Luke Richardson will return for his fourth season coaching for the Binghamton Senators as he was offered a new one-year contract. His record stands at 122-82-11-13 while winning a Division Title in the 2013-'14 season and missing the same accomplishment by a single point in 2012-'13.
However, last season was a bit of a struggle, to say the least. At 34-34-0-8 the team ended up third in the East division and failed to make the post season for the first time under his guidance. All wasn't on his shoulders though, as the defense had some serious flaws, exposing the team's goaltenders highlighted by Andrew Hammond letting in three goals in 36 seconds in a game at Lehigh Valley, Pa. in February.
Richardson has gone on record numerous times saying how happy he is coaching in Binghamton with his thoughts here on the re-signing:
Undeniably, Richardson's influence at this level won't be duplicated anytime soon here in Binghamton. The much respected, long-time NHL defenseman gets the maximum potential out of his players. Prospects learn to elevate themselves to what it takes to be a pro, adjusting toward possibly moving forward to the next level.
The one knock against Luke is the lone playoff win on his resume, and that coming from a miraculous shot taken by Stephane Da Costa from a sharp angle in overtime in Game Two on home ice against rival Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins back in the spring of 2014. The team was eventually beaten in five games after being swept by the same Pens the previous season. Both B-Sens' clubs were loaded with talent, and that's all he has to show as far as winning in the post-season.
On the other hand, he's done a remarkable job with player development that will one day land him back in the NHL. From Mark Stone to Jakob Silfverberg, Jean-Gabriel Pageau to Patrick Wiercioch, Mike Hoffman to Cody Ceci, and more recently Chris Wideman to Shane Prince, Richardson has had a hand in the development of many players over his short three years of being a head coach.
With some solid players coming out of the OHL along with the addition of several free agents signed last week, Richardson once again will have the tools to work with. He'll get an improvement in goal as well, as Matt O'Connor has committed for the 2015-'16 season in Binghamton. Now it's up to Luke to get the team over that first-round hump.
*Cover Pic Courtesy of Alicia Strauch