It’s that time of year once again for the Southern Tier fans of New York State and surrounding areas as we welcome back another season of Binghamton Senators hockey for the 15th and final time as the top affiliate for the Ottawa Senators.
The team that has called home since the 2002-’03 season has been purchased and will begin play in Belleville, ONT for the 2017-’18 season. But fans have been reassured hockey will remain in Binghamton with a new affiliate lined up waiting in the wings.
So, we kick it off with a week long series of scouting reports leading to the home opener on Saturday with the offense in the lead, followed by the defense and then the goaltending. Also, a familiar face will be back behind the bench as Kurt Kleinendorst returns for his second stint for the BSens, alongside his assistant, Steve Stirling.
Matt Puempel and Phil Varone remain in Ottawa due to injuries. Jack Rodewald and Alexander Krushelnyski should be sent to Witicha of the ECHL. Vincent Arseneau was released on Monday.
#8 Kyle Flanagan
Age: 27 (Dec 30, 1988)
Birthplace: Canton, NY, USA
Hgt/Wgt: 5’9 179 lbs Pst: Center
Contract ‘16-’17 : (Undisclosed) Binghamton AHL/ECHL
Last Season: Binghamton; 44 gms 6 goals 14 assists Adirondack Thunder (ECHL); 12 gms 2 goals 8 assists
- Picked up mid-season last year and signed to a PTO, which eventually turned into a full time contract
- Reliable centerman and was having success before a season ending injury
- Smart player that reads the ice well, slightly under-rated for his size
Outlook: Good depth signing for Binghamton. Hard nose player that should impress the new coaching staff mirroring his play last season.
#10 Buddy Robinson
Age: 24 (Sep 30, 1991)
Birthplace: Bellmawr, NJ, USA
Hgt/Wgt: 6’5 236 lbs Pst: Right Wing
Acquired: Signed as a free agent in March of 2013, Undrafted
Contract ‘16-’17 : $75,000/$750,000 – 1-year, 2-way
Last Season: Binghamton; 62 gms 13 goals 10 assists Ottawa; 3 gms 1 goal 1 assist
- Excellent PK man, the best on the team
- Biggest problem was the inability to finish off a shorthanded rush, however did get credit for one during a pre-season game
- 4th full season for Binghamton as offensive production was down last season
Outlook: Never has shown the use of that big body often enough, which is disappointing as he avoids the physical play. Slow footed and lacks the ability to finish his breakaways, which happens during the PK. Look for that to change though coming up.
#13 Nick Paul
Age: 21 (Mar 20, 1995)
Birthplace: Mississauga, ON, CAN
Hgt/Wgt: 6’3 198 lbs Pst: Left Wing
Acquired: Ottawa trade with Dallas, 4th round pick in 2013 (101st Overall)
Contract ‘16-’17 : $70,000/$692,500 - 2nd year of 3-year ELC (Carryover)
Last Season: Binghamton; 45 gms 6 goals 11 assists Ottawa; 24 gms 2 goals 3 assists
- Earned Hardest Working Player Award during summer development camp
- Got a taste of the big league to finish out the season
- Looks to improve in his second full season as a pro after a
disappointingunder-achieving rookie campaign
Outlook: Ottawa with the right move in sending down the under-achieving, yet hyped-up youngster to Binghamton to fine tune his overall game. Played well in the final pre-season game being on the #1 line.
#14 Mike Blunden
Age: 29 (Dec 15, 1986)
Birthplace: Toronto, Ont, CAN
Hgt/Wgt: 6’4 216 lbs Pst: Right Wing
Acquired: Signed as a free agent in July of 2016 - 2nd round pick in 2005 (43rd Overall)
Contract ‘16-’17 : $275,000/$725,000 - 1st of two-year, two-way contract
Last Season: Syracuse Crunch; 49 gms 21 goals 17 assists Tampa Bay Lightning; 20 gms 3 goals 2 assists
- Veteran of 124 NHL contests
- Sens fans surely remember his time with the Crunch, Admirals, Bulldogs, Falcons over the course of the past 11 seasons in the AHL
- Big pesky winger, with a slight uptick on the offense
Outlook: Solid player, great signing. Knows the game and a true professional. Should be a real boost in the locker room as well as off the ice. Syracuse’s lost is our gain. Rooting for this guy big time after what I have seen from him in Saturday night’s win with two goals. Should serve as one of the Assistants.
#16 Chad Nehring
Age: 29 (Jun, 14 1987)
Birthplace: Springside, SK, CAN
Hgt/Wgt: 5’11 201 lbs Pst: Center
Acquired: Free agent signing on July 1st, Undrafted
Contract ‘16-’17 : $125,000/$600,000 - 1-year, 2-way
Last Season: Hartford Wolf Pack; 76 gms 22 goals 26 assists
- Signed over the off-season and is one of the veterans that will help lead the club
- Spent parts of 3 1⁄2 seasons in the ECHL before landing in Hartford in 2015
- Played for Lake Superior State Univ. (2007-‘11)
Outlook: Looked really good during his two pre-season contests. Should make an impact this season with decent numbers for Hartford. Another solid veteran added to the line-up in what otherwise is an overall group of young players.
#17 Max McCormick
Age: 24 (May 1, 1992)
Birthplace: De Pere, WI, USA
Hgt/Wgt: 5’11 192 lbs Pst: Left Wing
Acquired: Ottawa Senators – 6th round draft pick in 2011 (171st Overall)
Contract ‘16-’17 : $72,500/$650,000 – 1-year, 2-way
Last Season: Binghamton; 57 gms 15 goals 15 assists Ottawa; 20 gms 2 goals 2 assists
- Has the knack of dropping the gloves often, which he loves to do
- Hardest working player on the club
- 3rd time around in Binghamton that had given himself a long look in camp for Ottawa
Outlook: ‘Spicy’ is coming off pro high in goals and assists, along with PIM (143) last season and will lead by example as he motors around the ice. Expect him to sport the “A” on his jersey.
