This past year has been a challenge just like the rest of us fans have suffered in the sports world but we continue to march on entertaining the thought of normality soon as the premiere of the Grades/Evaluations for this shorthanded season of 2020-’21.
It’s a short quest with 34 games on the schedule as the Binghamton Devils (4-8-4-1) closed out the quarter with a victory over the Lehigh Valley Phantoms on Monday to end their five-game losing streak. It’s a young group sprinkled with some veterans as the team looks to build off of that victory looking ahead into the second and final quarter of the season.
(All stats included during that one period of play before it was postponed on Mar 10th against Lehigh Valley due to a Covid-19 outbreak involving the BDevils)
There are ten members and in no particular order are the following; @enker1700, @RogieVachon30, @crazybazookajoe, @EmilyRose474, @ChrisWasselDFS, @DuncanMRF, @swislosky, @trace_1114, @kreegan99, and @Ski931 and due to the pandemic only six, including myself will participate in this shortened season.
Player evaluations and grading were based on the following five factors; Adaptability, Potential, Consistency, Production, & Vision by each member in their current evaluations during the season with a minimum of eight games per quarter to qualify for each player chosen.
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
Feb 8, 2021 - Apr 5, 2021
We begin with the defense as they allowed an average of 32.59 shots per game putting them in 23rd place while giving up 3.82 goals on average for a ranking at 26th. The PK is 20th at 77.9% out of 28 teams.
#2 *Michael Vukojevic - 89 / 13gms, 1g 5a
Big guy and is poised with smothering defense in the opposing zone, as the rookie continues to impress using his body along the boards and reading the ice well while generating points from the blueline. Skillful with the puck on both ends of the rink. I like what I have seen so far as this prospect shows the most potential and with continued development, he’s on the right path to the next level soon. @Ski931
#5 Connor Carrick - 82 / 9gms, 0g 3a
There’s a reason why he has been sent down to the AHL club with several costly turnovers as a result of some laziness with the puck. Yet as a veteran presence in the locker room, he brings some valuable knowledge on the blueline as well with his past NHL experience. I’m happy he is here and hope he stays while currently being paired up with Bahl. Just needs to be more focused at times. @Ski931
#6 Colton White - 73 / 12gms, 0g 3a
I don’t have a ton of faith in his abilities as the ceiling has been maxed for him. There was never a real potential but I had hope. I loved his game season’s back, but I’m drawing a blank these days as to why he has fallen off the depth chart. Time to move on would be the best move on both fronts. @Ski931
#8 Josh Jacobs - 78 / 10gms, 0g 2a
The same can be said for Jacobs. Seems to be stressed trying to make up for the lack of overall team inexperience defensively, which in hand has hurt his play on some levels. He still might have a shot but the window is closing in. A change of scenery is perhaps the best fit in moving forward. @Ski931
#18 David Quenneville - Inc. / 3gms, 0g 1a
#22 *Reilly Walsh - 85 / 16gms, 2g 5a
Walsh is off to a fantastic start to his pro career, after foregoing his senior year at Harvard to sign his entry-level contract. Walsh’s skating and offensive mindset have already started to translate at the pro level, and he’s emerged as one of the better play drivers on the team. His ability to rush the puck out of the defensive zone is an asset for the young defensive core, and he has been able to pull off a number of highlight-reel end-to-end plays.
Binghamton scores over more than 16% of the even-strength goals when he is on the ice, compared to when he is off - that’s best among the defensive core and top-3 on the entire team. Defensively, he has work to do, especially in competing with heavier competition in front of the net. Overall, he’s a big asset to the team, and his defensive shortcomings are already showing signs of improving. He’s already being relied on to play upwards of 19 minutes a night. @DuncanMRF
#38 Jeremy Groleau - 68 / 11gms, 0g 0a
The effort is there, unfortunately, talent-wise, is not. Seems to be a fill-in at this level which he otherwise belongs in the ECHL. For some reason, there is minimal hope in looking towards next season. He is improving, but not enough for the next level, or this level. @Ski931
#82 *Nikita Okhotiuk - 87 / 15gms, 2g 1a
Okhotiuk is another first-year pro on the back end and brings a unique element of physicality to the game. From the very first game, he’s worked hard to use his body to disrupt play in the neutral zone and is a strong presence low in the zone. His two-way play is strong, but he has some work to do before he’ll be able to contribute offensively - with only 3 points on the season, it’s clear that’s not his strong suit.
