Binghamton Senators Update

It has been awhile since my last Binghamton update.  You can get game-by-game reflections from theianalex over at The Silver Seven or from Jeff Ulmer at SenShot.  Back in December (my last update), the B-Sens were on a hot streak and seemed to be getting over some of their issues, but 18 games later and the reality is this roster has significant weaknesses.  Binghamton is 6-10-2 over the stretch, including a particularly ugly losing streak earlier this month.  Their 129 GF keeps them 3rd in the Conference, so scoring isn’t an issue, but their 137 GA puts them 14th and that’s where the trouble is.  Team defense and goaltending just isn’t up to snuff.  As for individual numbers, here’s a quick look:

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6 Chris Wideman D 40 13 21 34 +5 53 7 0 0.85 1.32 140
18 Shane Prince LW 39 14 18 32 +3 20 5 0 0.82 0.51 103
9 Matt Puempel LW 41 11 15 26 -8 21 5 0 0.63 0.51 121
15 Cole Schneider RW 34 12 13 25 -1 6 3 0 0.74 0.18 80
11 Carter Camper C 41 5 17 22 -2 12 0 0 0.54 0.29 65
57 Derek Grant C 40 13 7 20 -3 27 4 0 0.50 0.68 101
20 Alex Grant D 34 5 15 20 -6 36 4 0 0.59 1.06 55
14 Patrick Mullen D 41 4 16 20 -4 30 3 0 0.49 0.73 52
44 Jean-Gabriel Pageau C 25 8 10 18 +6 25 1 1 0.72 1.00 94
10 Buddy Robinson RW 40 7 10 17 +7 23 0 1 0.42 0.57 82
72 Aaron Johnson D 41 1 16 17 +6 42 0 0 0.41 1.02 67
* 43 Ryan Dzingel C 33 9 6 15 -9 29 1 0 0.45 0.88 55
3 Fredrik Claesson D 41 3 10 13 -2 19 0 0 0.32 0.46 44
* 17 Max McCormick LW 32 6 6 12 +3 97 0 1 0.38 3.03 59
22 David Dziurzynski LW 34 4 7 11 +1 75 0 0 0.32 2.21 43
8 Daniel New D 22 2 7 9 +4 17 0 0 0.41 0.77 25
37 Darren Kramer LW 39 2 7 9 +1 161 0 0 0.23 4.13 53
* 27 Alex Guptill LW 29 4 4 8 +2 30 0 0 0.28 1.03 37
* 16 Garrett Thompson C 35 2 5 7 -4 27 0 0 0.20 0.77 41
19 Brad Mills C 9 1 3 4 -4 11 0 0 0.44 1.22 14
4 Michael Sdao D 22 1 2 3 -3 76 0 0 0.14 3.45 14
* 12 Danny Hobbs LW 7 1 1 2 0 0 0 0 0.29 0.00 7
24 David Marshall RW 4 1 0 1 0 2 0 0 0.25 0.50 1
30 Andrew Hammond G 25 0 1 1 0 0 0 0 0.04 0.00 0
5 Marc Methot D 1 0 0 0 -2 0 0 0 0.00 0.00 1
84 Todd Bertuzzi RW 2 0 0 0 -3 0 0 0 0.00 0.00 2
* 41 Jakub Culek C 2 0 0 0 -1 2 0 0 0.00 1.00 4
* 33 Chris Driedger G 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0.00 0.00 0
21 Shawn Szydlowski RW 3 0 0 0 0 2 0 0 0.00 0.67 2
5 Nick Tuzzolino (total) click to view the entire list for Nick Tuzzolino D 3 0 0 0 -2 0 0 0 0.00 0.00 3
     Utica Comets D 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0.00 0.00 0
     Binghamton Senators D 2 0 0 0 -2 0 0 0 0.00 0.00 3
7 Guillaume Lepine D 5 0 0 0 +1 14 0 0 0.00 2.80 4
31 Peter Mannino (total) click to view the entire list for Peter Mannino G 8 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0.00 0.00 0
     Portland Pirates G 3 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0.00 0.00 0
     Binghamton Senators G 5 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0.00 0.00 0
35 Scott Greenham G 13 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0.00 0.00 0
1 Scott Greenham 13 706:33 28 1 2.38 7 4 1 378 350 0.926
2 * Chris Driedger 2 119:57 6 0 3.00 2 0 0 55 49 0.891
3 Andrew Hammond 25 1368:43 80 2 3.51 7 13 2 782 702 0.898
4 Peter Mannino (total) click to view the entire list for  8 420:49 25 0 3.56 1 3 2 252 227 0.901

It’s worth noting that Scott Greenham, with by far the better numbers of Binghamton’s goalies, is currently babysitting the awful Evansville affiliate in the ECHL.  Picking Mannino off the scrap-heap hasn’t helped and Luke Richardson still hasn’t figured out Hammond can’t handle back-to-back starts.  The results are certainly the reason Bryan Murray threw Bingo’s goaltenders under the bus last week.