#18 Gabriel Gagné*
Age: 19 (Nov 11, 1996)
Birthplace: Laval, Quebec, CAN
Hgt/Wgt: 6’5 186 lbs Pst: Right Wing
Acquired: Ottawa Senators – 2nd round draft pick in 2015 (36th Overall)
Contract ‘16-’17 : $70,000/$692,500 - 1st year of 3-year ELC signed in Sep, 2016
Last Season: Victoriaville Tigres (QMJHL); 8 gms 5 goals 3 assists Shawinigan Cataractes (QMJHL); 34 gms 12 goals 16 assists
- Big, tall winger was used often as part of the first PP unit during pre-season
- Looked good during training camp including pre-season, one to keep an eye out for sure
- Turns 20 on the 11th of Nov, therefore qualifying his eligibility to play at the pro level seeing his birthday was before Jan, 1st
Outlook: It’s going to be a learning curve for the lanky youngster, as he is only 19 in his first season at the pro level, but looks teachable under the tutelage of Coach KK. Hopefully he won’t get burned out under the long 76 game season.
#20 Ryan Rupert
Age: 22 (Jun 2, 1994)
Birthplace: Grand Bend, ONT, CAN
Hgt/Wgt: 5’9 190 lbs Pst: Center
Acquired: Ottawa trade with Toronto, 6th round pick in 2012 (157th Overall)
Contract ‘16-’17 : $65,000/$660,000 - 3rd year of ELC
Last Season: Binghamton/Marlies; 59 gms 13 goals 12 assists Orlando Solar Bears (ECHL); 7 gms 3 goals 2 assists
- Seems to have placed as one of the top offensive players in the two pre-season games, including time on the top PP unit
- Good energy, strong on his feet
- Has a ways to go in his development but will get a better opportunity with this organization
Outlook: Got a small sample size in his brief time since the trade late last season, but looked good during camp and pre-season. The only knack is his slight stature size but is built to otherwise take the punishment of a long season.
#25 Casey Bailey
Age: 24 (Oct 27, 1991)
Birthplace: Anchorage, AK, USA
Hgt/Wgt: 6’1 205 lbs Pst: Right Wing
Acquired: Ottawa trade with Toronto, Undrafted
Contract ‘16-’17 : $70,000/$874,125 - 1-year, 2-way
Last Season: Binghamton; 30 gms 7 goals 14 assists Toronto Marlies; 38 gms 4 goals 14 assists
- Really good hockey sense, creates plays and reads the ice well
- Look to take a leadership role as demonstrated on the ice as well as off
- Not over-powering, but also not under-whelming
Outlook: In the limited time Bailey spent in Binghamton, he has the potential to be a someone on the radar of being a dark-horse pick. Although undrafted, he brings some leadership and that go-to-guy around the net.
#26 Vincent Dunn*
Age: 20 (Sep 14, 1995)
Birthplace: Gatineau, QC, CAN
Hgt/Wgt: 5’11 185 lbs Pst: Left Wing
Acquired: Ottawa Senators – 5th round draft pick in 2013 (138th Overall)
Contract ‘16-’17 : $60,000/$630,000 - 2nd of 3 year ELC signed in August of 2014
Last Season: Binghamton; 3 gms 0 goals 0 assists Evansville (ECHL); 55 gms 13 goals 14 assists
- Hard nose type agitator that likes to get under your skin
- Is not an offensive threat, as his forte is his physical type of play
- Seems to have matured quite a bit, as he gave some pointers out to some of the prospects, notably Seiloff in anticipation of a fight during a moment of training camp
Outlook: Not a very good past record to begin with, but looks to have turned the corner during pre-season action. It will be an interesting development to prove his critics wrong on why he was signed in the first place.
#27 Francis Perron*
Age: 20 (Apr 18, 1996)
Birthplace: Laval, QC, CAN
Hgt/Wgt: 6’0 166 lbs Pst: Left Wing
Acquired: Ottawa Senators – 7th round draft pick in 2014 (190th Overall)
Contract ‘16-’17 : $70,000/$650,000 - 1st of 3 year ELC signed in March of 2016
Last Season: Rouyn-Noranda Huskies (QMJHL); 62 gms 41 goals 67 assists
- Led the Huskies to the QMJHL championship with 33 points in 18 games to earn playoff MVP and as the league's MVP, along with most sportsmanlike player in the playoffs
- Served as team captain last season
- Highly touted offensive player that should make an impact
Outlook: First year pro looked good during camp, as he was one of the better prospects on the ice. Scored a pair of goals in the pre-season for Binghamton that was eye-popping.
#45 Zack Stortini
Age: 30 (Sep 11, 1985)
Birthplace: Elliot Lake, ONT, CAN
Hgt/Wgt: 6’4 230 lbs Pst: Right Wing
Acquired: Free agent signing, July of 2015 – 3rd round draft pick in 2003 (94th Overall)
Contract ‘16-’17 : $200,000/$600,000 - 2nd year of 2 year, 2-way deal
Last Season: Binghamton; 66 gms 8 goals 8 assists
- Slow footed, sometimes too painful to watch at times
- Relied on too much on the powerplay as the big man up the middle last season
- Good locker room guy and community contributor with a heart of gold
Outlook: Served as the team’s Captain last season, and will do the same this season. Didn’t see any time on the special teams during pre-season, as that era of slotting him up the middle appears to come to an end. A clean shaven Storts is what’s in store, like it or not.
* = Indicates rookie status
Next Up; The Defense will be somewhat challenged this season in the second report coming up on Wednesday.