL during his rookie season
Marcus Sorensen; never signed, now that he’s twenty-two he seems to have established himself as an SHL-regular and with strong enough numbers could turn that into an ELC with someone on this side of the Atlantic

This article is written by Peter Levi (@eyeonthesens)