As for the rest of the roster, Wideman continues his fantastic season, even if he hasn’t been able to keep up his point-per-game pace.  Prince leads all scorers over the 18 games with 14 points (followed by Camper with 13, Wideman with 11, and both Puempel and Mullen with 9; Schneider and Alex Grant, if healthy, would certainly be among the leaders).  On the negative side, it’s clear FA signee Thompson is a complete dud (two points in his last fifteen), while Guptill (three points in his last fifteen) looks like dead weight Dallas was ejecting when they traded for Jason Spezza.  I think if Dzingel cleaned up his play without the puck he has a bright future.  I’m on the fence about Puempel; I expect more production from a first-round pick whose forte was scoring, but on the other hand he needs the opportunities to make it happen and whatever his stats are he’s still near the top of Bingo’s charts.

Back to my favourite topic, Binghamton’s goaltending.  I’m not sure why management wanted to send Greenham down and sign a veteran goaltender mid-season, but doing that, why choose Mannino?  The decision has been a disaster and the blame can’t fully fall on the team in front of him since Greenham won with the same players.  Mannino has won just a single game and only had a GAA under 3.00 in his most recent (OT) loss.  Incredibly, Hammond has also only won a single game since his signing and his numbers are worse with his new partner.  Admittedly, Binghamton has no hope of making the playoffs, so the team might as well play younger players, but that means Mannino‘s addition makes even less sense.  The move smells of Bryan Murray–acquiring an older player when it’s too late who has no positive impact whatsoever.  It’s still early, admittedly.

With Jakub Culek no longer part of the organisation, only Troy Rutkowski and Chris Dreidger are the only prospects remaining in Evansville.  Neither player is excelling, but given how awful the team around them is, I’m not sure how much can be drawn from that.  Driedger is a young goalie, so there’s time for him to improve, but I think the clock has run out on Rutkowski‘s.

This article is written by Peter Levi (@eyeonthesens)

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Senators News (January 21st)

The Sens have announced they are parting ways with Colin Greening, burying him in the AHL barring a trade, but it’s an incredible admission of failure by Bryan Murray given that he just signed Cyborg to his absurd deal less than a year ago.  I don’t think dumping him improves the team much–making room for Chris Neil is not an upgrade–but it’s good for Greening to get a fresh start elsewhere.

Along with the Greening news and the lamentable return to the lineup of both Chris Phillips and Neil, Murray continued to talk about adding a top forward.  I can’t figure out how serious Murray is about this–who would trade such a player, and what could he offer them that he’s willing to give up?  Most of the Sens disposable prize assets were dispatched to land Bobby Ryan and there are few teams willing to give up a player of his caliber.  I wonder how much the talk is simply press material to encourage fans to show up and have hope.  Nichols (via the link) points out that even if such a trade occurred the Sens would still be a couple of pieces away from being an elite team.

Nichols also says some confusing things about the Sens prospects in his article:

With the exception of a Cody Ceci or a Curtis Lazar and possibly a Robin Lehner, I cannot say with any kind of confidence that this team’s youth is going to get significantly better than the level that they are performing at right now.  That, of course, isn’t to say that there isn’t young value here, there is. Mike Hoffman and Mark Stone in particular have demonstrated themselves to be efficient and reliable players who probably warrant more playing time than they’re currently receiving, but the bulk of Ottawa’s youth projects second or third line players. I know that it’s beating a drum at this point and it’s easy to say, but this team needs an injection of elite talent. Without it, I just don’t see how this organization can escape, especially with its budget, being anything more than a playoff bubble team that relies heavily upon its goaltenders to carry them through the season.

