A look at the Binghamton Senators defensemen

Yesterday, we took a look at what is likely the forward roster for the Binghamton Senators for the upcoming season. It featured a few returnees, but a whole whack of new faces, too. On defense, we've got even more of a changeover: Four of the seven players expected on Bingo's blueline will be new faces. Two free agent signings (Andre Benoit and David Hale) and two prospects (Eric Gryba and Patrick Wiercioch, although Gryba's got a few games under his belt) join returning defenders Derek Smith, Geoff Kinrade, and Craig Schira.

So we can expect an experienced defense corps this season. What might each player bring to the table?


Andre Benoit

5-11

197

Jun 06, 1984



    Regular season   Playoffs
Season Team League GP G A Pts PIM GP G A Pts PIM
2000–01 Kitchener Rangers OHL 65 16 19 35 37
2001–02 Kitchener Rangers OHL 62 13 32 45 77 4 1 0 1 8
2002–03 Kitchener Rangers OHL 65 22 45 67 77 21 1 16 17 16
2003–04 Kitchener Rangers OHL 65 24 51 75 67 5 1 1 2 6
2004–05 Kitchener Rangers OHL 67 24 53 77 72 15 5 13 18 6
2005–06 Hamilton Bulldogs AHL 70 7 19 26 60
2006–07 Hamilton Bulldogs AHL 64 10 21 31 41 22 2 11 13 22
2007–08 Tappara Tampere SM-l 54 12 26 38 96 11 2 3 5 10
2008–09 Sodertalje SK SEL 54 4 16 20 34
2009–10 Hamilton Bulldogs AHL 78 6 30 36 63 19 3 11 14 8
OHL totals 324 99 200 299 330 45 8 30 27 36
AHL totals 212 23 70 93 164 41 5 22 27 30

Benoit, a former Montreal Canadiens prospect, is a slick skater with proven offensive abilities. He was originally a forward, but a switch to defense during his OHL career explains the offensive bent to his game. Expect Benoit to quarterback the powerplay in Binghamton.


Eric Gryba

6-4

215

Apr 14, 1988



    Regular season   Playoffs
Season Team League GP G A Pts PIM GP G A Pts PIM
2004–05 Melfort Mustangs SJHL 2 0
0
0
4
2005–06 Green Bay Gamblers USHL 56 3 12 15 205
3
1 1
2
27
2006-07 Boston University
NCAA 38 1
3
4
76
2007-08 Boston University NCAA 32
1
1 2
54
2008-09 Boston University NCAA 45 0
6
6
106
2009-10 Boston University NCAA 38 4
6
10
118
2009-10 Binghamton Senators AHL 6 1 0
1 2
NCAA totals 153 6 16 22 354 3 1 1 2 27

A big kid who knows how to hit and knows how to fight, Gryba's usually a PIM leader and actually led the USHL in penalty minutes in 2005-06. If you loved Andy Sutton, then Gryba is your new favorite Binghamton Senator. He got some praise from GM Bryan Murray this year, but Gryba needs to work on his skating to take the next step in pro hockey.


David Hale

6-1

218

Jun 18, 1981


 



Regular season
Playoffs
Season Team League GP G A Pts PIM GP G A Pts PIM
1998–99 Sioux City Musketeers USHL 56 3 15 18 127 5 0 0 0 18
1999–00 Sioux City Musketeers USHL 54 6 18 24 187 5 0 2 2 6
2000–01 North Dakota Fighting Sioux WCHA 44 4 5 9 79
2001–02 North Dakota Fighting Sioux WCHA 34 4 5 9 63
2002–03 North Dakota Fighting Sioux WCHA 26 2 6 8 49
2003–04 New Jersey Devils NHL 65 0 4 4 72 1 0 0 0 0
2004–05 Albany River Rats AHL 30 2 3 5 39
2005–06 New Jersey Devils NHL 38 0 4 4 21 8 0 2 2 12
2005–06 Albany River Rats AHL 30 2 5 7 64
2006–07 New Jersey Devils NHL 43 0 1 1 26
2006–07 Lowell Devils AHL 2 0 1 1 0
2006–07 Calgary Flames NHL 11 0 0 0 10 2 0 0 0 6
2007–08 Calgary Flames NHL 58 0 2 2 46 6 0 0 0 2
2008–09 Phoenix Coyotes NHL 48 3 6 9 36
2009–10 Tampa Bay Lightning NHL 39 0 4 4 25
2009–10 Norfolk Admirals AHL 4 1 1 2 0
USHL totals 110 9 33 42 314 10 0 2 2 24
WCHA totals 104 10 16 26 191
AHL totals 66 5 10 15 103
NHL totals 302 3 21 24 236 17 0 2 2 20

A journeyman with some very respectable NHL experience, expect Hale to be the first call-up when the Senators run into injury problems. As you can probably guess based on his offensive production, Hale is defensively focused, and will likely form one half of a shutdown pairing for Binghamton. He will be looked on as a leader in the locker room, too.


