April 11 2014 11:10AM
Image courtesy of Utica Comets on Facebook
With the Vancouver Canucks officially eliminated from playoff contention fans are starting to look to the future. With what's looking like what will be a decent draft position the Canucks are setting themselves up nicely to complement the batch of youngsters they brought into the mix last year.
While the big club won't be in the playoffs, so of those aforementioned prospects are in their respective leagues, and as a result we've still got plenty to discuss in our Weekly Prospect Report. The Utica Comets are still scrapping for a late playoff berth, and in the Major Junior ranks there are 6 guys currently competing in the 2nd round. Meanwhile, the NCAA teams have wrapped up their seaons but over in Europe Kenins and Zurich may be making the National League A final.
As always, feel free to follow me on Twitter @nuckprospects for the latest in news on this front. You're more than welcome to send me any feedback on anything prospect related you wish for me to cover in the future.
Friday's 5-1 win vs Toronto
Starting this week's set of games was a must-win over a conference rival in the Toronto Marlies (the AHL Affiliate of the Toronto Maple Leafs). In typical fashion, the Comets gave up the first goal and left the first period trailing 1-0.
But the second period was all Utica, with their offense exploding for a near unheard of five goals (it was literally a franchise best mark for a period). Goals came from Corrado, DeFazio, Friesen and Pelletier (x2). Assists were credited to Friesen, Lain (x2), Tommernes, Biega, Welsh, Grenier and O'Reilly. The second Pelletier goal was also one of the shorthanded variety.
The final score was 5-1 Comets, despite the fact that they lost the shot count 22-20. Pelletier led the Comets with 3 SOG of his own.
Eriksson was in net making 21 of 22 saves, good for a quality start. On Special Teams the PK went 2 for 2 while the PP went 2 for 4. Pelletier, Lain and Friesen were given the 1st, 2nd and 3rd Stars on the night.
Saturday's 5-6 OT Loss @ Syracuse
24 hours later the Comets were in Syracuse to face the Crunch (Tampa Bay's Affiliate) to conclude the Throughway Throughdown. With a single point the Comets would be walking away with the Galaxy Cup, which would be a somewhat half-hearted consolation prize for missing the playoffs, but still..
It was another must-win game (aren't they all right now?) to keep their playoff hopes alive. Obviously Mike Gillis is allergic to playoff hockey this year as he recalled Frank Corrado (EDITOR'S NOTE: This was written prior to the firing. Poor Gilly clearly had bigger worries on his mind).
And to hurt their chances even more, Toronto was beating Rochester 3-0 (who was one place ahead of the Comets) while entering the third only to proceede to collapse and allow Rochester to walk away with the two points.
The Comets finished the opening frame trailing 2-1 with their loan goal (on the PP) by O'Reilly. In the second their offense exploded again with four goals from Friesen (x2), Kennedy (his AHL first) and Welsh. Assists were credited to Lain, Biega, Welsh, O'Reilly, Friesen and Sauve.
They sure looked like they were poised for a massive victory in the grand scheme of things, holding a 5-2 victory with just 1:30 left in the game... but then it all came crashing down. Within a matter of 48 seconds the Crunch were able to score 3 times, twice shorthanded, sending the game into OT (where they went on to score the winner). It's difficult to encapsulate how devastating a collapse this truly was.
Eriksson was in net again, in normal AHL fashion, again showing why you should never start goalies back-to-back. He made 25 of 31 saves, which simply put, wasn't good enough. The PP went 2 for 5 and the PK went 2 for 3.
But hey, the Comets walked away with 1 point and the Galaxy Cup for some more 2013-14 Moral Victories!
Sunday's 2-3 Loss @ Toronto
18 hours later the Comets were in Toronto to face the Marlies again, and it sure must've been difficult getting up for another game following what happened the previous night.
It showed -- things didn't start off well as the Comets let in two goals within the first five minutes. As a result, they spent the rest of the game trying to play catch-up. Ultimately, they weren't able to dig out of that early hole, falling by a 3-2 score. Shots on goal were in favour of Toronto 36-25, with Archibald leading the team with 5 of them.
Utica goals were credited to Pelletier and O'Reilly with assists to Grenier (x2) and DeFazio. Cannata started this game making 33 of 36 saves, while the PP went 1 for 5 and the PK 3 for 4.
