AHL team: Binghamton Senators
NHL affiliate: Ottawa Senators
Home rink: Broome County Arena, Binghamton
NHLers on 2012-13 roster: Ben Bishop, Jared Cowen, Mark Stone, Mika Zibanejad
2011-12 record: 29-40-5-2 (did not make the playoffs)
2011-12 leading scorer: Mike Hoffman, 49 points
What you need to know: A year after winning the Calder Cup, the Binghamton Senators had a rough go in 2011-12, missing the playoffs and finishing at the bottom of the East Division.
Last season, the Ottawa Senators lost the core of their roster as several players departed in free agency and the big club brought many of Binghamton’s top prospects up to Ottawa to fill out the NHL roster.
Luke Richardson’s Senators have a new look this season. They once again have a blooming group of young players to build around, especially with the quality of talent that was sent down during the NHL lockout.
Binghamton will be thrilled to have a defence built around Jared Cowen, Ottawa’s first-round pick from 2009. Cowen emerged as a top defenceman with Ottawa last season and should be a dominant shutdown player against lesser competition.
The more exciting group may be up front, where the forward corps is expected to be made up of exciting young players including Mark Stone, Jakob Silfverberg and Mika Zibanejad in the team’s top six.
Binghamton got even better news when the club added Ben Bishop, who signed a deal to play with Binghamton for the remainder of the lockout. The 6’7″ goaltender showed significant signs of progress last season and has the skill set to be an elite player at the AHL level.
It remains unclear who will stay in Binghamton if the lockout is lifted, but Richardson has a ton of talent to work with, while the young Senators should contend for a Calder Cup once again.
Fun fact: Jason Spezza scored an obscene 117 points for Binghamton during the 2004-05 lockout
Cheapest ticket: $20