With the first quarter in the books of the beginning of the third season as the top affiliate for the NJ Devils underway, the Binghamton Devils found themselves in an unfortunate position, but yet familiar grounds. Last place in the North Division with a 7-9-3-0 record for 17 points, a 0.447%. At home, the Devils were somewhat successful with a 4-3-2-0 record but a different story on the road going 3-6-1-0.
Outside the numbers, there were plenty of player movements within the organization. There were several player injuries as well as a share of healthy scratches along with a string of goalie altercations, including the trade for Louis Domingue that brought instant success in the short term for the BDevils. Joe Morrow and Kyle Cumiskey are both out, and a weapon for the offense in Brett Seney as he was just called up.
A few changes this season as each member of the Panel will grade their player they are evaluating eliminating the overall group input to help simplify things, as I thought it got to the point of being too cluttered with all things reverent.
There are eight members of ‘The Panel’ including myself, and in no particular order they are the following; @enker1700, @RogieVachon30, @crazybazookajoe, @EmilyRose474, @ChrisWasselDFS, @DuncanMRF, @swislosky and @Ski931.
Voting by the committee and player evaluations were based on the following five factors; Adaptability, Potential, Consistency, Production, & 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 in each quarter. Grading is also included by each member in their 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......65.99% - 66.99%
1st Quarter Timestamps;
Oct 5, 2019 - Nov 22, 2019
Defense - 84.8
We begin with the defense as they allowed an average of 29.68 shots per game putting them in 15th place while giving up 3.32 goals (allowing 67) on average for a ranking at 25th. The PK is 26th at 77.4% out of 31 teams.
#2 Michael Paliotta - 78
Mike was brought in to be a steadying veteran presence, but has missed significant time with an injury. Did not play much this quarter but when he has, he’s been underwhelming. I’m sure once he gets more consistent playing time, his play will improve. We will need him at his best if we want to clinch a playoff spot. @enker1700
#6 Colton White - 85
While I believe Jacobs is the BEST defensive prospect at this level, Colton might have the most UPSIDE. White has improved greatly since his rookie year and is the best offensive minded defenseman here in Binghamton. He was recalled for a cup of coffee by NJ and missed 2 games in Binghamton. While absent, the PP was completely out of whack without White. White could POTENTIALLY crack the bottom 2 in NJ at some point or be the 7th defensemen in NJ. In the meantime, as long as White is in the Binghamton lineup, our PP will benefit and he won’t hurt us defensively. @enker1700
#8 Josh Jacobs - 88
Missed a bit of time with an injury, but has been status quo when healthy. He is not the most flashy defenseman we have but is one of the most steady. I very rarely notice him on the ice, which is a good thing for a defenseman that doesn’t score. I still maintain that he is the best defenseman prospect in the pipeline this side of Ty Smith, but I’m not sure if NJ sees it that way. If NJ continues to slide, I would like to see Josh get some time in the NHL this season. @enker1700
#15 Kyle Cumiskey - 81
As if landing Joe Morrow to bolster the defense in lieu of Matt Tennyson remaining up top, Stanley Cup winner Kyle Cumiskey was even better. In the small time we’ve had him on the team, he and the vets have been gelling on the blueline. A devastating open-icer on Nov 16th has sidelined him for now, giving prospects like Groleau a chance at the AHL level. Hope he comes back asap. @crazybazookajoe
#38 *Jeremy Groleau - Inc.