Players stats who have played at least one game with the Comets, (X) indicates not currently on the active roster, so far are:
|17||Nicklas Jensen (X)||C||20||51||15||5||20||0.39||141||2.76||-4||24||10.6|
|26||Frank Corrado (X)||D||20||56||6||11||17||0.30||88||1.57||-6||42||6.8|
Goalies so far:
- Ludwig Blomstrand reassigned to Kalamzoo (hey, whaaaat theeee!)
- Evan McEneny reassigned by Vancouver to Utica.
- Frank Corrado recalled from loan by Vancouver.
Looking at the numbers the Comets are currently being outscored 174 to 204 (-30) with a shot differential of 2010 to 2090 (-80). This puts them at a rough possession estimate of 49.02%.
- Their special teams, especially their PP, improved this week. Going 5 for 14 on the PP the Comets jumped up to 17th place with their 17.2% efficiency. Their PK did not move staying in 25th place after going 7 for 9.
- Eriksson's save % continues to drop lately with his back-to-back starts. He was .916 on the year but is now back down to .910. The Comets Sh% went up this week to 8.2% leaving the Comets with a PDO of 98.8%.
- The Comets continue to sit in 11th place with 71 points and 6 games remaining. They are 5 points out of 8th place with no games in hand, unfortuantely. They can likely jump over Charlotte into 10th place but that last playoff position is starting to become a stretch.
- According to SportsClubStats the Comets have a 1.9% chance of making the playoffs and even if they go 6-0-0 they will only have a 66% chance of making the post season.
- Utica will play three games this week, Thursday and Friday night at Lake Erie and then Sunday at Adirondack.
- The Vancouver Canucks will finish a week earlier than the Comets and for that I suspect we will see a few more call-ups in the final three Canucks games as they are now eliminated. I also suspect the week after the Comets will get an infusion of players (Corrado, Jensen, etc.) to give them a boost for a final push and to give those players some more experience.
- Corrado had a great game on the weekend where he ended up finishing in the black in terms of shot attempts. But in the must-win game over Anaheim he was scratched. Torts promised he will be in the lineup for the last three games so we'll just have to wait to see if this is true and how he plays.
- With McEneny coming to Utica last week I am curious to see if he will make the lineup and whose place he will take. The Comets were purchased by the Canucks for development of their prospects and with their season on the line we will see if McEneny is given a chance over someone who has more experience.
- I am still wary of Friesen as he has not stood out all year till the last few weeks. We will see if he continues to produce in the next two weeks and if he can continue it into next year. In the last 13 games he has 14 points. That's after having had just 2 points in the 33 games before that, so that's a huge jump in performance.
- None of the Comets on ATOs played in the last week. I would hope we will see them next weekend as there's no point in signing players to tryouts if you don't give them a chance to play.
- I mentioned Andrew Calof from Princeton was signed on an ATO to Utica this last week. He had an injury plagued senior year but he has lead the Tigers in scoring each of the past three years. His PPG each year were (1.03, .97, 1.23, .95). I couldn't get his old shot data but this year he has 44 SOG (2.0 SOG/G with 11% Sh%). I suspect some of the lower numbers this year was due to the injury. Im excited to see him play but it surprises me that Zalewski was signed to an ELC while Calof was given an ATO. My guess is that Calof is listed at 5'10" 175 lbs and is much smaller than Zalewski but it seems like a silly move when the Canucks are getting close to their 50 cap limit.
- With free agency and the draft coming up a number of Comets on two-ways deals may or may not be resigned so I will tracking those. I am curious to see what their line up will be and I think there will be influx in prospects down in Utica next season.
- There was some good discussion on this in the Comments of last weeks prospect report. Some potential line ups next year could be Pelletier-Gaunce-Fox, Shinkaruk-O'Reilly-Grenier, DeFazio-Lain-Stuart, Kenins-Friesen-Zalewski. Plenty of options, depending on who gets resigned and who makes the Canucks out of camp.
- That being said Pelletier was being scouted by KHL scouts on the weekend from an unnamed team. Will be worth watching if he will leave for more money.
- With the AHL season ending in two weeks I am going to be recapping most of the AHL teams and their prospects, from an analytical perspective, around the internet. I will be starting with Utica here so make sure to watch out for that!
