The Binghamton Devils’ inaugural season has ended in what has been a bumpy ride to say the least, as the team finished the last quarter with a posted 7-8-3-1 line in the last 19 games for an overall season record of 25-38-9-4, tied for fifth place with the Belleville Senators in the North Division with 63 points and a 0.414 percentage.
Over the course of the season, home and away records for the BDevils were 13-19-4-2 and 12-19-5-2 respectively. However, what was encouraging was the fan support as attendance was up, including six sellouts with multiple games over 4000 to boot, which I will re-visit later.
But the harsh reality still remains, as there is no playoffs for the fourth consecutive year in Binghamton, with the last post-season appearance back in 2013-’14 on the back of many fan’s minds then affiliated with the Ottawa Senators. Let’s hope for some different results next season, as we turn our focus with the final quarter grades and evaluations of the past portion of 2017-’18.
With each quarter results, there are eight members of ‘The Panel’ including myself in no particular order; @AliciaS20, @KeithAHopkins, @enker1700, @Bing_da_Bling, @RogieVachon30, @crazybazookajoe, @EmilyRose474 and myself, @Ski931.
Voting by the committee and player evaluations were based on the following five factors; Adaptability, Potential, Consistency, Production and Vision.
Grades are calculated as a group and divided by the sum of its members. Season statistics will be shown collectively for each player for an ongoing comparison throughout the season. Individual votes are also shown from each member from ‘The Panel’ on their player evaluations.
A+....96% - 100%
A......93% - 95.99%
A-.....90% - 92.99%
B+....87% - 89.99%
B......83% - 86.99%
B-.....80% - 82.99%
C+....77% - 79.99%
C......73% - 76.99%
C-.....70% - 72.99%
D+....67% - 69.99%
D......60% - 66.99%
F.......55% - 59.99%
Defense - 80.28 / B-, 76.01 / C, 78.78 / C+, 77.14 / C+
The defense allowed an average of 28.41 shots per game putting them in a 6th place tie with Toronto while giving up 3.25 goals (247 total) on average for a ranking of 25th. The PK was tied with WBS in 20th place at 82%.
#3 *Tariq Hammond - Inc.
(4 gms, 0g, 1a)
#5 *Jagger Dirk - Inc.
(7 gms, 0g, 1a)
#6 *Colton White - Inc., 70.12 / C-, Inc., 70.62 / C-
(47 gms, 2g 7a) White spent some time with the Thunder (ECHL) last quarter. He appears more confident since returning. Still not overly physical, but uses his body slightly more. Even put up a couple points this Q, which is noteworthy. Defensively, he’s still not where I’d like him to be. Hopefully he’ll work hard in the off-season because he appears capable of improvement - and that’s what we want to see. @Bing_da_Bling (Inc., 70, Inc., 70)
#7 Brian Strait - 84 / B, 80.87 / B-, 71.87 / C-, 69 / D+
(62 gms, 3g 5a) I REALLY wanted to like him and I did to start the year but as the year went on he could not keep up with the faster forwards coming up against him. He ends the season with 3G and 5A but was never meant to be an offensive defensemen. @KeithAHopkins (85, 80, 72, 69)
#8 Josh Jacobs - 86 / B, 82 / B-, 79 / C+, Inc., Inc.
(55 gms, 1g 15a) Out with a season ending injury. @enker1700 (90, 88, 85, Inc.)
