The New Jersey Devils top minor league affiliate in the Binghamton Devils of the AHL is on a nice run. Binghamton Devils play-by-play man Rob Lippolis had some nice things to say about them.
The New Jersey Devils are in the midst of an underwhelming season. They had some high hopes after a very fun summer, but they have been subpar basically since opening night. Their top minor league affiliate, the Binghamton Devils, had a rough start to the season as well. Lately, they have been on a tear and are right back into the playoff race. If they can make it to the Calder Cup Playoffs this season, that would be amazing for the development of the organization.
There are plenty of reasons for fans to be watching this team. Calder Cup Playoff experience might not have the clout of Stanley Cup Playoff experience, but it is better than nothing. There are guys down there that could be impact players on the big team someday, so watching them have all of this recent success has been fun.
One guy who knows all about the Binghamton Devils is Rob Lippolis. He does radio for Binghamton and he was kind enough to give me some time for an interview. Rob is close to the team so he definitely is the guy to go to when you wish to gain some knowledge on the team. Rob answered five questions that I had for him pertaining to the B-Devils:
Binghamton has been on a roll lately. What do you believe has been the thing that caused them to turn around their season?
I think there have been a few things. Defensively, I think the team improved when that run started in the middle of December. In interviews prior to the run with Coach Dennehy, one of the things he mentioned most the most was everyone needing to be better defensively. You see guys aggressively backchecking now, better goaltending, etc. Offensively, the Devils didn’t capitalize on chances like they have recently. They’re not only getting more chances, but the quality of chances have improved too. It’s a great group of guys in the locker room as well, and when you can combine all of those things, good things happen!
How do you think Schneider’s time in the AHL will impact the future of his career?
Probably one of the nicest guys in the world and when you have an attitude like that, no matter the situation can go a long way. He came down to Binghamton, said he was going to keep working hard, and played a key role in the turnaround, winning five in a row and seven of his last ten.
Jesper Boqvist is a big part of the NHL club’s future. What have you thought of his game since being sent down to Binghamton prior to the NHL All-Star break?
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Probably one of, if not the best player on the ice on both sides. Right from the start, the goal was to increase his playing time and use him in all situations. After the first game he played in Utica, Coach Dennehy said they doubled his ice time and Boqvist has said his confidence is back. He’s been on the power play, penalty kill, etc. and last week had seven points in three games.
Are there any “under the radar” players on the Binghamton Devils that you see being an impact player on the NJ Devils in the future?
I think if you asked me this two weeks ago the names I gave you are the ones currently in New Jersey. Fans got a look at Nick Merkley, Colton White, and now Dakota Mermis and Joey Anderson. With the trade, Janne Kuokkanen is now in the organization and joins Binghamton with the team lead in points (42) and I wouldn’t be surprised if he gets a look prior to the end of the season. Gilles Senn has been playing great in net for Binghamton as well and has won ten of his last 12 games. Friday against Charlotte, Senn stopped 47 of 48 shots and Goaltending Development Coach Scott Clemmensen has been in town working with Senn and his adjustment from bigger European ice to the smaller North American ice and you can see the improvement.
Binghamton is right there on the playoff bubble. Do you think they get in and if yes, do they have what it takes to go on a run?
First off, I will say that the excitement of what’s happening is not only noticeable here in Binghamton, but with New Jersey fans as well. The last time a team in Binghamton made the playoffs was 2013-14, so it’s great to see the excitement around town and on social media. This is something that New Jersey fans should be very fired up about, especially with the amount of prospects on the roster. Having Merkley back on a line with Seney and Street is big as that line was fantastic when they were together. The team is getting hot at the right time of the year and momentum can be so important. New Jersey’s last game is April 4 and Binghamton has three games after that before the regular season ends and the playoff race is so tight in the North Division it could very well come down to those final three games and getting some players back from both New Jersey and possibly juniors as well. If they can get in, and get players back from New Jersey, and add some from juniors, yes they can go on a run!
It is clear that there is optimism surrounding the Binghamton Devils. This team has a lot of important players to the future of the New Jersey Devils on it so it makes sense why people are so excited about it. If they can get in it will be fun to have them to cheer for once the Calder Cup Playoffs get underway.
Pucks and Pitchforks thanks Rob Lippolis for donating some of his time to interview with us. It was a lot of fun and very insightful to learn from someone so close to the team. I strongly encourage all New Jersey Devils fans to start paying attention to this team if they aren’t already. Hopefully, they can stay hot and get into the playoffs.