- When I started with Canucks prospect tracking and prospects analytics I envisioned a model similar to BoltsProspects.com or SabresProspects.com. With the summer looming and prospect activity slowing down I may have the time to start up something like a CanucksProspects.com to give a much more detailed, day-to-day tracking, type of approach. But we'll see how the timing works out.
- Hockey's Future on Jensen
- OHL Prospects in the playoffs [Pass it to Bulis]
- Comets Rewing [Canucks.com]
- Some interesting information on Schroeder [Vancouver Sun]
|Miles Liberati||D||1995-06-21||18||North Bay||10||0||1||1||0.10||0||6|
|Jordan Subban||D||March 15, 1995||19||Belleville||x||x||x||x||x||x||x|
- Erie has now completed their second round series sweeping the Soo, and they'll move on to the third round. Gaunce played three games in the last week scoring 1 goal and 3 assists, earning a +4. Dane Fox earned a near identical 1 goal, 3 assists, +2 and 6 PIM line.
- London lost a second game in the second round series and are now trailing Guelph 1-2. Horvat played in all three games scoring 1 goal, 2 assists and earning a -2. Bo Horvat's brother was drafted this last weekend in the OHL Draft by the London Knights, as well. Cal Horvat (@CalHorvat) was drafted in the 15th round, 284th place overall. Will be interesting to see if he has the same talent as his brother (my #hardhittinganalysis: no).
- Cole Cassels played three games this week scoring 3 goals and zero assists. He earned a +3 and 2 PIM. Oshawa has now swept Peterborough and will play in the OHL East final.
- North Bay is currently leading Barrie 2-1. Liberati played in 3 games earning a +1.
|Hunter Shinkaruk (IR)||L||1994-10-13||19||Medicine Hat||x||x||x||x||x||x||x|
- Portland is currently leading Victoria 2-1 in their series. Cederholm played in 3 games and scored a goal (which is definitely worth pointing out, considering how rare an occurence it is!) He also went +2 and earned 4 PIM.
- Medicine Hat is currently tied at 1 game a piece with the Kootney Ice.
|Ben Hutton||D||1993-04-20||20||Hockey East / Maine||35||15||14||29||0.83||8||119||3.40||12.61%|
|Jeff Costello||LW||1990-11-20||23||Hockey East / Notre Dame||41||13||9||22||0.54||8||125||3.05||10.40%|
|Joseph LaBate||F||1993-04-16||20||Big 10 / Wisconsin||35||12||10||22||0.63||-2||94||2.69||12.77%|
|Patrick McNally||D||1991-12-04||22||ECAC / Harvard||18||1||7||8||0.44||-5||33||1.83||3.03%|
|Mike Zalewski||F||1992-08-18||21||ECAC / Rennsselar||36||12||9||21||0.58||6||65||1.81||18.46%|
|Mike Williamson||D||1993-09-05||20||Big 10 / Penn State||25||2||4||6||0.24||-3||42||1.68||4.76%|
|Matthew Beattie||F||1992-12-14||21||ECAC / Yale||21||4||2||6||0.29||4||29||1.38||13.79%|
- The NCAA season is currently over for the Canucks Prospects with the Frozen Four soon to start.
- Ludwig Blomstrand played three ECHL games this week scoring a goal and two assists while going -1 with 5 SOG.
- David Pacan played 3 games as well scoring 1 goal, 1 assist, 8 SOG with a +1 and 2 PIM.
- Wes Myron is still listed as on the Injured Reserve.
- No games for Jeremie Blain this week either.
- Sacha Guimond played in three games for Ontario with 2 assists and 5 SOG. He earned a -1 and 2 PIM.
|Mathieu Corbeil||ECHL Gwinnett||1991-09-27||22||G||6||312||18||3.46||2||3||0||133||0.881|
|CHL St. Charles||G||6||236||21||5.35||0||2||1||103||0.831|
- Now five weeks without Corbeil playing a game for Gwinnett.
|Anton Rodin||W||1990-11-21||23||SHL Brynas||5||2||1||3||0.60||-3||6|
|Ronalds Kenins||LW||1991-02-28||23||Swiss ZSC||12||3||0||3||0.25||1||4|
- In Europe Brynas/Anton Rodin have been eliminated frm the playoffs while Kenins and Zurich are still in the playoffs heading to game 7 of the Semi-Finals vs Geneve. The winner on Thursday will move on to the NLA Finals against Kloten Flyers. Through 12 post season games Kenins has 3 goals and zero assists.