Binghamton Senators Season Overview (updated)

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Since my last update Binghamton has gone 8-3-1 (their hot streak is 9-3-1), an amazing run which has them…last in their division and the conference.  It’s worth noting the win streak coincides exactly with the decision to demote Stortini to the fourth line.  Let’s look at the big numbers:
15-20-3 (last in the conference, 27th overall)
109 GF (9th in the conference and 16th overall)
123 GA (11th in the conference and 23rd overall)
18.5% PP (10th overall)
81.5% PK (tied for 20th overall)
8 games with a significant positive shot differential (5-2-1)
10 games with a significant negative shot differential (5-6-0)
Record when giving up a PP goal 5-15-1
Record when scoring a PP goal 10-6-1

Scoring is close to where it was in my first recap (tied for 7th in the conference); goals against has risen from last in the league to 23rd; their hapless powerplay has recovered; their PK remains in the bottom third of the AHL.  Other notes of interest:
-In 9 of their 15 wins the BSens have given up 1 goal or less
-Team GAA when Harpur is out of the lineup is 3.00 (vs 3.76 when he plays)

Before we get to player-by-player breakdowns, here are individual stat leaders by a few different categories:

Even Strength Point Leaders (by points-per-game)
Dzingel 27 (0.71)
Lindberg 16 (0.57)
O’Dell 18 (0.52)
Puempel 14 (0.48)
Dziurzynski 12 (0.46)
Schneider 15 (0.39)
McCormick 8 (0.36)
Robinson 10 (0.33)
Kostka 10 (0.31)
Paul 11 (0.29)
Mullen 10 (0.27)
Lepine 8 (0.25)
Claesson 7 (0.24)
Stortini 8 (0.22)
Flanagan 4 (0.21)
Allen 7 (0.21)
Penny 3 (0.20)
Greening 7 (0.20)
Carlisle 4 (0.14)
Sdao 1 (0.12)
Ewanyk 4 (0.12)
Fraser 3 (0.08)
Harpur 1 (0.04)
Rutkowski 0 (3 GP)
Tuzzolino 0 (9 GP)

Powerplay Point Leaders (bracketed: on-ice for PP goals)
Schneider 13 (18)
Puempel 10 (14)
O’Dell 8 (14)
Mullen 6 (10)
Kostka 5 (10)
Dzingel 3 (14)
Lindberg 4 (5)
Stortini 4 (5)
Paul 3 (5)
Greening 3 (5)
Carlisle 1 (3)
Claesson 1 (2)
Allen 1 (1)
Ewanyk 1 (1)

On-Ice for powerplay goals against
Claesson 20
Kostka 15
Dziurzynski 11
Ewanyk 10
Schneider 9
Fraser 9
Mullen 8
Greening 8
McCormick 7
Lepine 6
Robinson 6
Hobbs 3
Penny 2
Allen 2
5 players tied at 1

I’m not a huge fan of using grades to assess players, but it’s a simple way to reflect how they’ve played.  I previously spent a lot of time breaking down performance by line combination, but for the most part the lines have been steady so I’ll only note it where relevant.  A=above and beyond expectations, B=exceeds expectations, C=meets expectations, D=below expectations, F=god awful; other acronyms: PPG = points-per-game, ESP=even-strength points PPP=powerplay points, SOG=shots on goal:

Cole Schneider 38-12-18-30 PPG 0.78 ESP 15 PPP 13 SOG 107 Grade C
His 5-on-5 production isn’t where you’d want it, but he’s been the main cog on the powerplay.  He’s spent the last 13 games playing with Paul and Lindberg and while he technically has good numbers, most of those have been generated with the man advantage (10 of his 13 points).  Randy Lee says his skating is keeping him from his NHL debut.

Ryan Dzingel 38-10-20-30 PPG 0.78 ESP 27 PPP 3 SOG 100 Grade A
It’s been a fantastic season for him , but his point totals have slipped during the win streak–his line hasn’t scored much 5-on-5 (7 of his 9 points that way) and as that’s where most of Dzingel’s points come from it has seen his points-per-game start to slip. Robinson is the problem on the line (while a solid top-9 forward, he doesn’t produce enough to play on the first line).

Eric O’Dell 34-14-12-26 PPG 0.76 ESP 18 PPP 8 SOG 67 Grade C
Has seen a similar even strength drop as Dzingel above (7 of 12 points are at even strength).  He’s played well, but not above expectations.

Matt Puempel 29-13-11-24 PPG 0.82 ESP 14 PPP 10 SOG 81 Grade B
Has spent the entire streak playing with offensive non-entities Greening and Flanagan, but due to prodigious powerplay production he’s continued to produce (8 of 12 point on the powerplay; apparently enough to earn a call-up).  He currently leads the BSens on a points-per-game basis, but that’s simply a quirk of a hot powerplay (while I credit him for it, it’s not sustainable)–at even strength he’s largely non-existent (something exasperated by his linemates).

