While the team is busy sightseeing, bonding and continuing their training camp overseas with an occasional game or two thrown into the mix, some questions are begging to be brought into the light here back in the states. When Monday comes and the entourage of player’s and coaches returns, there will be a tough week ahead for them as they prepare for opening night on the 11th. Players will be rushed to find housing while settling into their surrounding community and getting acquainted to the rink and it’s upgraded accommodations that transpired during the off-season. (More importantly, a new scoreboard!)
Here is a random list of eight first year Binghamton Senators representing five rookie’s and three pro’s for the 2014-’15 season.
Ryan Dzingel – Will his game continue to quickly develop like it lead us to believe in the spring? Top question is how his nine game trial period with seven points carry over into this season. The speedy, quick reacting forward could be the next best thing approaching his first full season as a pro following his hockey success at Ohio State University. Too much hype or the real deal? I believe he’ll take off right where he left off from late last season.
Max McCormick – Will he be the complete package like he was at Ohio State? Speaking of hype, the talented forward is recognized for his achievements he earned during his collegiate playing days at OSU. How well his adjustments moving ahead at the pro level and his likely roommate Ryan bring to the offense will remain to be seen. Seems to be quite the scrappy type getting into a few scuffles lately with the latest picking on Captain Mike Angelidis of the Syracuse Crunch in Thursday’s win.
Garrett Thompson – Does he have enough talent at the pro level? It was only a seven game sample size but I wasn’t overly impressed with his play. Fumbled the puck, rather sluggish but I’ve got to give him a pass and see what the new season brings for the rugged winger as the rookie gets acquainted. Just don’t put him in the Dzingel class of player’s just yet.
Alex Guptill – Will he have enough to offer in his rookie campaign? Brought into the fold in part of the Jason Spezza trade, this will be his first full season in the AHL after having played in five games for the Texas Stars at the end of last season. Had a few off ice problems that were minor but it did lead to a one game suspension from the University of Michigan. I think he’ll be a good compliment with Derek Grant and David Dziurzynski.
Carter Camper – How much offense will he generate while centering the first or second lines? The experienced centerman should be a real boost up the middle in filling in the skates of the departed Mike Hoffman or Stephane Da Costa. Looked to have some chemistry with Shane Prince in Thursday’s game, but you can slide Matt Puempel or Buddy Robinson in the equation and be fine. Like I asked, it’s not if but how much he’ll bring to the offense.
Aaron Johnson – How well will the younger prospect’s respond to their elder statesman? As the oldest ‘rookie’ of the club at 31, he will be the cornerstone of not only the defense, but a leader in the locker room. Should be one of Luke Richardson‘s go to guy’s utilizing his experience and setting a tone for the younger players. Once he wears the ‘C’ on his jersey all questions will be answered as the team leader.
Ty Wishart – Does he still have what it takes as a former first round draft pick? Just recently signed to a 25 game PTO agreement terminating his contract after a year playing in Germany, the lanky defenseman is giving it another go and a fresh start back here on North American soil. He can be released at any time, or sign to another PTO after current one expires, or be offered a season long contract. It’s a tough road ahead for him on an already crowded blueline.
Chris Driedger – Will he be good enough to start in more games than Andrew Hammond? Not enough to go on with only seeing him play for 30 minutes in an otherwise meaningless last game of the season. At this point I might have over-hyped him but we shall see. I’m expecting he’ll get the nod on Saturday against a French team but I don’t hold any real value there other then it being another exhibition match. However, I don’t see him starting in Evansville, Indiana and Scott Greenham backing Hammond on Opening Night. But I’ve been wrong before.
Brad Mills, Brandon Wong or Guillaume Lepine – Will one of these three players make the final cuts? Outsiders looking in with Mills possibly earning an offer from the B-Sens. Nick Palmieri has been released from his tryout’s.
*Cover Photo & Insert Courtesy of Alicia Strauch.