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Bingo Bites: Nikita Okhotiuk & Thoughts Of Playing Away From Home

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With all games happening in Newark this shortened season, could this affect the Devils’ Organization in the long run? Plus, I talk about the current progress of a certain rookie on the blueline, Nikita Okhotiuk

Photo Credit: JustSports Photography / Binghamton Devils

There are two subjects that are rattling my brain recently during this week off concerning the Binghamton Devils as I would like to share my thoughts. Please include yours as well at the end of the comments session.

I’ll begin with the recent play of a rookie defenseman followed by thoughts on playing games away from Binghamton. Thanks for reading!

Nikita Okhotiuk

There have been many eyes on a certain player holding steady on the blueline in a rookie finding his way in the pro ranks. That would be 20-year-old Nikita Okhotiuk (or Okhotyuk).

Born in Chelyabinsk, RUS, the 6’1”, 194 lbs defenseman was a 2nd round pick and #61 overall by New Jersey Devils as he has donned the #82 jersey for the BDevils this season.

So far, Okhotiuk raised some eyebrows with his physical presence throwing his big frame to opposing opponents in eight appearances while recording his first pro goal vs the Utica Comets back on Feb 13th.

The former Ottawa 67’s member of the OHL was rather productive in his three years as evident below:

2017-18 Ottawa 67’s - OHL 53 5 6 11 71 12 | Playoffs 5 0 1 1 4 -3

2018-19 Ottawa 67’s - OHL 56 2 15 17 43 30 | Playoffs 18 1 1 2 15 4

2019-20 Ottawa 67’s - OHL 39 3 16 19 35 30

His contract is for three years with a value of $2,825,000 signed on Dec 30, 2019.

I like the development so far as Okhotiuk started out on the second pairing with various members before recently on the top pairings with Colton White and Josh Jacobs. It’s still too soon to have a discussion if he is ready or not for the next step, but so far it looks promising.

Playing In Newark

Now that Binghamton is playing their home games in Newark, I am curious if this has an effect on Coach MD and his decisions regarding Binghamton. Sure there have been personal alterations to the line-up like any other season, but the question I have is this;

I understand the reasons for the shift to New Jersey, kinda, but it is easy to blame where there are more eyes on the BDevils than ever before. Not so sure I agree with the decision entirely, obviously myself being from Binghamton. I’m just bothered with the downfall that has also parallelled the parent club.

First off. I don’t dislike Newark. I have many friends from the vicinity and am happy with the affiliation between the two cities here in Binghamton, and in NJ. But I have a theory I’d like to share. Call me crazy, but here it is.

Before the pandemic took place, the BDevils were on a hot streak winning and climbing up in the stands. Devils’ GM Tom Fitzgerald gave the green light to Coach Mark Dennehy on how he could run his team. And it paid off. Big time.

The BDevils have been on the tail end of being winless in their last six games to fall to last place in the North Division with a 2-4-1-1 record.

With all eyes focusing on prospects for the Devils, I have to ask why the success of the late BDevils’ run of 2020 hasn’t carried over to this abbreviated season? Of course, the defense is raw but the offense hasn’t been that great in support, which appears to be loaded on paper.

What exactly is Coach MD’s approach to his recent success last season? I’m not smart enough to figure it out, but it worked. The results were there for all to see. Somehow, with all the offensive weapons and the solid play of a certain goaltender, this is just the opposite in results that one has possibly questioned.

Has this move hampered Coach MD and his abilities?