I’m not sure what he means here, which makes commenting on it difficult.  Youth (other than the three cited) is not getting better…and then he references Stone and Hoffman who are both young players who got better.  Nichols then disses second and third line players, which implies that the only prospects he thinks are significant are front line players, but I don’t think Lazar or Ceci qualify as either, so…?  I feel like either I’m either missing the point or Nichols is engaging in hyperbole.  Regardless, sure, Ottawa could use elite talent (all teams could), but realistically that comes from top draft picks and the Sens have had few and far between of those.

I do like Nichols providing some of the litany of useless veteran players Murray has added over the years–his addiction to players well past their prime is something that hasn’t been fully tackled and must relate to ideas of “leadership” Murray has absorbed.  My annual review of Murray has the full list–view at your peril.

Speaking of Phillips, the guys at TSN 1200 need to stop giving me hope that the franchise will ever move Big Rig.  Stop playing with my heart boys, we know it’s not going to happen.

Todd Bertuzzi‘s debut with Binghamton was underwhelming, but it will take a few more games to find out if the veterans has any gas left in the tank.  There are other (current) additions to the lineup in Bingo.  Shawn Szydlowski (who was at Ottawa’s 09-10 training camp) was called up from Fort Wayne; David Marshall from Reading; and defenseman Guillaume Lepine from Evansville.  Don’t expect any of these players to push their way onto the roster ala Daniel New.

Prospect update (players signed are in green, those for whom decisions must be made this year are in red)

SHL (Sweden)
Mikael Wikstrand (DOB 1993, DL, 7-196/12, Frolunda) 32-4-9-13
Two points in his last two games
Andreas Englund (DOB 1996, DL, 2-40/14, Djurgarden) 33-1-3-4
No points in his last two games
Marcus Hogberg (DOB 1994, GL, 3-78/13, Linkoping) 8-8-0 2.54 .907
Hasn’t started since last time

CHL
Francis Perron (DOB 1996, C/LW, 7-190/14, QMJHL, Rouyn-Noranda) 41-18-35-53
One point in his last two; 17th in overall scoring
Tobias Lindberg (DOB 1995, C/RW, 4-102/13, OHL, Oshawa) 42-19-31-50
Three points in his last three games; 17th in overall scoring
Nick Paul (DOB 1995, LW, 4-101/13 Dallas, OHL, North Bay) 32-20-17-37
One point in his last three games
Vincent Dunn (DOB 1995, CL, 5-138/13, QMJHL, Rimouski) 35-15-10-25
One point in his last two games
Ben Harpur (DOB 1995, DL, 4-108/13, OHL, Guelph/Barrie) 32-4-18-22
One point in his last three games
Miles Gendron (DOB 1996, DL, 3-70/14, BCHL, Penticton) 40-4-11-15
No points in his last game

NCAA
Quentin Shore (DOB 1994, C/RW, 6-168/13, U Denver) 20-6-9-15
Two points in his last two games
Shane Eiserman (DOB 1995, LW, 4-100/14, U New Hampshire) 18-3-4-7
One point in his last three games
Chris Leblanc (DOB 1993, RW, 6-161/13, Merrimack) 12-3-3-6
One point in his last two games
Robbie Baillargeon (DOB 1993, CR, 5-136/12, Boston U) 12-1-3-4
No points in his last two games
 Kelly Summers (DOB 1996, DR, 7-189/14, Clarkson) 20-3-1-4
One point in his last two games

NCAA-III
Tim Boyle (DOB 1993, DR, 4-106/12, Endicott) 15-3-8-11
His next game is on Friday

Joshua Weissbock thinks the NHL has a scouting problem, citing an old Scott Cullen column where he ranks picks from the pre-cap era (which seems pretty pointless, but at the time of the column, 2009, I don’t think he had much choice).  Interestingly, Weissbock says:

On average teams hope to select at least 1 future NHLer, but 2 or more is considered a success.

He doesn’t cite any sources for that conclusion, but it’s the same as mine from last year.  Unfortunately, Weissbock starts making his conclusions about scouting that includes data before the cap–prior to that change, scouting wasn’t accepted as important across the NHL and big budget teams really could spend their way out of trouble if managed right, so those results don’t reflect current practice.  That being said, he does hit on one issue that still exists: the addiction to the size of players.  It’s the only specific he mentions, but it’s true that most of the players missed by NHL scouts are smaller, as I’ve shown in the past.  That being said, I disagree with his conclusion that there’s a serious problem with scouting in general as scouts pick the overwhelming majority of NHL players.  For my part, other than the reluctance to pick smaller players, the only need I see for NHL teams is a willingness to scout Europe more thoroughly.

