Binghamton Senators season is winding down and with a little break in-between games this week we take a look at the club’s leading goal scorer in sniper #9 Matt Puempel. The Essex, Ontario resident is in his first full season in the pros and has played in all but one game for Binghamton as he missed the game with the flu. A former first round pick, the 6′ 0″ 196 lb left winger leads all rookies with 13 power play goals and is tied with Colton Sissons with 24 goals, three off the pace for the league lead and is 15th in points with 39 in 62 games amongst all rookies in the AHL. The 21-year-old prospect has a -11 on the season as he continues to work hard on his defensive game to help round-up his overall play.
Puempel played four seasons in the OHL, three of those with the Peterborough Petes where he amassed 84 goals and 82 assists in 144 games. In his freshman season, he was named both OHL and CHL Rookie of the Year topping all rookies in goals (33) and points (64), as well as being named to the CHL All-Rookie Team and the OHL All-Rookie First Team. He had a -33 in his second season with the Petes as the club finished last in the East Division with a 20-45-1-2 record. In late of 2011, he signed a three-year, entry-level contract with the Ottawa Senators.
In Matt’s last season in the OHL he requested a trade that brought him to the Kitchener Rangers and finished as the Rangers’ top goal scorer with 35 goals in 51 games. Kitchener ended up third in the Midwest Division at 39-20-1-8 and eventually lost to OHL champion London in the second round. Puempel had 3 goals and 4 assists in 10 playoff games to finish up his OHL career.
Makes AHL debut for Binghamton
In the spring of 2012 Puempel played in 9 games scoring a goal in helping the Senators in finishing out their season. In 2013 he played in 2 games to end the season but saw action in the post season scoring 2 goals in the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins three game sweep in the first round. That still stings as Binghamton ramps up for this season’s playoff run and looks to get even with the Penguins at some point.
Puempel clearly has the knack for finding the back of the net leading with his blistering one timers, he has good ice vision and play making abilities and possesses high-end finishing skills. Accelerates well and works hard with exceptionally good hands. Matt has played on every line this season as the team is flourishing with depth, but has crawled his way up top using his stick as the motivating tool. With Mike Hoffman now playing for Ottawa, Puempel slides into first in his place along the wing with Stephane Da Costa at center and recently called up Mark Stone. Along with that, you’ll find him quarterbacking the first unit on the power play and his 13 tally’s are a quick result of his potent shot on the man advantage.
Puempel experiments with fighting
Not known to be a fighter, Pumps has dropped the gloves in six different scraps so far this season for the Senators. His last coming against Utica Comets’ and ex-Sens David Marshall and landing some quick rights as he spoke with the Ottawa Senators Inside the Senate about his 89 PIM’s so far;
Wasn’t necessarily a goal going into the year I wanted to get so many penalty minutes or be so feisty but sometimes it comes along playing so physical a fight comes here or there and I’ve been willing to take the opportunity to fight a couple of times this year and I don’t think it’ll become my full-time role by any means but it’s been a little different this year, just trying to adjust and round out my game in order to get to the next level and the coaching staff here has helped me out with that.
The final push for the playoffs
Binghamton is gearing up for the final playoff push as their magic number for making the post season is currently 14. If they make it, Sens could have a deep run as they gained a year of experience with last season’s short-lived series and some of these prospects’ will now know what’s in store to help them take it to the next level. The defense has been addressed with a couple of trades to help shore up that back-end, goaltending may or may not be an issue depending how Nathan Lawson is coming around and the league leading offense has carried the club most of the way and Puempel has a lot to do with that.
In the same interview Matt was asked about his second half goals and the quest for the Calder Cup;
It’s obviously the main goal and for myself..as I don’t want to put limits or expectations on myself, just going to play hard and get better each and every day and hopefully..when the team plays well everyone gets the opportunity so we are just look(ing) forward to winning..
This kid is exciting to watch and develop. He’s a very important piece of the puzzle moving forward and his fieriness on the ice rubs off onto others. He has that physical side of him that goes unnoticed and like I mentioned he will get his hands dirty if needed. Another year in Binghamton will be needed but should get some call ups next season.
— Binghamton Senators (@BSens_Hockey) December 1, 2013
Photos courtesy of Alicia Strauch.