As we get ready for the the 2014-15 season, it may be time to get yourself reacquainted with your team’s minor league affiliates and what could be in store for your team should they need a call-up or two. I’ll go through them team by team in hopes that this enlightens some people to their affiliate teams. Today, the Ottawa Senators are on tap with their affiliates in Binghamton, New York and Evansville, Indiana.
Affiliate Since: 2002-03
Distance From Parent Team (Arena to Arena): 266 miles
Last Season: 44-24-3-5, 1st in East Division, 3rd in Eastern Conference
It was almost deja vu season for the B-Sens, as they had the same win-loss record, same amount of points, and same outcome in the playoffs– a first round loss to Wilkes-Barre/Scranton. The only difference is that Binghamton was the top-goal scoring team in the AHL, with two 30-goal scorers and three additional 20-goal scorers. The power play was top-five, but despite the horrible penalty kill– the B-Sens led the league in short-handed goals.
Both Mike Hoffman and Matt Puempel had 30 goals apiece and combined for a total of 27 power play goals on their one. On the penalty kill, Cole Schneider and Jean-Gabriel Pageau put up three shorthanded goals apiece in order to help the penalty kill in scoring, despite not being one of the best in the league. Mark Stone played well during his time in Binghamton, with 15 goals and 41 points in 37 games, despite missing a chunk in the middle when he was called up to Ottawa.
The contrast of Chris Wideman and Fredrik Claesson allowed a balanced attack from the blueline. Though he wasn’t there for long, Cody Ceci was able to adapt to the pro game quickly enough to get a call-up to Ottawa for the majority of the season. The late additions to Alex Grant and Patrick Mullen helped aided the B-Sens at the end of the season, though it couldn’t be carried into the playoffs.
Andrew Hammond’s rookie campaign was a solid one, with 25 wins over 48 games, as well as being 6th in minutes and wins in the AHL for the season. Nathan Lawson provide some veteran presence when called upon and put up 15 wins in his 30 appearances.
Leading Scorers: Mike Hoffman (30g, 37a), Stephane Da Costa (18g, 40a), Cole Schneider (20g, 34a)
Possible Frequent Flyers: Odds are Mike Hoffman will be the fifth center and be on the shuttle from Binghamton to Ottawa, less he had a solid camp and beats out Mika Zibanejad for the fourth center role. Jean-Gabriel Pageau’s move to the wing will give him more options to move up, while Cole Schneider will be a dark horse to get some games coming from the left side.
Outlook: With the loss of Da Costa to the KHL, the Sens will have an opportunity for someone to move into that set-up role for the B-Sens. Luckily, there’s a ton of talent that’ll come back for Binghamton, which should help them get back to where they were at the past couple of years, maybe getting past the 100-point mark. Hopefully there’s not a second-year slump for Hammond, as rookie Chris Dreidger will be his back-up and may be shaky with high expectations put upon him.
Affiliate Since: 2014-15
Distance From Parent Team (Arena to Arena): 916 miles
Last Season: 31-30-4-6, 4th in North Division, 10th in Eastern Conference
While they improved upon their first ECHL year, the IceMen definitely didn’t have the clout in order to make it to the playoffs. With their leading scorer, Jeremy Langlois, getting traded at the end of the season– it was scoring by committee after that point; with Matt Schepke and Daultan Leveille posting 20-goal seasons. Special-teams specialist Matt Lowry had four power play goals and three short-handed goals on the year.
Mike Clemente saw most of the duty for the IceMen, putting up 20 wins, while rookie Garrett Bartus was one game under .500 in his 24 appearances. Matt Krug led the defensemen in points, while leading the team in PIMs with 231. Rookie blueliners Jacob Johnston and Thomas Larkin got plenty of time to get adjusted to the professional game and made the most of it.
Leading Scorers: Matt Schepke (23g, 28a), Daultan Leveille (22g, 25a), Nathan Moon (11g, 34a)
Possible Frequent Flyers: For the IceMen, they’ll have a couple Ottawa guys, but not many who will make a big impact and will probably do spot duty for Binghamton. Nathan Moon and Guillaume Lepine could see some time in the AHL, whether it be with Binghamton or elsewhere.
Outlook: With Ottawa shifting from Elmira to Evansville, it could provide a little more support for the IceMen, who have used the ECHL before to help players out– like last year in Jakub Culek, Scott Greenham, and Mike Hoffman. Jarret Lukin moving to the ECHL from the Central League should add a goal-scoring boost for the IceMen, who should get a lot more out of Nathan Moon with Moon being placed into a bigger role.