Tobias Lindberg 28-4-16-20 PPG 0.71 ESP 16 PPP 4 SOG 59 Grade B
Has spent the streak with Nick Paul and Cole Schneider; it’s odd to say that Schneider is the weak link offensively on the line, but that could simply be matter of sample size.  As for the Swede, he’s continued to produce (9 points, with 3 coming from the punchless second unit powerplay).  In watching Lindberg I think he’s still suffering somewhat from his injury earlier in the season, but there’s a ton of offensive brilliance and he’s very much responsible for getting Paul’s season back on track.

Patrick Mullen 36-1-15-16 PPG 0.44 ESP 10 PPP 6 SOG 41 Grade C
The unpopular defensemen was peddled away to Milwaukee not long ago for Conor Allen; his performance had slipped a little since my last update, although he was still better than most of the other blueliners.

Michael Kostka 32-2-13-15 PPG 0.46 ESP 10 PPP 5 SOG 84 Grade C
His promotion to the first unit powerplay has helped his production considerably (5 points of late, to which he’s added 2 at even strength).  He’s spent all his time carrying Lepine.  A steady if unremarkable player, his defensive prowess is overblown by the local coverage, but he’s the best blueliner on the team now.

David Dziurzynski 26-6-8-14 PPG 0.53 ESP 12 SOG 32 Grade C
I predicted awhile ago that Dizzy’s production would slip and that began to happen until he was called up to Ottawa.  Upon his return, despite being on the fourth line (with Stortini and Penny), he’s actually back at a career clip (3 points in 6 games).  It will likely drop, but he clearly benefits from having someone with decent hands (Penny) playing with him.  On the flip side, he regularly takes dumb penalties and at this point in his career it’s clearly a problem that’s not going to be solved.

Nick Paul 37-5-9-14 PPG 0.37 ESP 11 PPP 3 SOG 67 Grade D
After flailing for a lengthy period of time after he was benched early in the season, Paul has finally found a home playing with Lindberg and Schneider.  He’s in the midst of his most consistent production (7 points, all at even strength) and this has helped his confidence.  The real test will be continuing at this pace for the remainder of the season.

Buddy Robinson 30-8-4-12 PPG 0.40 ESP 10 SOG 54 Grade C
His production has taken the expected leap since being put on the first line (7 points), but while that’s excellent for Buddy he’s a drag on his linemates (O’Dell and Dzingel).  I like Robinson and thought having him on the fourth line was ridiculous, but he’s much better suited to third line (or, perhaps, second line) duty.

Zach Stortini 36-6-6-12 PPG 0.33 ESP 8 PPP 4 SOG 42 Grade F
He just as terrible as he was at the start of the season–he can’t skate, can’t pass, can’t shoot, rarely fights, and takes a ton of bad penalties.  He lumbers around on the fourth line or the powerplay and occasionally a puck bounces in off him.  For those impressed by his numbers you need to realise he’s been afforded offensive opportunities far above and beyond his skill level.

Colin Greening 35-6-5-11 PPG 0.31 ESP 7 PPP 3 SOG 78 Grade D
Has spent his time on the third line and looked less and less impressive as the season has gone on (he’s had 1 point during the streak).  Not a great passer, he’s Mike Fisher-like in skating into the zone and just firing the puck.  The only time he’s looked semi-decent this season was a brief period when he was playing with Dziurzynski, but frankly, Greening needs a fresh start somewhere else.

Max McCormick 22-7-3-10 PPG 0.45 ESP 8 SOG 54 Grade C
In the NHL for no real reason, he’s been unremarkable despite being afforded fantastic opportunities.  Just before his recall (and early into the streak) Richardson came to his senses and took him off the first line, but Max is a third line player and when he returns to Binghamton that (or the fourth line) is where I want to see him.

Fredrik Claesson 29-2-6-8 PPG 0.27 ESP 7 PPP 1 SOG 26 Grade C
Summoned up to Ottawa where he wasn’t very good (he’s just been returned).  He was with the team at the start of their winning streak playing with Harpur, Rutkowski, and Carlisle on the third pairing.  He’s been solid but not remarkable for the team, with his bizarre and worrying on-ice stat for powerplay goals against raising potential red flags for me.  I’ll be interested to see who he bumps out of the lineup.

Guillaume Lepine 31-2-6-8 PPG 0.25 ESP 8 SOG 34 Grade C
A player with a lot of limitations (most of his points came in one game against Utica), he’s basically built his season off Kostka’s play.  He regularly makes poor decisions defensively, but he’s less prone to dumb penalties than other players on the team.

Conor Allen 33-1-7-8 PPG 0.24 ESP 7 PPP 1 SOG 31 Grade incomplete
Acquired via the Mullen trade, in coming to Binghamton he had no powerplay or shorthanded points with Milwaukee–limited production in general.  I haven’t been impressed by him yet, but it’s far too early to pass judgement.

Chris Carlisle 28-2-3-5 PPG 0.17 ESP 4 PPP 1 SOG 29 Grade C
Has spent the last 8 games paired with Fraser which is a strange combination (the team is 4-4 since they became a pairing).  Carlisle is a decent puck-mover, but he’s run very dry of late (1 point in his last 15 games), and playing with Fraser puts a great deal of pressure on him defensively to make up for his partners foibles.