What he brings is an old-school mentality that meshes well with some of the higher-end skilled players - Walsh, Clarke, Foote - and acts as a solid, reliable presence. If he isn’t quite there already, he has the potential to become the best defensive presence on the team in short order. He could see a few NHL games at the end of the season if his play keeps improving - his frame and style of play would make an interesting experiment for the bigger club. The only thing that might hold him back is average skating. @DuncanMRF
#88 *Kevin Bahl - 77 / 17gms, 0g 1a
Bahl’s transition to pro hockey has been a bit bumpier than the other first-year defenseman. As a big, mobile, two-way defenseman, he has taken longer to adjust to the pace of the pro game. While Walsh has the benefit of high-end skating and a clearer role, and Okhotiuk is being used in a mostly defensive role, Bahl is trying to emerge as a defenseman with a skill set somewhere in between.
His skating, reach, and size are all big assets to the team. Perhaps the biggest knock against him has been some poor decisions both on and off of the puck, likely due to the higher pace of the game at this level, which gives you much less time to process. The result is a negative impact on even-strength scoring, compared to his teammates. He still has NHL potential, but he will take more time before getting his cup of coffee in the NHL. @DuncanMRF
BDevils’ PP in 18th at 17.3%, while the offense scored at an average of 2.65 per game and in 25th position overall. Shots placed the club in the 20th slot at an average of 27.82 per outing out of 28 clubs in the league.
#10 Ben Street - 93 / 14gms, 5g 9a
One of the bright spots so far this season. His best game so far this year when he scored 2g 1a for 3p and two goals came on the powerplay against Utica. On 02\13/21 he is named the Captain for a reason. Gives 100% on the ice in every game and his leadership in the locker room speaks volumes. His other highlight came against the Hershey Bears on 3/19/21 when he scored the game-winning goal. Keep him on the same line with Grahame Clarke as they work very well together. @swislosky
#11 Brett Seney - 83 / 13gms, 2g 2a
He has good speed and always skates hard, we should call him a bouncing ball. Comes down to the AHL and back up to the taxi to NJ and back down to the taxi and the AHL. His low scoring so far is due to the call-up effect when he's down here. Seney is one of the best and only bright spot so far this season and scored the overtime winning goal against LV back on 02\10\21. I like the quickness, he's not afraid to get down into the trenches and his forechecking has been great. Also great in open space while taken a beating, always gives it back. @swislosky
#13 Cam Darcy - 69 / 12gms, 0g 2a
Brought in as one of the several new veteran players to help out the youngins, I was expecting Cam Darcy to be a great addition. Well. That was before he was put on the trend of either being the 4th line’s playmaker or one of the multiple players riding the pine. With 261 AHL games under his belt and a stat line of 0-2 & -3 in 12 games, I’m severely disappointed in the 27-year-old’s first quarter. @crazybazookajoe
#14 *Tyler Irvine - 75 / 14gms, 1g 2a
In a normal season, I could have seen Irvine going back and forth between Binghamton and Adirondack as needed, likely seeing a lot of ice time with the Thunder. For his first pro season, he has been serviceable as a third or fourth liner. @trace_1114
#16 Nate Schnarr - 83 / 16gms, 1g 5a
There is something concrete with his development as his face-off skills have shown steady improvement along with a high hockey IQ and a quick shot added to his cache. Coach MD has him involved in all facets of the game, including crunch time with the game on the line including at the dot. Has been on my radar for a while now as my current dark-horse prospect. Mark my words, next season could be a breakout year for him. @Ski931
#19 Travis St. Denis - 65 / 15gms, 1g 2a
Speaking of veteran disappointment, we come to Travis St. Denis. He was an anchor on the NY Islanders’ baby team, the Bridgeport Sound Tigers, for a solid four seasons. In that time, he finished with 65 goals and 71 assists in 259 games.
