Now that the Binghamton Devils have an identity, it’s time to focus into what or how this team might consist of for their inaugural season approaching this fall, beginning with three rookies in the system. The trio consist of rookie forward’s Blake Speers and Nathan Bastian, along with defenseman Yaroslav Dyblenko in the premier edition of the Bingo Bites at AAtJ.
As with most prospects, I like to see players in action first hand before forming an evaluation. But under the circumstances with the affiliate changes between Ottawa and New Jersey, I’ve slightly altered my approach as best as I can relying on outside sources. Besides, it’s the off season, so it’s a warm-up of sorts leading to when the season actually begins in Binghamton.
Staying true to what I just mentioned, and keep in mind that there’s a whole new fanbase in Binghamton scratching their heads on the unknown with prospects and what’s to be expected on the type of team that will formulate this coming fall, this is where I think I can help out with some guidance from the AAtJ’s fanbase with your opinions in the comments section.
We begin with a highly touted prospect in a rookie out of Sault Ste. Marie, Canada.
Where will Blake Speers begin his first full season in the pros ?
If there is one possible player on the bubble it would appear to be the 20 year-old Speers. However, I’m going to guess after the comments by NJ Devils head coach John Hynes that he’ll be more inclined to find himself with the big club.
(Am I reading that correctly? 288 points in 2011-’12? Plus?)
Of course, you would have to take in account on how well Speers’ training camp pans out as the 5’ 11” 185 lbs. forward was awarded a three-year, entry-level contract in Sept of 2016. But if it’s a little crowded, then he’ll find time in Binghamton to further along his development.
The 20 year-old Speers was a 3rd round draft pick of 2015 (#67 overall) by the Devils and made New Jersey’s roster in 2016 while participating in three contests before being sent back to Sault Ste. Marie of the OHL for his final season playing for the Greyhounds. It was there when he recorded 15 goals and 19 assists in just 30 games as he missed part of the season with a broken wrist suffered in his first game.
According to EP; (EliteProspects)
For Blake Speers, offense is the best defence. Has slick hands and good overall puckhandling skills. Great passing ability and a very accurate shot. Plays a puck possession game; not diminutive in size, persay, but does need to get stronger. Not afraid to battle along the boards, but his size does show through against bigger opponents. Has all the tools to be a successful contributor when played in the right role. (Curtis Joe, EP 2014)
Speers joined Albany for the post season run against the Toronto Marlies and played in two games without any points. He also represented Canada in the WJC and had a goal and two helpers in seven games, but his team came up short in USA’s shootout win.
Coach Hynes liked what he saw out of Speers in July’s Development Camp;
"There's certainly a drive and determination to him overall in this camp that he looks like he's a guy on the mission to give himself the best opportunity to make the team next year," Hynes said. ~ NJ.Com on Blake Speers
I’ve seen my share of speedy forwards over the course of many years, but possibly his size might hinder him. Speers is listed at 5’ 11” as well as 6’ 0” on different platforms but there’s a big difference in the pros vs juniors as you all know. I just wish I could see him in person, but I guess we’ll see how this plays out for the talented forward this fall.
Speers will start the season in?
This poll is closed
Nathan Bastian begins his first full season at ?
I’m going on a limb and say for Binghamton vs another season in the OHL at Mississauga playing for the Steelheads.
The big guy listed at 6’ 4” 205 lbs. forward out of Kitchener, ON, CAN was a 2nd round draft pick in 2016 for New Jersey (#41 overall), as Bastian was then signed to a three-year, entry-level contract this past Oct, 2016.
At 19 years-old, Bastian will be eligible to play in the AHL before the cutoff date on December 31st and I think he’ll report to Binghamton with the abundance of forwards up top leading to some shortages at the AHL level.
Of course, there are a lot of variables that will come to play, namely Nico Hischier and where’s he heading to the pros or the juniors, along with forwards John Quenneville, Nick Lappin, Miles Wood and Michael McLeod to name a few.
EP has this scouting report;
Bastian is a forward with great size who performs well in all aspects of the game. He has a good shot and can dish the puck as well as any in the OHL. He could benefit from getting a little meaner, but has shown vast improvement throughout his OHL career. He is a good skater for such a large player. Some have compared him to a James Van Riemsdyk. He should be considered a legitimate NHL prospect. (Tyler Parchem, EP 2016)
Bastian will start the season in?
This poll is closed
Same question goes for defenseman Yaroslav Dyblenko ?
It’s gotta be in Binghamton.
There has to be an adjustment period at some point one would think for the 23 year-old Russian before he’s unleashed at the next level in the NA style.
At 6’ 2”, 194 lbs. the defenseman from Surgut, RUS was signed to a two-year, entry-level contract as an undrafted player out of the KHL last April, 2017.
Known to be a physical presence on the ice, Dyblenko appears to have a really good attitude that perhaps will carry himself to the blueline in NJ at some point. These type of players are rare to come by, as the last one that comes to mind is Frederik Claesson of the Ottawa Senators. Claesson was always a positive role model while playing in Binghamton but unfortunately, the team lacked talent before his final promotion to the NHL.
As far as Dyblenko is concerned, right to the top could be difficult move before Dyblo gets his feet wet I’m assuming. Then again, I could be very wrong.
Maybe let him get acquainted for the BDevils first and let his play determine what lies ahead during his development. Especially for defensemen in patience is required, as I have witnessed many that have made it to the NHL ranks through the AHL in the past with time.
It appears training camp will help determine his fate first hand like most others, except Dyblenko will be on the radar as one of the question marks this organization will face come this September.
Dyblenko will start the season in?
This poll is closed
Thanks for participating in the polls, as I press forward to the next edition of the Bingo Bites during this off-season of BDevils hockey.