Is Bingo’s Success Murray’s Vindication?

Amidst all the congratulations surrounding the Binghamton Senators Calder Cup triumph is a chorus suggesting that the victory is a vindication for Brian Murray’s leadership.

While a Calder Cup victory is a big step in the development for many of the Sens young players, let’s remember that Murray’s job is to build an NHL championship team, not an AHL championship team.

How players like Greening, Butler, Condra, Cowan and Lehner take their Calder Cup experience and build upon it for their NHL careers will be the real test.

I was not a fan of the new three-year extension given to Murray after what has been a dizzying tailspin for this franchise over the past three years but clearly Murray has done a very good job rebuilding the scorched, salted and irradiated earth left behind by Muckler’s reign of terror ( I can’t watch Chara playing in the Finals without weeping uncontrollably).

The strength of the AHL team is clearly a positive for the Sens organization, and obviously Murray deserves credit for that, but let’s not lose track of the big picture. AHL success is not necessarily a indicator of NHL success.

 

5 comments
Tyler
Tyler

I am also very wary about looking at what happened in the final batch of meaningless games and trying to extrapolate that over a full season. That's dangerous and historically not a very proven method. You're starting to get into Leafs territory when you do that. The way you play when games actually mean something is night and day from what is done once the pressure is off.

Spencer
Spencer

I'm by no means discounting how good the Calder Cup experience could be for those individual player's development, simply stating that Murray is not off the hook simply because he built a good farm team. A successful farm team certainly can't hurt but there is little evidence that it really helps much either. Good players will find a way.

Sucker Punch
Sucker Punch

Yeah, there is very little correlation between success at the AHL level and the NHL level. Just looking over previous winners, unless I'm mistaken, you have to go back to the 94-95 season to find a Calder Cup Champion whose NHL affiliate subsequently won a Stanley Cup (Albany River Rats and New Jersey Devils). I'm more looking at their progress at an individual level, rather than organization wide. - Robin Lehner, who had a strange year, and was being booed by Binghamton fans early on, put up some stunning numbers en route to being the AHL playoff MVP, and had those same fans chanting his name. - Jared Cowen stepped in when the blueline was falling apart, and was a stud, playing nearly half the game on many nights. Without him, I don't know if they make it out of the second round. Then there's guys like Bobby Butler with 13 goals. Patrick Wiercioch who was relied on heavily and performed admirably after an unimpressive regular season. Ryan Potulny, an AHL plug and throw in on the Campoli trade leading the playoffs in scoring and looking like he may be able to contribute at the NHL level. Zack Smith winning every important faceoff and showing some offensive ability (when he's not in the penalty box). Projects and/or long shot prospects like Borowiecki, Daugavins, Gryba, O'Brien and Hoffman all meeting or exceeding expectations. While you're right, this guarantees nothing, it's nothing but good for the franchise and it's prospects. Even if it's just as trade bait, all those guys have more value now than they did a few months ago. All that said, the big test will be next October when these guys are expected to either produce on the big stage or continue to get better with Binghamton.

Spencer
Spencer

Good point. The idea is not to discount what he has done with Bingo but rather to temper expectations that this somehow will translate directly into success at the NHL level. I still don't consider what was done in the last 30 games of the Sens NHL season to be any kind of reflection on how this group will play going forward.

Tyler Ray
Tyler Ray

As Pierre mentioned on the radio this morning, if you look back over the last 20 years, organizational success at the AHL level does not appear to have any correlation to success at the NHL level. But seeing as so much of the Sens' future was a part of this particular AHL version of the squad, it can only bode well.