Now on a new crew on a flimsy season, his streak has followed suit with a single tally, two helpers, and tied for league-worst +/- at a ghastly -16, out of a recorded 938 players. He’s been relegated to the 4th line but he should really be dangled as trade bait when the time comes. @crazybazookajoe
#20 Fabian Zetterlund - 79 / 17gms, 3g 4a
Has good hands and a very hard shot, whether it’d be a slapper during a shootout or a strong wrister from within the circle. An enthusiastic teammate that just needs more time if his dream becomes a reality. At this point, not so sure as he seems at times too carefree with bad readings during play. Good point producer only if, he is aligned with the right disher, which can be said with any player, but this one in particular. @Ski931
#21 Miles Koules - Inc. / 7gms, 0g 1a
#25 *Nolan Foote - 94 / 18gms, 5g 10a
Now the GOOD news. Nolan Foote is one of the hottest properties on the B-Devils so far, as the team’s top scorer, and tied for 1st in goals. Does my lucky number 25 proud, as he brings his A-game every night, and has near-flawless chemistry with the reliable hands of Brett Seney and ESPECIALLY veteran captain Ben Street. There’s a reason he’s on the top line, and this season is nothing but a warmup for next season where he’ll be staying in Newark as the rest of the team returns to NY. Dynamite talent. @crazybazookajoe
#26 Ryan Schmelzer - Inc. / 4gms, 1g 1a
#27 Marian Studenic - 82 / 18gms, 3g 4a
Maltsev was such a big influence on Studs last season that helped elevate his play, but during his absence, unfortunately, there has been a noticeable void. Great speed, but falters towards the end. Started the season as a top 6 in the line-up but you can find him playing in the bottom 6 section as of late. Needs more seasoning as I’m not holding my breath for a parent club call-up, at least for now. @Ski931
#43 Ben Thomson - 80 / 16gms, 4g 1a
Thomson has been a pleasant surprise in his second go-round with the Devils. This is a player fighting to stay in the AHL after spending part of the last two seasons in the ECHL, and he is literally showing it. He has been a steady fourth-line presence when in the lineup and has even provided the offense, something he hasn’t been known for in his career. @trace_1114
#62 Danick Martel - 89 / 18gms, 4g 7a
What a great free-agent pickup. He has great speed, he's great on the open ice and has great vision. One of his highlights so far this year was against the Hershey bears on 3/7\21 when he had 1g, 2a for 3p. I watched him play for Syracuse and Lehigh Valley and when we signed him this offseason, I was very excited, also great in the locker room. With his leadership and energy, I always say dynamite comes in small packages as he's not afraid to mix it from time to time. @swislosky
#77 *Aarne Talvitie - Inc. / 3gms, 0g 0a
#92 *Graeme Clarke - 85 / 14gms, 5g 2a
Gaining confidence every outing. Great speed plus a glimpse of his fluid puck control while finding that perfect pass is a joy to watch. Super with the snipe that has surfaced as his lethal weapon. Needs to bulk up some with a bump off the loose puck every so often and his overall game needs some work but shows promise during this short window of opportunity. @Ski931
#31 Gilles Senn - 81 / 13gms, 2-6-1-0, 3.41 GAA, 0.898 SV%
The idea of Senn being a potential backup in the future for MacKenzie Blackwood should not be ignored even with an uneven first quarter. Between COVID and another systems adjustment with Binghamton, the AHL Devils’ defense has been as porous as the big club in Newark. Senn has had five starts with a .900 or above save percentage but has also faced 30+ shots in every start-up until Saturday against Hershey. It has been the number of high-danger chances allowed which has been more alarming.
Double digits HDCA has been commonplace for Senn. Senn probably feels like he is playing for some of those Davos HC teams In the Swiss-A league. The final stretch of the season will be important for Senn to work on making improvements in his lateral movement and resiliency. @ChrisWasselDFS
#34 Evan Cormier - 70 / 7gms, 2-2-3-0, 3.48 GAA, 0.879 SV%
Cormier is simply a roster-filler because of the NHL needing taxi squads in case of COVID. The result is Cormier playing a prominent role as a 1B/backup. The goaltender started off with two wins early in the season and then the pause hit. That pause hurt Cormier much like it did Senn.
The Binghamton goalie has yielded three or more goals in every start since. Cormier had one very good performance — stopping 48 of 51 shots versus Hershey on March 21st. He has been serviceable in trying circumstances but his ceiling is little more than his current role. @ChrisWasselDFS
#35 *Jeremy Brodeur - Inc.
Mark Dennehy, Sergei Brylin & Ryan Parent - 85
With the growing focus on the youth movement within the organization, it has caused havoc at the AHL level as the word disastrous comes to mind when looking at the record for the BDevils and near-bottom results in the league standings. But with the bad news, comes good news, and this is a welcome note where the coaching staff has done a really good job.
It has only been 17 and 1 period of action for this 1st Quarter Report to come out and while the team is still finding out how to put together a string of victories, (along with staying out of the penalty box), there has been early signs of good coaching as the younger players continue to adjust at the pro level with the guidance that the Devils Organization provides.
These players are skating hard and there is an effort with some showcasing their raw talents on display as Dennehy works his magic.
When Dennehy doesn’t like what he sees on the ice, he reacts. Whether it’s on the bench opening the eyes for the rookies during bad plays or scolding the entire club during an early timeout. Just check out this recap as the BDevils were down by three and ended up winning it after Dennehy called a TO, it was pretty fun to watch as the team responded well.
Last year, with the team struggling, Dennehy was given the green light in his game style abilities and it reflected back with the BDevils ending up being the hottest team in the AHL before the shutdown. But, playing their home contests in Newark, one has to wonder if he has been dialed back some in front of the Devils’ brass being right next door. Also, a possible factor is playing in a practice facility and living out of a hotel vs. the comforts of a home rink and bed has helped fuel the losses.
But I have no complaints about what the Dennehy team is doing in Binghamton despite what the record may or may not indicate. I want to build a winning culture for the future with an emphasis on development and he fits the bill for both categories. As I look at the remaining 17 games behind the bench, everything should fall into place leading into early October one would hope. As a side-note, stay out of the box, please! @Ski931
* = Rookie status
Inc. = Incomplete