Binghamton Senators Showdown: Matt Puempel vs. Shane Prince


The Binghamton Senators start the 2014-’15 campaign in a month from now as the off-season is finally coming to a close. Rookie camp and tournament starts around the corner filled with prospects as they will be closely gauged on how far all have come along. A fresh new beginning filled with promise for the upcoming season but two will be standing out of the pack with the numbers 9 and 18 planted on their backs.

Matt Puempel, a 21-year-old, Windsor, Ontario native and former first round draft pick in 2011 versus another 21-year-old out of Spencerport, NY being Shane Prince, a second rounder also from 2011. Both are left wingers. Both will be earning the same amount of cash in their three-year entry-level contracts but one is entering his third season of professional hockey while the other is coming off a successful rookie season.

Prince is entering his third for the B-Sens that could turn out to be the most crucial one in his young career. In 141 games including seven in the post season, he’s scored 41 goals out of which 22 were scored last season setting a pro career high including one playoff goal against W/B-Scranton Penguins. Six of those goals were also a team high first of the gamers. Shane also had a +23 which tied him with Buddy Robinson behind Freddy Claesson‘s +37. He’s an explosive skater with good speed that can fly once he gets the wheels going.

Puempel is starting his second full season in the pros with the forward coming off a rousing success for Binghamton in his rookie season. He scored 30 goals in 74 contests that tied him with Mike Hoffman for the team lead with 15 of them that led the club on the power play. The team Rookie of the Year finished ninth in scoring in the league rookie class as he has a hard, quick shot that is effective from all angles and can motor as well, a natural with the puck that players feed off. Puempel started the season on the checking line as the front office wanted him to work on his defense early therefore he suffered a -11 for the season having scored only seven by mid-season.

They are also leaning towards the smaller size with Puempel having an inch to give on Prince. On the other hand so is 5’9 Jean-Gabriel Pageau, but that hasn’t stopped him in performing at the next level. So that’s not going to be a reason in anyone’s decision process. They also are going to be in the top six in the B-Sens line up so the offensive numbers should be there barring any injuries.

Both have yet to see any games in the NHL but have similarities on the ice as well as off. So the question is, which one will be the first to get the call up from Ottawa? Hard to say as Prince has an extra season under his belt but got into Luke Richardson‘s dog house right out of the gate last September and sat out several games as Luke was not happy on how his game was not jelling. Then it happened again later in the season. Puempel not only can score but he got into seven scraps showing his feistiness that might bode well to some showing he can handle the rough stuff up top.

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Tough call, but my money is on Shane Prince. Does he deserve it? Yes, I think he does but more importantly the organization needs to find out where they are at with him before deciding his fate on whether to bring him back for another two years or cut him loose in a late season trade. What better way then to get him some NHL games in and see what he can do. Matt Puempel can continue to learn how to be a complete package and spend another full season for Binghamton under Richardson’s guidance.

That’s my call, what’s yours?

*Cover Graphic Art by Matt Trayling. Insert Pics by Alicia Strauch.