This article is written by Peter Levi (@eyeonthesens)

Senators News (January 13th)

It’s hard to believe that Todd Bertuzzi signing a PTO in Binghamton is about the most exciting thing that’s happened over the last week.  The B-Sens continue to spiral down the drain and the team here in Ottawa continues to be consistently inconsistent.

Nichols looks at what’s different about the Sens play between Paul MacLean and Dave Cameron this year, coming to essentially the same conclusions Amelia did a couple of weeks ago.  The Sens are slightly better under Cameron, with most of the differences are tied to different player usage (less reliance on aging veterans, primarily).  There’s still some reluctance by Cameron to use Mike Hoffman on the powerplay while continuing to inexplicably use David Legwand on the PP, but a lot of the decisions he’s made make sense.  Nichols main conclusion is, however, that the team doesn’t have enough overall talent to truly compete and that Sens management (over the last few years) has made trades that only make sense for a team that’s attempting to make a run in the playoffs.  On the whole I agree with him.

Mrs. O re-visits the notion of trading Craig Anderson, but remains unsure if it’s the right idea.  She makes the salient point that what to do with Anderson depends highly on where the Sens think they are–a playoff contender or a rebuilding team.  If it’s the latter, there’s no reason to keep Anderson, but the evidence we have suggests Murray and Co believe the team is the former (as Nichols bemoans), in which case trading him makes no sense.

Prospect update (players signed are in green, those for whom decisions must be made this year are in red)

SHL (Sweden)
Mikael Wikstrand (DOB 1993, DL, 7-196/12, Frolunda) 30-4-7-11
No points in his last two games
Andreas Englund (DOB 1996, DL, 2-40/14, Djurgarden) 31-1-3-4
No points in his first game since returning from the WJC
Marcus Hogberg (DOB 1994, GL, 3-78/13, Linkoping) 8-8-0 2.54 .907
He’s 2-1 over the week, with his underlying numbers dipping very slightly

CHL
Francis Perron (DOB 1996, C/LW, 7-190/14, QMJHL, Rouyn-Noranda) 39-18-34-54
Three points in his last two games; 16th in overall scoring
Tobias Lindberg (DOB 1995, C/RW, 4-102/13, OHL, Oshawa) 39-18-29-47
One point in his last three games; 17th in overall scoring
Nick Paul (DOB 1995, LW, 4-101/13 Dallas, OHL, North Bay) 29-20-16-36
Two points in the two games since he returned from the WJC
Vincent Dunn (DOB 1995, CL, 5-138/13, QMJHL, Rimouski) 33-14-10-24
Two points in his last two games
Ben Harpur (DOB 1995, DL, 4-108/13, OHL, Guelph/Barrie) 29-4-17-21
Traded to Barrie, he had a point in his last game
Miles Gendron (DOB 1996, DL, 3-70/14, BCHL, Penticton) 39-4-11-15
A point in his last game

NCAA
Quentin Shore (DOB 1994, C/RW, 6-168/13, U Denver) 18-6-7-13
No points in his last two games
Shane Eiserman (DOB 1995, LW, 4-100/14, U New Hampshire) 15-3-3-6
No points in his last game
Chris Leblanc (DOB 1993, RW, 6-161/13, Merrimack) 10-3-2-5
Has not played since last time
Robbie Baillargeon (DOB 1993, CR, 5-136/12, Boston U) 10-1-3-4
Two points in his last two games
Kelly Summers
(DOB 1996, DR, 7-189/14, Clarkson) 18-2-1-3
No points in his last two games

NCAA-III
Tim Boyle (DOB 1993, DR, 4-106/12, Endicott) 15-3-8-11
Hasn’t played since last time

This article is written by Peter Levi (@eyeonthesens)

Senators News (January 5th)

As excited as I am that Canada has reached the finals of the WJC, it’s been a lacklustre elimination round for them as they were never going to lose to Denmark or Slovakia.  At least the other side of the bracket was dynamic.  That aside, another week of Sens and B-Sens action has come and gone and here’s a look at various points of interest.

