Binghamton Senators: Year in Review

The long season for the Binghamton Senators has ended at last.  It’s a lost season in terms of team performance, where despite leading the conference in GF (242), they finished 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 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 red.  Grade rationale is simple: A – above expectations, B – met expectations, C – didn’t grow, but didn’t decline, D – below expectations, F – awful.  I’ve been critical of grading systems in general, but that’s when they aren’t attached to specific meanings.  I’ve left Pageau out of the following as he spent more time with Ottawa this season; I also cut out the ECHL call-ups that aren’t Sens prospects.

Shane Prince RFA (2-61/11) DOB 92 72-28-37-65 0.9 ppg  [NHL 2-0-1-1] Grade A
The final year of his ELC, Prince enjoyed a career year (a 17 point improvement over last season and he finished 6th in overall scoring in the AHL).  There’s nothing left to prove for him at this level and he’s certainly an upgrade over some of the dead weight on Ottawa’s roster

Chris Wideman UFA* (4-100/09) DOB 91 75-19-42-61 0.81ppg Grade A
The Eddie Shore winning defenseman missed out on an NHL debut due to the glut of middling one-way contracts clogging up the arteries of Ottawa’s blueline; it’s a 10 point improvement over last year and he lead the AHL in scoring by a defenseman.  If it weren’t for his size I think he’d be a slamdunk to bump some of Ottawa’s current blueline out
* as of July 1st

Cole Schneider RFA (FA 2012) DOB 90 66-29-29-58 0.84ppg Grade B
A slight statistical improvement for him (4 more points than last year), notably he scored 9 more goals and shot the puck more (30 more attempts than last season).  He doesn’t get the hype of the high draft picks, but he remains a solid NHL prospect who deserves a shot somewhere (even if it’s not with Ottawa)

Carter Camper UFA (FA 2014) DOB 88 75-15-37-52 0.69ppg Grade D
Was awful to start the season, but when Binghamton had no chance to make the playoffs he suddenly caught fire; while his actual point total isn’t off the norm, his points-per-game are his lowest since he turned pro

Derek Grant UFA (4-119/08) DOB 90 73-21-17-38 0.52ppg Grade B
Set career highs in goals, points, and points-per-game while playing a checking role; I’m not sure what his NHL upside is (part-time fourth-liner or full-time player?), but there’s not much left for him to prove in the AHL

Aaron Johnson UFA (3-85/01 Clb) DOB 83 73-6-29-35 0.48ppg Grade C
Didn’t make the blueline any better, but put up his usual numbers

Ryan Dzingel 15/16 (7-204/11) DOB 92 66-17-17-34 0.52ppg Grade B
While a work in progress defensively, given how he was used in the lineup these are good numbers for the rookie

Buddy Robinson 15/16 (FA 2013) DOB 91 75-12-22-34 0.45ppg Grade C
Despite flashes here and there, this season was one of treading water for the big winger

Alex Grant UFA (4-118/07 Pit) DOB 89 58-6-27-33 0.57ppg Grade D
He struggled to stay healthy and while his offensive output was fine, defensively he was a mess

Matt Puempel 15/16 (1-24/11) DOB 93 51-12-20-32 0.63ppg [NHL 13-2-1-3] Grade D
Tread water in terms of his numbers; got a courtesy call-up to Ottawa when things were disastrous for the Sens and then hung on until injured

Patrick Mullen UFA DOB 86 54-5-24-29 0.54ppg Grade D
Much like Alex Grant above, his offensive production was fine, but he struggled to stay healthy and did nothing to solidify a struggling blueline defensively

Max McCormick 15/16 (6-171/11) DOB 92 62-10-10-20 0.32ppg Grade B
Slotted into a grinding role, he fought too much (11 times), but otherwise he had an excellent rookie season with signs of growth for next year

Fredrik Claesson RFA (5-126/11) DOB 92 76-4-15-19 0.25ppg Grade C
A tough season for the player coming off such a great year; his numbers dropped, but that’s largely because of the glut of veteran players eating up offensive opportunities; I take the season as a blip and he’ll be fine next year

Alex Guptill 15/16 (3-77/10 Dal) DOB 92 61-9-9-18 0.30ppg Grade F
Discarded by Dallas in the Jason Spezza trade, he was awful this season

Darren Kramer RFA (6-156/11) DOB 91 70-5-12-17 0.24ppg Grade C
Was dressed far more often than he should have been, but that’s not his fault; what can you expect from a player with his limitations?

