Image courtesy of @NHL
With the recent infusion of Jensen into the Vancouver
Comets Canucks fans of the team have had something to be excited for as we head towards (hopefully) the draft lottery. Ideally with some good, tactful positioning in this year’s draft and some smart choices by the GM (whomever that may be) there’s a very real possibility that we’ll have a nice collection of young players to monitor closely next year.
But before we get there, we still have plenty to discuss with the current crop of prospects in the system. Continue past the jump to read the latest in Comets Militia updates, the OHL, and the NCAA (along with some other notes coming from the WHL, ECHL, and Europe).
As always, feel free to follow me on Twitter @nuckprospects for the latest in prospect news. You’re more than welcome to send me any feedback on anything prospect related you wish for me to cover in the future.
Friday: Comets fall 1-3 @ Abbotsford
The Comets started off their week with a pair of games at their home-away-from-home with the Abbotsford arena full of blue shirts and jerseys. In the Heat’s net was young Oliver Roy, a 22 year old ECHL goalie who had been pulled in the last 5 games (with the Heat having lost their last 8 as a team). That seemed like a good sign heading into the game for the Comets, but..
Unfortunately things, as they tend to do in sports from time to time, didn’t exactly go the way we expected. The Heat controlled most of the action (and in turn, holding a 36-28 advantage in shots on goal), ultimately winning by a 3-1 score.
The lone Comets goal came from Grenier, which was assisted by Pelletier and O’Reilly. Grenier had 4 SOG and Pelletier had 5 to lead the Comets. Eriksson made 33 of 35 saves, good for a quality start, despite the loss. The PP went 1 for 7 while the PK went 7 for 8.
Saturday: Comets emerge victorious 3-1 @ Abbotsford
Saturday’s second game of the back-to-back saw Eriksson starting in net again. One of the many differences between the AHL and NHL is that they seem to love riding their goalies hard in this league, which is something I can’t quite understand; it has been shown that statistically speaking, you’re better off giving your back-up ‘tender a start instead.
Not that it mattered in this one, with the Comets pulling out a 3-1 win despite getting outshot 39-34. The goals came from DeFazio and Stuart (x2), with the assists going to Friesen (x2), Huskins, Tommernes, Sauve and O’Reilly. Friesen has been on a bit of a point streak lately but I suspect that won’t last based on the larger sample of data we have on him.
Eriksson tried to score when the Heat pulled their goalie, but missed the net. Oh well, he had to settle for making 38 of 39 saves, and registering another quality start. The PP went 0 for 2 and the PK went 5 for 6.
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|
|25||Darren Archibald (X)||L||23||44||10||11||21||0.48||98||2.23||-1||65||10.2|
|42||Guillaume Lepine (X)||D||26||6||0||2||2||0.33||4||0.67||1||19||0|
Goalies so far:
- Lepine was released from his PTO.
- Currently the Comets sit at 11th place in the Conference and are a .500 team. They’re ranked 20th in the league. At one point this week the Comets were 19th while the Canucks were 21st, which was amazing given where the two teams were respectively earlier in the season.
- Utica has been outscored 147 to 175 (-28) and outshot 1742 to 1828 (-86). A rough possession estimates puts them at 48.8%. Their possession numbers have been dropping as of late, largely due to the injuries and call-ups they have been facing. It’s impressive that they continue to win; partly due to good luck and partly due to Eriksson’s emergence as a solid goaltending prospect.
- The Comets PDO is now at 98.9%. That’s the highest it has been all season as Eriksson continues to bring up his Sv% to .916. A .003% increase in 2 games, which is nothing to scoff at. He still has an outside shot of getting up to .920 on the year if he closes out strong.
- Utica’s penalty kill went 12 for 14 this week and is now ranked 25th at 79.84% (a 1 place drop). Their PP went 1 for 9 leaving them 16th in the league at 16.32% (a 2 place drop in the standings).
- The Comets have just over 10 games remaining, and are 8 points out of a place off position (but with 2 games in hand). There’s still a chance they can make up the ground but it’s going to be pretty tough all things considered.
- They play three games this weekend: Friday vs Adirondack, Saturday @ W-B/Scranton and then Sunday vs Milwaukee.
- Jensen has been playing well so far in his limited NHL time, earning some rave reviews. He’s been playing on the top line so that definitely helps his production. In 7 games he has 3 goals and 2 assists; the shooting % is high given the small sample, but that’s not to take away from what he has been able to accomplish. He’s a bit sheltered but he has a 56.6% Corsi For and a +8.0% Corsi Rel. Let’s hope that keeps up. Join in the Reddit Jensen discussion.