#9 *Jake Walman 82.37 / B-, 85.5 / B
(19 gms, 2g 5a) Walman finished off the season strong and was fun to watch this year. St. Louis has a good one. Won’t be back in Bingo next year as he is property of the Blues. @enker1700 (81, 88)
#16 Steven Santini 87.62 / B+, 86.12 / B
(27 gms, 3g 3a) Since he was sent down, his skill sets are solid and bottom to none at this level while being one, if not the top, consistent player on the blueline in the fourth quarter before his recent call-up to New Jersey for the post season. With the log jam on D, he may very well start the season in Bingo in Oct. @Ski931 (88, 86)
#23 Jacob MacDonald - 85.33 / B, 87.87 / B+, 85.75 / B, 90.75 / A- (Top Defenseman Award, Team MVP)
(75 gms, 20g 35a) The man was on fire this season and was the lone representative for the All-Stars event. What a season for the undrafted defenseman with the fourth quarter being no exception. Needs to work defensively as another year in Binghamton will do him good and more importantly, he has acknowledge this in player exit interviews. @Ski931 (82, 83, 84, 90)
#28 *Yaroslav Dyblenko - 74.66 / C, 68.25 / D+, Inc., 67.25 / D+
(54 gms, 2g 6a) The man can deliver a hit, no doubt as witnessed on many occasions in the fourth quarter with some additional playing time to his credit. Not quite sure of his potential on the blueline but I’m rooting for him. @Ski931 (79, 69, Inc., 68)
#32 *Michael Kapla - 70.38 / C-, 67.75 / D+, 66.12 / D, 70.75 / C- (Team Rookie Award)
(63 gms, 5g 16a) Kapla ends his rookie season with the Rookie of the Year award for the BingDevils! I’ve noted improvement in every quarter & this quarter is no different. This quarter I noticed better quality shots, better passing, & better hockey sense overall. He has true potential for next season if he works hard during the off-season. @AliciaS20 (73, 70, 68, 70)
Offense - 76.94 / C, 76.32 / C, 80.07 / B-, 79.63 / C+
BDevils’ PP shot up 15 places from 22nd in the 3rd Quarter to 7th in the 4th at 18.9%, while goals for were also up at an average of 2.54 per game (193) in 29th place, up from 30th. Shots also was on the rise up from 27th place to 24th in the final quarter at an average of 28.71 per outing.
#10 *Austin Cangelosi - 72.66 / C-, Inc., Inc., 70.12 / C- (Man of the Year Award)
(42 gms, 2g 3a) Highlight: Last game of season; stole one for a breakaway and a SHG which earned third star. Hopefully a sign of things to come. Voted Binghamton’s AHL Man Of The Year, it speaks to his character off ice which carries over on the ice. @Bing_da_Bling (73, Inc., Inc., 71)
#11 Brett Seney - 85.25 / B
(12 gms, 3g, 5a) The speedy Seney has such good ice vision, I see him in a playmaker role in the near future. Fluid skater and quick passing, as he plays big for a small guy. Impressive start to his pro debut and should be an important cog next season in Binghamton. This is one player to watch. @Ski931 (84)
#12 Tim Kennedy - Inc., 80.5 / B-, 74.75 / C, 68.87 / D+
(60 gms, 4g 29a) Turned into quite the disappointing season for Kennedy. Started the year as a 1C. Ended with 4G and 29A. He was usually behind in the plays and just didn’t have that passion or drive from day 1. @KeithAHopkins (Inc., 84, 74, 69)
#13 Brandon Baddock - 72.22 / C-, 70.70 / C-, 75.37 / C, 70.75 / C-
(53 gms, 3g 4a) Pretty consistent numbers in votes with the exception in the 3rd Quarter. I don’t see his potential to be too high as a bottom 6 filler in the AHL, at least for now. @Ski931 (71, 70, 79, 71)
#14 Christoph Bertschy - 88.62 / B+, 84.25 / B
