The Binghamton Devils are just north of the halfway point in their season. The first half has certainly not been the greatest, as they own a 19-22-4-0 record after their most recent loss in Syracuse. Their offense ranks at the bottom part of the AHL, averaging 2.67 goals per game. Their defense is also struggling, as they are allowing 3.36 goals per game. At first glance, that record and statistics may look terrible, but for what they’ve had to endure this season, it is not as bad as it could be.
Injuries, suspensions, and call-ups have made it very difficult on first-year head coach Mark Dennehy. Valuable players such as John Quenneville, Mackenzie Blackwood, Brian Strait, and Brett Seney have all missed a considerable amount of time due to those factors. This has led to the Devils relying on numerous players, for better or worse, they wouldn’t have thought they needed to. Brandon Gignac, Nick Saracino, Cam Johnson, and Ryan Schmelzer have all stepped into greater roles.
All these things, unfortunately, leave the Devils positioned last in the AHL’s North Division. The ever-changing roster has also forced mixing and matching to occur with the team power play, which has struggled mightily (2 for 20 in its last 22 attempts) and penalty kill, which ranks in the bottom third of the league.
Winning is always nice but the main goal for your farm team is to successfully develop young talent. Below you can see an in-depth analysis of certain forwards and defensemen that have either performed very well or very poorly.
Many Devils fans have already dubbed McLeod as a bust, but this is the wrong assumption to make. McLeod is easily the Binghamton Devils’ best all-around forward. His speed and puck possession has been on full display the first half of the AHL-season. His playmaking ability has made whoever has been on his line better, as he leads the team in assists with 18. McLeod’s 23 points in 40 games are tied for the lead on the club and considering it is his first full professional year, those are pretty respectable numbers. Let’s hope he continues to develop and succeed as the season continues.
— Binghamton Devils (@BingDevils) January 21, 2019
John Quenneville has been an interesting case this year. Whenever he is with the AHL-club, he’s been lighting it up. He leads the team in points per game, as he’s totaled 21 points in 24 games. He most likely has the best shot on the team, as it was once again displayed on the power play versus Syracuse (video above). If only he can duplicate this success with the big club, the Devils would have a really nice prospect.
The Binghamton Devils right winger may be the biggest surprise of the season thus far. The 2017 fifth-round selection is tied for the team-lead in points with 23 (10 goals, 13 assists) and doing so is not a lot of minutes. He has mainly served as a third line and occasional second liner and just recently getting a shot on the first line. He uses his 6’1” frame to control the puck in the offensive zone and does a lot of his work around the crease. The Devils may have found another late-round gem in Studenic.
A name that many Devils fans have probably never heard before is Brandon Gignac. He is in the middle of his first full professional season after a gruesome ACL and MCL tear left him only able to play in 21 games last season. The 5’11” forward uses his speed to create numerous chances offensively, as he’s tied for first in points with 23 points (7 goals, 16 assists). He is also the only Binghamton Devils player to record a hat trick this season. He certainly can improve on his defensive game, as his size inhibits him from clearing the puck efficiently, but nonetheless, has been one Binghamton’s best forwards.
The former second-round pick has been the Binghamton Devils’ best defenseman. On most nights, Jacobs leads the team in ice time as he plays in every situation. His point totals won’t jump out to you (10 points in 42 games) as he’s considered more of a defensive defenseman. But don’t be fooled, as Jacobs has shown he loves to jump up on the offensive of end and display his sneaky speed.
Cormier took the AHL by storm when he made his professional debut for a team that previously drafted him. After Mackenzie Blackwood and Cam Johnson had to be called up to the NHL, Cormier got his shot. Through six appearances, Cormier has a 4-1-0-0 record, .933 save percentage, 2.09 goals against average, and one shutout. He has played so well that the Devils rewarded him an AHL contract, as he was previously signed to just a PTO. It’ll be interesting to see how the AHL-Devils handle the log jam they now have at goaltender.
It has been quite a disappointing year for Lappin, considering how well he played in the AHL last year. While battling injuries, he has compiled only 19 points in 37 games and is a team worse -15. Lappin’s certainly struggled on the offensive end, but his defensive struggles are what is frightening. There have been several occasions when Lappin loses his man, which results in good chances for the other team. His -15 is certainly evidence of these struggles, but Lappin’s performance in his latest game versus Syracuse was encouraging. Let’s hope he gets it together.
The once-promising Devils prospect now finds himself fighting to stay in an AHL-lineup with not a lot of forward talent. Speers, now injured, served exclusively on the team’s fourth line. He only has seven points in 38 games played and owns a -10 rating. The Devils only really rely on Speers for his penalty killing. A prospect that has been touted for his puck-possession hasn’t shown any signs of that this season. He has certainly been one of the biggest disappointments thus far this season.
The young defenseman was rightfully a healthy scratch in the latest game against Syracuse. When he has played, you can easily pick up his struggles, but it shouldn’t come as much of a surprise, as this is his first professional season. Sissons is also an undrafted free agent, so do not expect him to stick around much longer if the struggles continue.
The Binghamton Devils have dressed numerous goalies this season. Unfortunately for Cam Johnson, he has been the worst one. He took over for Mackenzie Blackwood after he was called up and has not performed well. Over 16 appearances, he owns a .869 save percentage and 3.79 goals against average. Interestingly enough, Johnson lost his starting job to Evan Cormier while he was called up due to a Blackwood injury.
January: 23rd @Rochester, 25th vs. Hartford, 26th vs. Wilkes-Barre
February: 1st vs. Rochester, 2nd vs. Belleville, 9th @Cleveland, 10th @Cleveland