Ottawa has gone 2-1-1 since my last post.  Against Detroit the Sens blew two separate leads to lose 3-2 in overtime; despite falling behind 2-1 to Buffalo they rallied for a 5-2 win; they faced the same 2-1 deficit against Boston, but beat the Bruins 3-2 in overtime; then last night they blew two separate leads once again to lose 4-2 to Tampa Bay.  Other than an empty net goal from Colin Greening, the goals scored came from Bobby Ryan (4), Kyle Turris (2), Mike Hoffman (2), Clarke MacArthur (2), and Mark Stone (1); Erik Karlsson picked up 4 assists.

Chris Wideman got a much-deserved call-up to Ottawa while Marc Methot is on a conditioning assignment in Binghamton; I hope Wideman gets a game to reward his efforts in the AHL.

Nichols writes about Pierre Dorian’s most recent interview and a couple of things stood out to me: the comments by Dorian on Nick Paul are pretty generic and muted (to my mind), which isn’t to say there’s reason to be disappointed with him, but as Nichols points out, he projects as a third-liner so there’s no need to jump too hard onto the hype train.  Dorian also repeated what’s been a mantra since last year–the 2015 draft is very deep and very good.  Nichols used comments on Hoffman to repeat what a good possession player he is.

Ary M looks at scoring chances via a new update from the folks at War on Ice.  A lot of what’s revealed is as expected (Chris Phillips, David Legwand, and Chris Neil are awful), but there some interesting notes: Patrick Wiercioch is higher than anyone on the chart and Curtis Lazar shows better than expected.

The B-Sens returned both Jakub Culek and Scott Greenham to Evansville.  The latter move puzzles me, as Greenham has played very well with Binghamton, but with Mannino in the picture it’s clearly a numbers game.

Speaking of the B-Sens, they also went 2-1-1 since my last post, with both wins coming from Greenham before he was sent down.

Evansville is in the midst of a five game losing streak.  Troy Rutkowski‘s numbers aren’t spectacular down in the ECHL, but he still leads the team in scoring from the blueline; Jakub Culek has nothing to show since his return, while Chris Driedger has lost all five of the games in the losing streak and looked bad in three of them.

Prospect update

SHL (Sweden)
Mikael Wikstrand (DOB 1993, DL, 7-196/12, Frolunda) 28-4-7-11
Two points in his last two games
Andreas Englund (DOB 1996, DL, 2-40/14, Djurgarden) 30-1-3-4
Had no points for Sweden in the WJC (6-0-0-0)
Marcus Hogberg (DOB 1994, GL, 3-78/13, Linkoping) 6-7-0 2.51 .911
Returned from Oskarshamin in the Allsvenskan and improved his numbers while winning two of his last three games

CHL
Francis Perron (DOB 1996, C/LW, 7-190/14, QMJHL, Rouyn-Noranda) 37-18-33-51
Nine points in his last five games
Tobias Lindberg
(DOB 1995, C/RW, 4-102/13, OHL, Oshawa) 36-17-29-46
Seven points in his last five games
Nick Paul (DOB 1995, LW, 4-101/13 Dallas, OHL, North Bay) 27-19-15-34
In the WJC he’s 6-2-0-2, the third fewest points among Canada’s forwards
Vincent Dunn (DOB 1995, CL, 5-138/13, QMJHL, Rimouski) 31-12-10-22
No points in his last game
Ben Harpur (DOB 1995, DL, 4-108/13, OHL, Guelph) 28-4-16-20
No points in his last four games
Miles Gendron (DOB 1996, DL, 3-70/14, BCHL, Penticton) 38-4-10-14
No points in his last two games

NCAA
Quentin Shore (DOB 1994, C/RW, 6-168/13, U Denver) 16-6-7-13
No points in his last two games
Shane Eiserman (DOB 1995, LW, 4-100/14, U New Hampshire) 14-3-3-6
One point in his last two games
Chris Leblanc (DOB 1993, RW, 6-161/13, Merrimack) 10-3-2-5
Two points in his last two games
Kelly Summers (DOB 1996, DR, 7-189/14, Clarkson) 16-2-1-3
Two points in his last game
Robbie Baillargeon (DOB 1993, CR, 5-136/12, Boston U) 8-1-1-2
No points in his last game

NCAA-III
Tim Boyle (DOB 1993, DR, 4-106/12, Endicott) 15-3-8-11
Hasn’t played since last time

This article is written by Peter Levi (@eyeonthesens)