Utica Week in Review: January 20th

Jeremy Davis
January 20 2016 05:00PM

Curtis Valk - Comets

Photo credit: Lindsay A. Mogle / Utica Comets

The losing finally came to a halt last week and not a moment too soon. After the Comets dropped their seventh straight game, they reversed their fortunes and finished the week on a positive note, with a two-game winning streak to bookend it.

There still wasn't a whole lot of offense going around, but what last week lacked in goals, it made up for in roster moves; as the team received, reassigned and released a number of players.

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Making moves on the draft floor

Ryan Biech
January 20 2016 01:00PM

Asset management has become a popular term of late, as teams try to separate themselves with an equal amount of money and pieces at their disposal. The idea of selling high and buying low is becoming a key thought process to get any advantage you can, as managing a hockey team is basically an efficiency contest. This also relates to not letting your pending free agents walk on July 1st without accruing anything in return.

This topic du jour is often remarked upon in this space, as the Canucks are not in a position to let their assets fade into nothingness, yet they have so often in these last two seasons. Not trading or re-signing pending unrestricted free agents is the worst thing a halfway-rebuilding franchise can allow. The Canucks did that with Shawn Matthias and Brad Richardson last year and hopefully, they've learned their lesson

Only time will tell, as this year they've been dealt a similar situation, with the ability to bring in a much larger haul, with Dan Hamhuis and Radim Vrbata. There are other ways to maximize returns on already held pieces and one such method is trading draft picks. An exercise we'll discuss in full, on the other side of the jump

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Luca Sbisa's Unique Skills Aren't Helping and Weren't Missed

J.D. Burke
January 20 2016 11:17AM

At some point, you have to feel for Luca Sbisa. For all the abuse he takes in this market, Sbisa seems like a genuinely nice guy. Not to mention, just as it appeared as though the maligned Suisse defender was turning the corner this season, the injury bug took hold and derailed an otherwise encouraging start - all things being relative, of course.

One of the less expected side-effects to this extended absence has been a yearning for what Sbisa brings to the Canucks lineup. Tops on the list are physicality, nastiness and the ability to separate the opposition from the puck. Qualities you'd want in a defender, old and new school thinkers alike.

How much value do these unique, anecdotal skills bring to the table, though? 

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WWYDW: The Brandon Prust Dilemma

J.D. Burke
January 20 2016 09:00AM

The latest roster conundrum in town involves one of, if not the most inconsequential player in this lineup. It's hard to say with any degree of certainty what is happening behind the scenes without making baseless assumptions, but from what most can gather, Jake Virtanen's roster spot was sacrificed against the New York Rangers to appease Brandon Prust, who would be upset by not getting the opportunity to play his second-last team.

Nevermind the fact that Prust has been playing them regularly as a member of the Montreal Canadiens for the last three years, but this is apparently still a big deal. The fires were stoked when it was suggested that sitting Prust for this game would "disrupt the room" or something.

So what exactly do you do with the apparently touchy Prust?

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Canucks Sign Mike Zalewski to an NHL Contract

Jeremy Davis
January 19 2016 10:18PM

Photo Credit: Twitter / @zalews73

The Canucks have signed forward Mike Zalewski to an NHL contract. Zalewski, a 6-foot-2 centreman, has played the last season and a half as a member of the Utica Comets. He's moving up the ranks, most recently being deployed as the top line center with the absence of Linden Vey.

Zalewski had been playing on an AHL deal to this point, but with the trade of Nicklas Jensen, the demotion of Chris Higgins, and the drama with Brandon Prust, the Canucks may have felt that they needed to shore up potential call up depth. Zalewski has certainly earned that honour.

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