(26 gms, 6g 12a) He has been a breathe of fresh air on the power play. Not afraid to shoot the puck which this team desperately needed. I hope New Jersey re-signs him. He ended the year at 14 goals and 21 assists with 6 goals and 12 assists coming with the Devils. @KeithAHopkins (90, 84)
#15 Jan Mandat - 70.55 / C-, 73.74 / C, 77.25 / C+, 79.12 / C+
(64 gms, 4g 5a) Continues to grow and develop. Finished the quarter with three goals in the final five contests as I expect that to carry into next season if he is offered a contract during the off-season, which he deserves. @Ski931 (69, 79, 78, 82)
#17 John Quenneville - Inc., 87.87 / B+, Inc., 83.87 / B
(43 gms, 14g 20a) It’s been a trying season for the second year pro as he spent the majority on the IR, including some time in the final quarter. Has shown flashes of brilliance along the way with team chemistry, but the injuries otherwised bottled up his potential. I think he’ll return to Binghamton for at least the start of the season. @Ski931 ( Inc., 86, Inc., 85)
#18 *Blake Speers - 77.11 / C+, 71.12 / C-, 79.25 / C+, 83.12 / B
(62 gms, 12g 7a) A little bit more improvement (due to increased ice time) in Q4 before an injury on a hard, clean hit ended his season. Definitely a learning experience this year, I expect more offensively next year assuming NJ addresses the season long problem of no play-making center. Finished with 12 goals.. @RogieVachon30 (77, 75, 80, 83)
#19 Blake Pietila - 83.55 / B, 73.37 / C, 76.87 / C, 81.25 / B-
(60 gms, 12g 10a) Still feel bad anointing him a 20 goal man in Q1. Don’t know if he battled injury most of the year, but he only played 60 games & finished with 12 goals. I don’t think he has a future with NJ, but will be an AHL lifer. @RogieVachon30 (84, 70, 75, 82)
#21 Kevin Rooney - 71.11 / C-, 76.75 / C, 80.75 / B-, 85.62 / B (7th Player Award)
(71 gms, 14g 20a) Rooney ends this season with the 7th Player Award as chosen by his teammates - no surprise given his steady presence on the ice & the A consistently on his jersey. Rooney ends the year with 34 points, 13 more than last season! 10 of those 34 points (4G, 6A) occurred in Q4 as Rooney found his stride. For the year Rooney also led the team with short-handed goals, continuing to prove himself on special teams. I expect Rooney to be signed this off-season & to continue be a leader for the Devils next season. @AliciaS20 (73, 75, 81, 87)
#22 *Brandon Gignac - 76.55 / C, inc., Inc., Inc.
(21 gms, 2g 1a) Out for the season with a torn ACL.
#25 Nick Lappin - 90.88 / A-, 83.37 / B, 87.5 / B+, 92.12 / A- (Top Forward Award, Most Stars of the Game)
(65 gms, 31g 22a) Nick is two things every AHL team needs: a scorer and a leader. Looking ahead, I can see him as a bottom six in Newark someday. If he doesn’t, he’s the reliable forward every team in the minors needs. Can’t wait for his numbers next year! @crazybazookajoe (88, 80, 87, 90)
#26 *Michael McLeod - Inc.
(6 gms, 0g 1a)
#27 Mario Lucia - 83.62 / B, 79 / C+
(23 gms, 3g 4a) Came on late to the team, but was most effective with his size and grit while his offensive touch was somewhat stymied with a recent injury. Bounced back and was in the line-up for a handful of games that, however, seemed to set him back a bit in the quarter. @Ski931 (82, 82)
#38 Bracken Kearns - 81.88 / B-, 77.62 / C+, 87.75 / B+, Inc.
(67 gms, 14g 29a) The unofficial ‘Captain’ of this team went down in flames with an injury suffered half-way through the quarter. @enker1700 (80, 68, 90, Inc.)