#43 Dakota Mermis - 87
Speaking of Melchiori, I had not heard of Mermis entering the season. I was surprised to find out he was the captain of the Tucson Roadrunners, last season. Sure enough, he tandems alternate captain duties with Melchiori and is also a reliable dman. Nothing flashy though. Dakota is the speak-softly-big-stick kind of vet. Works for us. @crazybazookajoe
#44 Julian Melchiori - 90
When I heard the NJ Devils nabbed AHL veteran Julian Melchiori, I was ecstatic. I knew we’d have a reliable shutdown defenseman to lead the blueline and that’s EXACTLY what he has done. Dodged a bullet of a potential injury at one point that would have been his ankle(?). Thank goodness it was short lived. Bar none our best non-prospect d-man. THANK you, Fitzgerald. @crazybazookajoe
#47 Luc Snuggerud - 80
Snuggerud is a player nobody expected or knew. Given the circumstances of having to be the extra defenseman in the lazy susan between he and Paliotta since Cumiskey and Morrow arrived, he’s done well. Has he done exceptional? Not at all. Has he done good enough to suffice? Yes. Plays a stay-at-home defensive style that doesn’t wow but gets the job done. I’d be interested to see him shift off third string or 7th man though. A routine pairing with Jacobs or Mermis would be something id like to see during his presumably limited time in Binghamton. If he plays well enough to stay around through Q2, he may earn an SPC. But let’s just wait and see. @crazybazookajoe
#70 Joe Morrow - 90
Morrow was signed shortly after camp ended to be another veteran anchor for the defense. The original plan was to sign veteran Andrew Campbell, but that never came to fruition. Once that fell through, Binghamton moved on quickly and scooped up Morrow and he has not disappointed. Arguably our best defenseman, he has since suffered an injury and, not surprisingly, the defense has seemed out of sorts and more vulnerable. If he can get healthy and come back sooner rather than later, it’s reasonable to think that they can right the ship defensively enough to make a playoff push. @enker1700
Offense - 78.4
BDevils’ PP tied with Springfield in 20th at 14.9%, while the offense scored at an average of 2.74 per game (54) and in 24th position. Shots placed the club in the 22nd slot at an average of 29.05 per outing out of 31 clubs in the league.
#9 Michael McLeod - 78 (19 gms 3g 6a)
McLeod has 9 points in his first 19 games for Binghamton this first quarter. He has taken a bit of a step back from last year’s rise in development. It seems his ability to finish has vanished again. The pivot must raise his level of execution in order to get the notice of New Jersey brass. Until then, he will continue his cycle of inconsistency in Binghamton. @ChrisWasselDFS
#10 Ben Street - 92 (19GP 7G 14A -1)
Veteran signing who has done everything a veteran at this level should do. Rightfully named Captain early in the season (Team waited until second quarter to name Rooney last year after no Captain in Year 1 under ruderless Kowalsky). Point per game player on a team starved for offense. Plays first unit PP, and is good in the dot. When he scored a shootout winning goal, he was mobbed at Center Ice by the team as if they’d won a playoff game in OT. I believe the team likes and respects him. His line (with Brett Seney & Joey Anderson) has remained intact this quarter, but he will have to maintain this type of production once the inevitable call up or injury hits. @RogieVachon30
#11 Brett Seney - 93 (19 gms 11g 7a)
The next generation of the old Corey Locke era has clicked in as this forward takes control as a playmaker whenever the opportunity is there. Just got called up by the parent club but has been the spark plug this club sorely desires. Heart of gold and stands up for his teammates despite his smallish statue. @Ski931
#13 Brandon Baddock - 73 (16 gms 2g 1a)
Baddock has found the scoring knack as of late while notching a pair of goals in the last two games of the Quarter. Yet, at the same time playing the role as an agitator, as we all adore seeing him getting under the skin of the opposing teams. @Ski931
#14 Joey Anderson - 85 (19GP 3G 9A -1)
I wanted to follow Joey because I am a fan of the NCHC conference, and like what I saw of his play for Duluth. Last year was too small a sample size, & his time in NJ was marred by the broken foot. He’s been a fixture on the top line all season, and has been successful in the corners and along the wall doing a lot of the dirty work for his line-mates. Plays first unit PK, and we’ll get to special teams below, he’s gaining valuable experience. Only 3Gs so far this year, but isn’t afraid to go to the front of the net. A little puck luck would help. He’s one of the few I feel has a future in Newark, but probably as an un-sexy, bottom six type forward. @RogieVachon30