Travis Ewanyk 32-2-3-5 PPG 0.15 ESP 4 PPP 1 SOG 40 Grade F
It took longer than it should, but he was finally taken out of the lineup (not sent to Evansville yet, alas).  The team is 4-2 since he was scratched and my hope is we’ll never see him in the lineup again.  He’s a bad player who takes bad penalties.

Ryan Penny 15-2-2-4 PPG 0.26 ESP 3 SOG 17 Grade B
Brought up from Evansville prior to the team heating up; after initial struggles (no points in his first 7 games), he’s found a home on the fourth line with Dziurzynski and Stortini; he also has been used killing penalties.  He’s a good soldier for the team and unlike former regulars like Hobbs and Ewanyk he has actual puck skills.

Kyle Flanagan 19-2-2-4 PPG 0.21 ESP 4 SOG 21 Grade C
An unremarkable player signed out of the ECHL awhile ago; he’s spent most of his time on the third line with Greening and Puempel and that combination hasn’t worked at all.  Flanagan is a better player than (say) Hobbs or Ewanyk, but clearly he needs a different linemate (or mates) to do anything–perhaps the call-up of Puempel creates that opportunity.

Mark Fraser 34-0-3-3 PPG 0.08 ESP 3 SOG 22 Grade F
He continues to be terrible.  He can’t pass, can’t shoot, can’t play defense, and takes a ton of bad penalties.  He had Mullen to clean up his mess most of the season, but now it’s Carlisle’s turn and I’m not sure the rookie is really up to it.

Danny Hobbs 22-1-1-2 PPG 0.09 ESP 2 SOG 31 Grade F
I have no idea why the ECHL forward was so beloved by the coaching staff, but at long last they came to their senses and sent him down to Evansville.

Michael Sdao 8-0-1-1 PPG 0.12 ESP 1 SOG 7 Grade C
Since returning from injury he’s played with Mullen (5 games), Allen (2 games), and once with Carlisle.  I haven’t been impressed, although I wasn’t expecting much.  He hasn’t had a goal-causing gaffe yet and he handles the puck better than (say) Ben Harpur or Tuzzolino, but that’s not saying much.  I’ll be interested to see how he does assuming he stays in the lineup now that Claesson is back.

Troy Rutkowski 3-0-0-0 PPG 0.00 ESP 0 SOG 5 Grade incomplete
Only played a few times when called up (twice with Claesson, once with Mullen); has decent hands and can move the puck, but his skating is iffy.  Richardson clearly isn’t a fan so there really wasn’t enough of a sample size to judge him.

Scott Greenham 3-1-0 2.19 .928 Grade B
Has played well in all four starts he’s had during the streak (3-1-0), seemingly fully recovered from his early season injury.

Chris Driedger 9-8-1 2.99 .904 Grade B
His overall play has been solid, but not as spectacular as Greenham above (4-2-1 on the streak).  There’s been a bit more inconsistency in his play of late.

Matt O’Connor 3-9-2 3.44 .886 Grade D
Was finally putting up the performances expected when he was signed (2-0) when he fell to injury.  The jury is still out on him, but there’s at least been some sunshine.

Overall the improved results are a mix of fixing the first unit powerplay, demoting Stortini, sending Hobbs (and now Harpur) to Evansville, scratching Ewanyk, dressing Carlisle consistently (as a defenseman), an improved penalty killing unit (removal of Ewanyk the primary fix), and better goaltending.  The coaching staff is stubborn and conservative however, so they could very easily reverse the changes.

This article is written by Peter Levi (@eyeonthesens)

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7 Comments

  1. Your basic analysis is pretty good,but why do you have to be so mean spirited?

  2. This team includes several very limited career minor leaguers who are trying their best but are simply not very good.to constantly refer to the stortini’s fraser’s,lepine’s,etc in a pejorative manner,strikes me as being “mean spirited”. The criticism should be directed at sens management who are clearly “nickle and diming” this club,rather than building a better (and more expensive) roster.

    • It is indeed management and the coaching staffs fault, but that doesn’t excuse the bad play either. No one questions effort, but effort has no relationship to quality of play and that’s what I’m assessing. If the wording triggers you I’m sorry to hear it, but it’s tiresome to read and hear the same ill-conceived justifications for these “depth” players, so as the only place where they really face criticism I think it’s better to be blunt–it leaves defenders nowhere to hide.

  3. […] haven’t posted a Binghamton update since late January and a lot has changed since then, so let’s take a brief look: the team has gone 7-11-1, which […]

  4. […] 2016-17.  Incidentally, I’ve mentioned before that I’m not fond of grading systems (eg here) since they almost never have an actual rubric behind them, but Ary M actually created one for […]

  5. […] bottom-six AHLer Nick Paul (12-0-1-1): I mentioned repeatedly last year that his numbers were being inflated by better players (particularly Tobias Lindberg); but hey, he’s big, right? Vincent Dunn […]


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