#42 *Nathan Bastian - 75.55 / C, 73.37 / C, 74.75 / C, 75.5 / C
(68 gms, 10g 8a) Improved as the season progressed including the fourth quarter. Big forward and has potential while improving in every quarter of the season. Would like to see him improve on his grit and defense play, while maintaining the corners as he’s not an offensive threat. @Ski931 (72, 73, 76, 77)
#43 Ben Thomson - 69 / D+, 69.25 / D+, 69.87 / D+, 70.5 / C-
(64 gms, 5g 8a) A sub-par quarter from a consistently below average player. Thomson seemed to show some growth this quarter, or maybe I grew used to his style of play. A big bodied forward with a temper has lead to some unfortunate penalties this year. @EmilyRose474 (70, 70, 68, 69)
#46 Michael Latta - 85.75 / B, 84.62 / B, 85.25 / B
(39 gms, 5g 14a) Latta arrived in Q2 after a trade that made an enormous difference for the flailing young BDevils. Going into the second half of the season. Mike brought a sense of leadership and unity to the group that was sorely needed. Fans love him, The Panel loves him, and most importantly his teammates love him. Mike and his feisty temper need a contract extension ASAP. @crazybazookajoe (85, 84, 85)
Goalies - 84.27 / B, 84.31 / B, 84.37 / B, 82.24 / B-
#29 Mackenzie Blackwood - 83.55 / B, Inc., 77.75 / C+, Inc.
(32 gms, 7-17-6-2, 3.41 GAA 0.882 SV%) Didn’t see much action in the fourth quarter with the log jam in net, as he was often the odd man out. Currently playing for the Adirondack Thunder in their post-season run with some early success. @Ski931 (84, Inc., 79, Inc.)
#31 Eddie Lack - 87.62 / B+, Inc., 78.37 / C+
(16 gms, 6-7-3-0, 2.90 GAA 0.889 SV%) Finished up the season playing the majority of the final games and was inconsistent at best before he was called up by NJ for their playoffs for the final time in the Organization. @Ski931 (86, Inc., 80)
#33 *Cam Johnson - Inc.
(3 gms, 0-1-2-0, 3.90 GAA 0.876 SV%)
#41 Ken Appleby - 85 / B, 81 / B-, 91 / A-, 86.12 / B
(26 gms, 10-13-2-2, 2.76 GAA 0.901 SV%) Plagued by an inconsistent team in front of him, Appleby was on the losing end of many games this year. However, the goalie is a strong player and moves with ease in the crease. With the right team in front of him, he could be far more successful. He was a bright spot this season. @EmilyRose474 (89, 83, 90, 88)
Coaching Staff - 80.49 / B-, 70 / C-, 77.37 / C+, 78.25 / C+
Rick Kowalsky & Sergei Brylin
I’ve been critical of everything of the coaches all season, from commitment to strategy. However, I thought this was their best quarter. They handled the expanded roster effectively, & showed glimpses of changes in strategy in an effort for more successful results. That being said, to me, I don’t feel Kowalsky & Brylin are the right people for what direction NJ is going & what they are trying to accomplish.
Who exactly has Kowalsky “developed” for NJ in his 8 years? Can’t really count a goalie (Kinkaid), and of the other 6 guys on the playoff roster, they’ve played a total of 73 AHL games. The coaches are holdovers from Dinosaur Lou’s era where he treated the AHL as an expense rather than an investment. With even younger guys in the pipeline, I’d like to see new voices behind the bench. @RogieVachon30 (72, 63, 80, 79)
Let’s not sugarcoat this one bit because there is one thing that is certain. The BDevils’ season was a big disappointment in many ways on the ice.
But at the same time, it was a rousing success off the ice that helped offset the floundering results, with many loyal fans familiar to Binghamton hockey to back them up, as well as newcomers from the Albany area that made the effort to partake in the Arena atmosphere.
3,896 was the average number this season on home ice in 38 outings. In the past with Ottawa, it was 37 games with the lone contest held in CTC/ScotiaBank for a bottom line that did count, inflating the overall home averages. I ran the numbers and decided that it wasn’t worth my time to provide any results. It did however, make a slight dent in my research, but my end goal is to not slight the fans of Ottawa.
I look forward to retaining some UFA’s as well as several RFA’s during the off-season. I’ll get more into that at a later date during the summer, but for now, the future begins on Oct 6th, the opening night of the Binghamton Devils 2018-’19 season!
Thanks for reading!
* = Rookie status
Inc. = Incomplete