#17 Egor Sharangovich - 68 (19 GP, 2 G, 3A, 5P)
Sharangovich has had a somewhat disappointing start to the season, and has struggled to create offense on a consistent basis. Playing primarily a bottom-6 role, his defensive play has struggled for stretches of the first quarter. I want to see more effort in the defensive zone with the role he has been given, and similar to last year, for him to make better use of his size. Binghamton is trying to fit him into a middle-6 two-way role, and he hasn’t quite hit that mark yet. @DuncanMRF
#18 Blake Speers - 65 (9gms 0g 1a)
Been a healthy scratch for some time now as he hasn’t even skated with the team during warm-ups with no mention of him on his current status. It’s safe to say his time with the Devils’ Organization are limited. @Ski931
#20 Fabian Zetterlund - 77 (12 gms 3g 1a)
It’s too early to really form an opinion as time is not an issue. Knee doesn’t appear to be a problem, just needs to continue his work ethic in order to compete with the adjustments on the smaller ice surfaces and way of life in NA compared to his familiar surroundings overseas. @Ski931
#22 Chris Conner - 90 (17g 8g-6a-for 14p and +/-of -2)
Chris is having a great start to the season. He’s seeing the ice well and using his speed to his advantage, not afraid to mix it up. People say dynamite comes in small packages as I see him topping his career stats in goals and assists. He should be on the second line not the third but I think him on the second line with McLeod it will be beneficial to not only himself as well as McLeod. Like I said, speed kills. @swislosky
#23 *Mikhail Maltsev - 73 (9 GP, 1 G, 2A, 3P)
Maltsev has been limited by injuries throughout the first quarter of this season. During his first showing on North American ice, Maltsev has displayed flashes of what made him an effective player in Russia - use of his substantial size (6’3, 220), and a deceptive speed. He has primarily been used in a bottom 6 role, but with Brett Seney’s recent call up I am confident that he will get more looks in the top-6. While it is hard to get a read on his game due to injuries, to improve I want to see Maltsev shoot more and be a bit more disciplined in how he uses his physical tools. @DuncanMRF
#24 *Ludvig Larsson - 69 (10 gms 1g 1a)
Hard read to be honest so far in his first full season at the pro level. Seems to naturally gel with his fellow Swede in Zetterlund as the two have saddled up together on the same line. Too early to tell but has leaped above Speers as a starter recently. @Ski931
#26 Ryan Schmelzer - 78 (19 gms 1g 5a)
Good player at times while showing flashes of toughness as the gritty forward continues to grind it out with his tenacity on the ice resulting in scoring opportunities. Has bounced around on the lower six in the line-ups but has shown consistently whomever his line-mates are. A Wacey Hamilton type of fill-in. @Ski931
#27 Marian Studenic - 67 (12g- 2g -2a for 4p and +/- of 2)
Marion is not having a good start to the season as the only highlight so far is his overtime goal back on Oct 26. He’s very sloppy with puck movement this year and the hustle is not there. The only thing he’s doing good is he’s more physical this year than last year. I have faith he will break out of this rut that he’s in as he is way too talented. @swislosky
#28 Brandon Gignac - 72 (10 gms 1g 3a)
This hasn’t been the best start as injuries has caused him a bit of a set-back entering his third pro season. But the 22 year-old has done it before and I have confidence he will do it again starting in the 2nd Quarter putting up offensive numbers on the scoresheet without a doubt. @Ski931
#42 Nathan Bastian - 83 (19 gms 2g 8a)
Bastian has racked up 10 points in 19 games including eight assists. His power play deployment has diminished Ed a bit but his overall level of play has improved. He battles harder in corners and still can be as intimidating as needed. Bastian does only have two goals on 36 shots (5.6%). Again that number could come up as the forward is on pace for a 10+ goal, 40+ point campaign. @ChrisWasselDFS
Emily’s Goalie Clinic
Goalies - 88.3
The start of the Binghamton Devils season has again brought anything but consistency between the pipes. The team has seen 4 different goaltenders suit up over the course of the first 8 weeks of play. That said, the potential for greatness in net exists, it just depends on what team shows up in front of the netminder in the game.