Geoff Kinrade

6-0

207

Jul 25, 1985


Regular season Playoffs
Season Team League GP G A Pts PIM GP G A Pts PIM
2003–04

Cowichan Valley Capitals

BCHL 48 2 3 5 34 6 1 2 3 4
2004–05 Cowichan Valley Capitals BCHL 60 13 21 34 49
2005–06 Michigan Tech WCHA 33 1 6 7 46
2006–07 Michigan Tech WCHA 40 5 14 19 30
2007–08 Michigan Tech WCHA 39 5 14 19 30
2008–09 Michigan Tech WCHA 38 3 13 16 18
2008–09 Norfolk Admirals AHL 10 1 3 4 12
2008–09 Tampa Bay Lightning NHL 1 0 0 0 0
2009–10 Binghamton Senators AHL 76 7 20 27 59
BCHL totals 108 15 24 39 83 6 1 2 3 4
WCHA totals 150 14 47 61 124
AHL totals 86 8 23 31 71

Although he's had limited success so far, Kinrade still has plenty of potential as a well-rounded defender. His point totals last season were improved, and can be expected to continue their upward trend this year.


Craig Schira

6-0

195

Apr 21, 1988


Regular season Playoffs
Season Team League GP G A Pts PIM GP G A Pts PIM
2003–04 Regina Pats WHL 2 0 0 0 2
2004–05 Regina Pats WHL 60 1 7 8 25
2005–06 Regina Pats WHL 71 5 28 33 72 6 1 1 2 2
2006–07 Regina Pats WHL 71 3 23 26 74 10 0 0 0 4
2007–08 Regina Pats WHL 2 0 1 1 0
2007–08 Vancouver Giants WHL 63 8 22 30 58 10 0 1 1 0
2008–09 Vancouver Giants WHL 71 16 43 59 46 17 2 4 6 4
2009–10 Binghamton Senators AHL 68 8 13 21 27
WHL totals 340 33 124 157 277 43 3 6 9 10

An undrafted free agent who made his professional debut last season, Schira put up decent numbers in his rookie season. With a full season under his belt, though, we can probably expect his production to improve this season.


Derek Smith

6-2

200

Oct 13, 1984


Regular season Playoffs
Season Team League GP G A Pts PIM GP G A Pts PIM
2000–01 Wellington Dukes OPJHL 12 1 1 2 4
2001–02 Wellington Dukes OPJHL 46 5 15 20 26
2002–03 Wellington Dukes OPJHL 21 6 10 16 26
2003–04 Wellington Dukes OPJHL 44 8 26 34 34
2004–05 Lake Superior State U. CCHA 38 1 4 5 28
2005–06 Lake Superior State U. CCHA 36 2 8 10 18
2006–07 Lake Superior State U. CCHA 43 10 20 30 10
2007–08 Binghamton Senators AHL 52 2 11 13 18
2007–08 Elmira Jackals ECHL 1 0 1 1 0
2008–09 Binghamton Senators AHL 75 7 17 24 49
2009–10 Binghamton Senators AHL 74 14 37 51 24
2009–10 Ottawa Senators NHL 2 0 0 0 0
OPJHL totals 123 20 52 72 90
NCAA totals 117 13 32 45 56
AHL totals 201 23 65 88 91

Derek Smith is a fantastic skater and will sneak up on many players with his speed. He's got defense down, and is starting to show life with his offense. He's a good shot selector and is willing to wait for the right moment to shoot. Last season he was able to shut down opponents remarkably well and showed vast improvement with his play on the boards, and Ottawa noticed the change as well and called him for a two game tryout. The only thing keeping him back is his lack of physical play.


Patrick Wiercioch

6-4

190

Sep 12, 1990


Regular season Playoffs
Season Team League GP G A Pts PIM GP G A Pts PIM
2006-07 Burnaby Express BCHL 42 9 16 25 46
2007–08 Omaha Lancers USHL 40 3 18 21 24 14 2 9 11 22
2008–09 U. of Denver NCAA 36 12 23 35 26
2009–10 U. of Denver NCAA 39 6 21 27 34
NCAA totals 75 18 44 62 60

If Jared Cowen doesn't make the NHL team, Patrick Wiercioch will be the guy everyone looks at. He's got the size (at least the height; he still needs to bulk up a bit) to go along with his excellent puck handling, and even better hands. He does need to work on his skating, but Wiercioch has all the tools to become an NHL defenseman.

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