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Sens’ Hamel punches ticket to AHL’s 500-point club

With his assist on Mattias Karlsson’s third-period goal in a 3-1 loss to Philadelphia on Wednesday, Binghamton captain Denis Hamel became the third AHL player this season to join the league’s 500-point club. Hamel shows 267 goals and 233 assists in 629 career AHL games and has already attained his seventh consecutive 20-goal season in the league.

Hamel is the 75th player in league history to reach 500 points for his AHL career. Grand Rapids forward Darren Haydar achieved the milestone on Feb. 7, and Hershey’s Keith Aucoin followed just one week later.

Hamel broke into the AHL as a 20-year-old rookie with Rochester in 1997 and put up 116 points (60-56-116) over the next three seasons, including a 34-goal showing in 1999-00. That earned him a spot in the AHL All-Star Classic, and the season culminated in the Amerks’ second consecutive trip to the Calder Cup Finals.

He spent the next two seasons in the NHL with Buffalo before splitting 2002-03 between the Sabres and Americans. He registered 27 goals and 48 points in just 48 AHL games during that campaign.

The 2003-04 season saw Hamel join the Binghamton Senators, where he would flourish in a big way. Hamel racked up 124 goals and 236 points during his first three campaigns in New York’s Southern Tier, punctuated by a league-best 56-goal showing in 2005-06 en route to his second AHL All-Star Classic selection.

After spending the entire 2006-07 campaign in the National Hockey League, Hamel returned to Binghamton in 2007-08 and picked up where he left off.

He paced the Sens with 32 goals and 55 points that year and was honored as captain of the Canadian squad at the 2008 AHL All-Star Classic, which was appropriately held right in Binghamton.

The 31-year-old Montreal native is having another stellar season with the B-Sens in 2008-09, currently leading the team with 24 goals and ranking third with 46 points. He is far and away the Senators’ all-time leader in goals (180), assists (157), and points (337), and is on pace to lead the Senators in goal-scoring for the fifth time in his career.