With an opening faceoff slated less than six weeks away, hockey will once again be the center of attention in the City of Binghamton for the 46th consecutive season, and this, a third time around for the BDevils.
I begin by scratching the surface and seeing what could be as far as potentials lining up for 2019-’20 campaign.
After disappointing results in the standings during the prior two seasons, the Binghamton Devils look to share some of the recent success that mirrors the parent club in New Jersey. With an emphasis on depth, as well as hope in the development of prospects as well as a focus on winning, there is optimistic.
Notables that are gone include; Nick Lappin, Blake Pietila, John Quenneville, Eric Gryba, John Ramage and Eric Tangradi to name a few.
Additions are the following; Fabian Zetterlund, Ben Street, Mikhail Maltsev, Dakota Mermis, Chris Connor, Julian Melchiori, and Matt Tennyson.
Projected to take the ice for the BDevils next season on the blueline are as follows;
- *Jérémy Groleau (19 years-old)
- Dakota Mermis (25)
- Colby Sissons (21)
- Brian Strait (31)
- Matt Tennyson (29)
- Josh Jacobs (23)
- Colton White (22)
- Julian Melchiori (27)
The Defense has been much improved, regardless if veteran Brian Strait ever returns, (or retires) due to his violent concussion suffered early last season after 10 games. Along with Gryba, Tariq Hammond, the rookie out of Calgary was not resigned as he ended up with the Hershey Bears.
Between the two veterans that were added on the blueline and most likely starting in Binghamton, Julian Melchiori and Matt Tennyson have a career 653 AHL games, 154 NHL appearances combined.
I have high praise on Colton White with his improved play last season, including a refresher for Adirondack before that that has since paid off, not to mention Josh Jacobs and his shiny new, two-way deal. On paper, the D looks to be most improved over last season and will be key in helping out the young tenders in net for Binghamton.
The big three offensively will be tough to fill, as gone are John Quenneville, Nick Lappin and Blake Pietila. This trio of characters carried the club in the past, but I totally get why they have moved on. Still, it’s big shoes to fill, and the effect will remain to be seen.
Here are the projected players for the offense;
- Joey Anderson (21 years-old)
- Nathan Bastian (21)
- Brandon Baddock (24)
- Brandon Gignac (21)
- Ludvig Larsson (23)
- Mikhail Maltsev (21)
- Michael McLeod (21)
- Nikita Popugayev (20)
- Brett Seney (23)
- Ryan Schmelzer (25)
- Egor Sharangovich (21)
- Blake Speers (22)
- Ben Street (32)
- Marian Studenic (20)
- *Fabian Zetterlund (19)
- Chris Connor (35)
- *Ara Nazarian (23)
Michael McLeod, Brett Seney, Nate Bastian and Joey Anderson will help fill the voids left in Binghamton while fighting for spots at the same time up top for options whenever needed. I’m thinking Brandon Gignac and Brandon Baddock might fall short for the big club, while Nikita Popugaev is a long shot. Blake Speers could be involved in a trade at some point, as his time has grown thin with what appears to be an overall bust as a third-round pick in 2015.
Ben Street along with Chris Connor are the two veterans that were acquired and bring some valuable leadership with a combined 1138 AHL games, 236 NHL appearances. That’s a good thing and high praises for two individuals in possibly making a difference.
Here is where it could be tricky with the gamble of three netminders that are signed slated for the BDevils;
- Evan Cormier (21 years-old)
- Gilles Senn (23)
- Eamon McAdam (24)
The recent signing of McAdam to an AHL contract likely means someone will be in Glens Falls, NY at the start of the season as there is no reason for three netminders in Binghamton.
As far as the fall guy, my money is on Senn. With only 21 pro games under Cormier’s belt on North American soil, Senn has none. Either way, this might bite the franchise in the behind without a vet signed to help out the youth movement in-between the pipes.
Senn has played in the Swiss-A since the 2014-’15 season posting a career 2.83 GAA, 0.908 SV% in 114 games representing HC Davos, while Cormier has seen moderate success with a 2.96 GAA, 0.902 SV%, 5-8-0 in 15 appearances for the BDevils last season.
McAdam has made 50 appearances in the ECHL (Missouri Mavericks, Worcester Railers and Newfoundland Growlers) over the past three seasons with a 26-16-8, 2.86 SV%, 0.912 GAA. While at the AHL level, it dips a bit at 29-20-1, 3.66 SV%, 0.881 GAA (Bridgeport Sound Tigers, Toronto Marlies).
With no player limits on rosters in the AHL, I will say they are normally within the 23-25 range, as Binghamton is currently at 25, give or take with training camp results soon to follow. However, as the season progresses, there will be further follow-ups on particular prospects in development, along with an emphasis on the veterans.
I’ll also have thoughts once camp breaks out in September.
* = Indicates rookie status