Once again it's time to check in on the Binghamton Senators and see what has transpired during the recent week that draws my attention. There was plenty of activity with new signings, as we begin with highlighting a player that has perhaps been under-appreciated by some fans outside of Bingo.
Cole returns for his fourth season and has come a long way in his development, from a guy sitting in the stands on his very first day observing practice to being a potential top offensive threat for the BSens in the 2015-'16 season. Schneider's signing is a vital one to Binghamton's success as he'll be sliding into his new role as a veteran at the age of almost 25 with many new faces joining the club.
Signed as a free agent out of the University of Connecticut back in 2011, he will again be aligned on the wing in the top six as he has been throughout his pro career. Schneids had career highs in goals with 29 and points with 58 in 69 games last season, while being disciplined with only 14 PIM's.
The only knock against him in advancing is he lacks that certain element of intensity and lets the play come to him versus creating his own. A smart player that reads the ice very well with soft hands in passing and lighting the lamp, he could be just a little better if he digs deeper with a little more effort. Not the most physical type, but doesn't mind getting his nose dirty. This will be a make or break opportunity for Schneider and he needs to work hard if he's ever going to get that call from the big club this coming season.
Here's the conversation I envisioned between two fans with the announcement that Stortini signed with Binghamton;
Fan 1: Did you hear who we picked up?
Fan 2: Huh? No. Who?
Fan 1: Stortini
Fan 2: No way! (Haha) Really? Effing goon. (Giggles) Wow.
Fan 1: Yup.
(Meanwhile, Fan 2 lets the news simmer for a few moments before suddenly, a light bulb goes off.)
Fan 2: We're gonna have a tough team! Awesome!
Fan 1: (After drawing his own conclusions) Yup!
I don't believe anyone saw this happening in the 607 area code, but it did and he's with us for the next two years. In the past, Binghamton has had their share of enforcers, as fans have come to adore their tough guys. (Myself included.) We can go on and on naming a very long, intensive list of players that have battled, but I'll just focus on the latest one to show up in the Southern Tier region of NY.
Good size and physicality that will serve the role of protecting prospects. There were no injuries to report on last season for the LV Phantoms as he played in all 76 games, and his role should continue as an everyday player for the BSens. As the above conversation takes place, here comes the fans' support as one of the most notorious dislikes in Senators' history is now part of the family, as shown by this tweet:
GUYS I thought of a way Stortini can win my affection!!!!! By beating the snot out of Crunch players!!!!!!!— Emily Rose (@EmilyRose474) July 1, 2015
Welcome to this side of the lion's den here in Binghamton, Zack!
What a turn of events it could be for the Senators organization, as the 21-year-old just finished a strong development camp in Ottawa, his third, and Randy Lee & Co liked what they saw out of the 6' 0" 176 lb defenseman from Sweden. Wikstrand was a 7th round pick in 2012 and was earmarked to play (on loan) to Farjestad BK of the SHL according to many reports including Elite prospects as of Tuesday evening;
So I translated and here are some highlights in what has transpired with the latest events:
- I have received reports that he was clearly best defensemen in the week went on, fun to hear even if I am not surprised, says Wikstrand's agent, Christian Sjögren
- The plan is that he will go over to the rookie camp and really take it from there. After the camp get Ottawa to make an assessment of his game and his development. He is Ottawa's player so it is they who decide in the end, says Christian Sjögren. Signals from Ottawa's assistant general manager Randy Lee, also points out that Mikael Wikstrand would be ready to fight in the AHL and Binghamton Senators if he could not break into Ottawa.
- He looks forward to coming here to try to break into the team and he would not succeed, he realizes that sometimes you need to work in Binghamton - just like Cody Ceci and Erik Karlsson. He is not at all reluctant to do so, but came to us and said he was ready for this, says Randy Lee.
- He has been clear about what he wants and that is to play in Farjestad. But can never really know what's happening
I also reached out to Murray Pam and he had this to share;
I spoke to Wikstrand after the Sens scrimmage last Thursday. He said that he would attend camp in Farjestad. Head to Sens rookie camp then main camp to see where he stands. Hadn't decided either way. Lee said this morning a decision was made.
All reports show this could be a good thing for the Binghamton club if everything falls into place. I'm sure those that have seen him live in action could perhaps share their thought's in the comments below as I haven't and won't attempt in speculating his potential and what it means moving forward for the organization.
Cover Courtesy of Alicia Strauch