Silver Nuggets: Leading the way in Binghamton

TORONTO, CANADA - SEPTEMBER 19: Carl Gunnarsson #36 of the Toronto Maple Leafs contains Mike Hoffman #68 of the Ottawa Senators during preseason NHL action at the Air Canada Centre September 19, 2011 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Abelimages/Getty Images)

So the NHL and the NHLPA aren't even having meaningful discussions today, four days removed from the CBA's expiration date. This expiration date isn't the kind of thing you read on yogurt containers, where it's more a recommendation than a drop-dead date; the NHL has declared that there will be a lockout if nothing's agreed to by Sept. 15. And there aren't even meaningful discussions going on right now.

As has been discussed, though, the lockout could mean good things for the Binghamton Senators organization (and the Elmira Jackals organization, as well, although that's a little harder to track). The last lockout worked out well for Bingo--in the regular season, at least--with Jason Spezza leading the team in scoring and winning MVP honours in the process. This year, though, the team scoring race is wide open, and there are a good number of potential leaders on the team.

  • Stephane Da Costa: Only played about two-thirds of last season in Bingo, but still managed a 36P (13G, 23A) campaign in his first pro season. A learning curve was expected after he made the jump from college to the AHL, but Da Costa's got pro-level playmaking abilities. Will those translate to a significant jump in point production?
  • Mike Hoffman: Last year's leading scorer in Bingo (21G, 28A) has improved steadily since he was drafted by the Sens, and brings a good package of skills to his game. Can his progression continue this season? Or will he be bumped down in the lineup due to the presence of more notable prospects?
  • Andre Petersson: Despite missing a few games last year, Petersson finished second in B-Sens scoring with 44P (23G, 21A). Sens' brass mentioned last off-season that he's got what it takes to be a regular top-six forward in the NHL; will this year be his breakout season?
  • Shane Prince: Is making the jump from the OHL to the pros this season after scoring 90P (43G, 47A) in just 57GP for the 67s last year. Pretty big things are expected of him, but can Prince adapt to the pro game immediately, or will it take him some time to get into the swing of things?
  • Jakob Silfverberg: Although we can't be positive he'll report to the AHL rather than returning to the SEL's Brynäs to defend their league crown, I think it would be safe to assume he'll stay in North America. So can he follow up an incredible SEL season with an impressive AHL one?
  • Mark Stone: Big man. Big shot. Huge expectations. Stone's hoping to continue his point-per-pro-game pace this season, and if he's able to do so he should be in good shape to lead the B-Sens in scoring. But even with two straight 100-plus point WHL seasons, is it reasonable to expect a sixth-round pick to provide extraordinary offensive production in the pros?
  • Mika Zibanejad: Tops many lists of the Sens' best prospects, and there's no way Zibanejad will play anywhere but Binghamton or Ottawa next season. His career stats to date don't show him as much of an offensive threat, but can the powerful centre-turned-winger put up big numbers when given significant opportunities while surrounded by good talent?

I put the question to Twitter yesterday afternoon, and no consensus emerged--probably because so little is known about the AHL potential for each of these players. Still, let your opinion be known in this poll, and in the comments below!

Links after the jump...

Senators headlines:

  • Amelia and I talk about her badass Erik Karlsson portrait, among other things, over on the Sens' official site. (Sens)
  • As we've discussed, Jared Cowen has accepted the fact that he'll be playing in the AHL next season if the lockout ends up happening. (Citizen, Sun)
  • More nonsense about the nonsensical ESPN rankings. One thing I will note, pertaining to Varada's concluding remarks: At least in terms of social media outreach, the Sens were miles better in 2011-12 compared to 2010-11 (for evidence, see the first bullet in this list). (WTYKY)

League headlines:

  • Just release: The specific terms relating to KHL recruitment of locked out NHL players. (Puck Daddy)
  • The Boston Bruins signed centre Tyler Seguin to a six-year, $34.5M contract extension today. (Stanley Cup of Chowder)
  • Even with that Seguin contract in hand (and carrying with it a pretty friendly cap hit), the Bruins could find themselves in serious cap trouble in the near future. (Puck Daddy)
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