The Binghamton Senators took a hit to their roster this past week as they lost two of their veteran D-men. Freshly signed Lee Sweatt, who inked a two-year, two-way deal on July 12th has decided to retire from hockey. Sweatt wants to pursue opportunities in the business sector as he has been involved in the finance world for years.
It was expected that the 26 year old Sweatt would come into Bingo and provide a veteran leadership to a very young D-corps. With veterans Derek Smith, David Hale, Andre Benoit (will mention below) and Geoff Kinrade leaving Bingo for other opportunities, Sweatt was brought in as the elder statesman to stabilize the back-end.
As an offensive defenseman, Sweatt would’ve been one of the first call-ups in the event of injuries on Ottawa’s blueline. With only three NHL games under his belt, Sweatt had a opportunity with this organization to play some meaningful games in the NHL. But I guess Sweatt’s heart wasn’t into playing hockey anymore. Best of luck to him in his future endeavors.
Along with losing Sweatt, the B-Sens also lost their best defenseman from last year, Andre Benoit. Expected to leave, Benoit has signed a one-year contract with Spartak Moscow of the Kontinental Hockey League. With career highs in goals (11), assists (44) and points (55) last season in the AHL, Benoit was one of the best defensemen in the AHL last season.
With Benoit seeing his first NHL action last year with eight games in Ottawa, he fared pretty well and he seemed to be on his way to making the jump to the NHL on a more permanent basis. But with the depth chart in Ottawa on the blue line, I guess Benoit saw his NHL dream to be more favorable in another organization. But after spending a month and a half on the free agent market, Benoit could not find an NHL organization that would give him the NHL shot that he deserved. In going to the KHL, Benoit will be paid significantly more than he would have made suiting up in the AHL this season. With the one year deal, Benoit will get a chance to earn some money this season and then take a shot next year at making an NHL squad.
These two losses give the B-Sens a very young defensive unit next season. With veteran Tim Conboy (29) the only defenseman with more than two seasons as a pro under his belt, Bingo’s defensive unit may need a little time to adjust. With first year pros Jared Cowen, David Rundblad and Mark Borowiecki expected to suit up for the B-Sens, they will join current B-Sens Patrick Wiercioch, Eric Gryba and Craig Schira on the blue line.
Last year’s D corps was a strength of the team and helped lead them all the way to the AHL Calder Cup. This year’s D unit has many blue chip prospects joining the team which should ease the pain of losing last season’s players. They may need a few games to adjust, but all the new players have all played some form of professional hockey and should have no problem adjusting to the AHL. The other issue with the B-Sens defensive unit this upcoming season will be if any of the players make the big club in Ottawa. Either way, it should be an interesting training camp for the B-Sens this season.
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Topics: AHL, Andre Benoit, B-Sens, B-Sens Lose A Pair As Lee Sweatt Retires And Andre Benoit Heads To Russia, B-Sens Lose A Pair As Sweatt Retires And Benoit Heads To Russia, Binghamton Senators, Bingo, Calder Cup, Craig Schira, David Hale, David Rundblad, Derek Smith, Eric Gryba, Geoff Kinrade, Jared Cowen, Lee Sweatt, Mark Borowiecki, NHL, Ottawa Senators, Patrick Wiercioch, Tim Conboy