#1 Evan Cormier - 83
The netminder began the year with Binghamton prior to seeing a stint in the ECHL, being brought back up, and subsequently being injured. In all honesty, Evan has been a disappointment this year. He has the size and, at times, displays the skill necessary to be an AHL goalie. That said, he often gets caught on his knees with the puck sailing past him up high. The team doesn’t play the same way in front of him as they did for other goalies. His play has been inconsistent and I think some extra time in the ECHL could boost his confidence and build his skill. The difference in his GAA between the two leagues is stark and something has to change for him to earn a permanent spot here in Binghamton.
#31 *Gilles Senn - 88
Making his North American debut with the Devils this year, Senn has been a pleasant surprise. After taking a few games to adjust to the smaller rink size, you would not know that it was his first year in the AHL. He plays calmly and consistently. His stature makes him a force in net but doesn’t hold him back in speed or agility. He has good puck vision and moves with ease, making some of the most challenging saves look like a breeze. Additional practice and skill is needed but Senn has the potential to develop into the type of goaltender the Devils system needs. Particularly after the mentoring he received from Louis Domingue and the potential for teaching from Cory Schneider. Keep your eyes on this one.
#77 Louis Domingue - 94
The trade that brought Domingue to the Devils organization has been the brightest spot of the season, in my opinion. It was a move that benefited the BDevils and should benefit the big club now. Domingue came in to a tough situation and, in his short tenure with the team, proved that he earned a spot with New Jersey. The team earned points in all but one of Domingue’s games played and overall played better in front of him.
He moved the way a goalie should move, had great puck vision, and was a great asset to the BDevils roster. Even in his interviews upon his call-up, he spoke highly of his time in Binghamton and the way he was able to work within the system. A class act and one that will be missed in Binghamton. I’m truly excited for his time with NJ. One player can’t make all the difference in a team’s season but I think if anyone could, Domingue would be at the top of the list.
Moving forward, I’m worried about the goaltending situation in Binghamton but trying to remain hopeful. I hope that Cory Schneider is able to take on this new part of his career. I hope he plays to his best abilities in an effort to prove himself for the future. I hope he brings a mentoring role to the rink and helps Senn and Cormier improve their game. I don’t think Binghamton’s problems lie in goaltending but I do think some consistency in net for the remainder of the season could help alleviate some of the team’s troubles. @EmilyRose474
Coach’s Corner with Dave
Coaching Staff - 69 (7-9-3 Last in 8 team North Division)
Mark Dennehy, Sergei Brylin & Ryan Parent
My main concern, which led to the low grade, is this staff’s inability to change. No one can argue the top line’s success. No need to tamper with them. But after Seney (11G), vet Chris Connor (8G), & Street (7G), the next highest player goal total is 3. The lines have essentially remained the same, with the carousel of third/fourth liners rotating in/out of the lineup. We all know the story of how McLeod & Bastian have played together since junior. But they only have 3 & 2 goals respectively so far this year. Maybe its not clicking, and a change may jump start them both?
Brylin has shifted to working with the forwards, and Parent on the defense. Special teams like previous years are in the bottom third of the pack. PP is 21st in the league at 15.9%, while PK is 26th in the league at 77.4% (this, despite giving up the fewest PPs in the circuit). So the good news is the discipline is much improved from last year, but the execution is not. They pretty much do what NJ does, attacking the center point man with the puck, allowing the guy on the half wall to come in and take an open wrist shot through traffic and hope for the best.
I don’t know how much Newark calls the shots on Dennehy, but after the Schneider/Domingue swap, why in the world would they send Gilles Senn to the ECHL? His play has earned his a spot in Bingo. If its to keep him playing while Schneider gets the bulk of the starts to right his ship, fine. But Dennehy has shown no inclination to start goalies in back to back games even when no travel is involved.
How Cormier got the start Friday is mind boggling (He stopped 16 of 22 shots in a 6-3 loss), Now with the call up of Seney, I felt a door would open up for a kid like Mikhail Maltsev, who has that rare combination of size and skill. What happens? He’s in the stands eating popcorn with Blake Speers. Although I don’t believe this is a playoff team, it has more potential than the first two versions of the BDevs. I’m hoping the coaching staff is willing to try to unlock some of that with a few changes. @RogieVachon30
* = Rookie status
Inc. = Incomplete
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