Garrett Thompson RFA (FA 2014) DOB 90 65-6-8-14 0.22ppg Grade F
An awful free agent signing who showed no signs of potential (why they kept him in Bingo all year is beyond me)

Brad Mills UFA (FA 2014) DOB 83 34-4-10-14 0.41ppg Grade F
I have no idea why the Sens decided to sign the veteran to an AHL contract after he was suspended for PEDs, nor why they insisted on giving him ice time over actual prospects

David Dziurzynski 15/16 (FA 2010) DOB 89 39-4-10-14 0.36ppg Grade C
Missed more than half the season, but when he played he was his usual, dependable self

Daniel New UFA DOB 89 33-2-7-9 0.27ppg Grade D
Signed to be a call-up from the ECHL, injury kept him up all year where increased exposure showed his shortcomings as an AHL-regular

Troy Rutkowski 15/16 (5-137/10) DOB 92 15-2-2-4 0.27ppg [ECHL 54-6-18-24] Grade F
While his numbers improved in the ECHL, he still hasn’t established himself as an AHL-regular and as a drafted prospect that’s failure

Michael Sdao 15/16 (7-191/09) DOB 89 33-2-2-4 0.12ppg Grade D
I can’t call this season a failure given how little he played; it’s worth keeping in mind how many veterans and higher end prospects he has to play behind, however–you don’t put up good numbers if you play on the third pairing without powerplay time

Scott Greenham UFA DOB 87 15-11-2 2.77 .916 [ECHL 1-4-2 3.50 .903] Grade B
Signed to start in the ECHL, he wound up being Binghamton’s most consistent goaltender this season

Andrew Hammond UFA (FA 2013) DOB 88 7-13-2 3.51 .898 [NHL 20-1-5 1.79 .941] Grade F
His grade is for Binghamton only; he was inexcusably bad in the AHL, especially given what he’s shown in Ottawa

Peter Mannino UFA DOB 84 6-10-4 3.99 .891 Grade F
I have no idea why the coaching staff kept starting him; he was awful; in hindsight they should have simply brought Driedger up rather than signing him

Chris Driedger 16/17 (3-76/12) DOB 94 6-0-0 2.55 .923 [ECHL 8-27-4 3.78 .885] Grade D
He was fine when playing for the BSens, but was awful in Evansville (admittedly for a bad team, but other goaltenders there put up better numbers)

Scanning through the performances the most alarming issues are organisational choices (the players signed), with a minor nod to bizarre coaching choices.  Clearly the major issue was on the blueline and in goal.  Ultimately Greenham (and, perhaps, Driedger) offered a certain amount of stability, but the blueline never really improved despite being loaded with veteran players.  While UFAs allow the team to change both ends of the equation drastically, the apparent decision to let Mikael Wikstrand spend yet another year in Sweden while under contract boggles the mind.

It’s difficult to know where the organisation will be next season–will they finally stop signing useless veterans?  And which prospects will they bring in?  As it stands it’s a mostly underwhelming group composed of Vincent Dunn, Ben Harpur, and Nick Paul.  The former two look like marginal players while the most exciting signed prospect (Wikstrand) doesn’t seem to be in the cards for next season.  There are still players who could be signed, like Tobias Lindberg or Marcus Hogberg, but it remains to be seen.  As it stands here are the players on the roster for next season and some guesses on who will join them:

Forwards (8): Ryan Dzingel, Buddy Robinson, Matt Puempel, Max McCormick, Alex Guptill, David Dziurzynski, Vincent Dunn, Nick Paul
Defense (4): Fredrik Claesson, Troy Rutkowski, Michael Sdao, Ben Harpur
Goaltenders (1): Chris Driedger

I think Shane Prince, Cole Schneider, Derek Grant, and Chris Wideman will be retained.  I don’t think they’ll win the Mike O’Connor sweepstakes in goal, which will push them to sign Hogberg.  I see no reason for them not to sign Lindberg, but this still leaves them short on the blueline and I’m not sure how they’ll address that.

Another question is: will Luke Richardson still be coaching the team?  I’m not so certain.  A better question is would the team be better without him?  Thus far I’d have to say yes, so long as a competent coach replaces him.  Regardless, we can hope next year will be a banner one for the BSens.

This article is written by Peter Levi (@eyeonthesens)

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3 Comments

  1. […] worrying signs for me about Richardson started last year, when I concluded the team would be better off without him (his flaws the first two seasons were […]

  2. […] is in the books for Binghamton and it’s time for my review (you can read last year’s here).  Let’s start with the basics: the team finished 31-38-7 (14th in the conference), falling […]

  3. […] Subpar year for Carter, while Grant and Mullen both struggled to stay healthy and PED-user Mills was inexplicably given ice time over actual prospects (my full review here). […]


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