- Yann Sauve has 86 SOG in the AHL this year and not a single goal to his name. Even Alex Burrows thinks that’s unlucky/bad.
- Archibald sat out Wednesday’s game. I don’t think the Canucks will want him sitting out of games for very long. I suspect they’d send him back to Utica if it keeps happening and he can’t draw into their lineup. He has played 16 NHL games so far, has 1G, 2A in that time while playing 7.6 min/game. He’s in a much more defensive role and has a -3.7% Corsi rel which isn’t too bad for the fourth line.
- Travis Green, the coach down in Utica has gotten plenty of public praise recently for the development of his players. Especially with how Jensen has turned out this year. On the MvsW podcast on Tuesday, Marek argued that Green will be behind an NHL bench within 5 years.
Some extra reading for you:
- 10 prospects most likely to step up next year [Pass it to Bulis]
- Don’t forget to vote the Comet with the most heart this year [UticaComets]
- HockeysFuture ranked the current Canucks top 20 prospects. While I don’t agree with the order (since they seem to rank based on +/-), I’d agree with who is in the top 20.
|Jordan Subban||D||March 15, 1995||19||Belleville||66||12||30||42||0.64||-11||63|
|Miles Liberati||D||1995-06-21||18||North Bay||43||8||1||9||0.21||-5||19|
- BrendanGaunce ended his season with 3 games this past week, scoring 4 goals and 1 assist. He earned a +4 and 2 PIM.
- Teammate Dane Fox played his last 3 OHL games scoring 2 goals, earning 4 assists, +4 and 4 PIM. The Vancouver Sun calls Fox the Canucks Blue Chip Prospect (but I don’t think they know what that means). The intelligent people over on Reddit did their own analysis of Fox.
- Top Canucks Prospect Bo Horvat played his last 2 games (possibly ever) in the OHL scoring 2 goals, 1 assist a 2 PIM.
- Cole Cassels has finished his year outproducing Gaunce (who is a year older and playing with McJesus). He had 2 assists in his final pair of contests.
- Down in Belleville, Subban played his last 2 games scoring 1 goal and 0 assists and earning 6 PIM.
- McEneny had some good production in Kingston this year; in his last 2 games he earned 4 assists, and a +1.
- Liberati has not done anything to make himself stand out this year. In his last two games he went +2, but that’s all we can report on.
- With the regular season done the OHL playoffs will be starting this weekend. Belleville is already eliminated as they didn’t qualify. In the East, Oshawa will play Missisauga, North Bay will meeting Niagara, and Kingston is matched up with Peterborough. In the West the Erie Otters will play against Saginaw while London Knights will go against the Windsor Spitfires (and already have a seat at the Memorial Cup as host).
- In the OHL Coaches Voting, Hovat won Best Faceoffs (West) and 2nd in Best Defensive Forward (West). Dane Fox won Most Dangerous in Goal Area (West) and Best Shot (West).
|Hunter Shinkaruk (IR)||L||1994-10-13||19||Medicine Hat||18||5||11||16||0.89||-2||29|
- Anton Cederholm remains the quiet defenseman that he is, finishing off the final 2 games with 1 assist and a +2. He finished 4th on his team in +/-, the highest of all defensemen in Portland.
- Portland has been matched up against the Vancouver Giants so for those of you in Vancouver make sure you go out and watch a few games, cheer on the local team and your prospects!
- Shinkaruk was recently spotted in Vancouver skating and getting checked out by the Canucks medical staff. He is planning to be ready for camp in September.
|Ben Hutton||D||1993-04-20||20||Hockey East / Maine||35||15||14||29||0.83||8||119||3.40||8|
|Jeff Costello||LW||1990-11-20||23||Hockey East / Notre Dame||39||13||9||22||0.56||10||115||2.95||73|
|Joseph LaBate||F||1993-04-16||20||Big 10 / Wisconsin||32||12||9||21||0.66||-1||91||2.84||14|
|Patrick McNally||D||1991-12-04||22||ECAC / Harvard||18||1||7||8||0.44||-5||33||1.83||10|
|Mike Zalewski||F||1992-08-18||21||ECAC / Rennsselar||36||12||9||21||0.58||6||65||1.81||11|
|Mike Williamson||D||1993-09-05||20||Big 10 / Penn State||23||2||4||6||0.26||-3||37||1.61||32|
|Matthew Beattie||F||1992-12-14||21||ECAC / Yale||21||4||2||6||0.29||4||29||1.38||17|
- Notre Dame played BC three times this weekend: 7-2 Win, 4-2 Loss, 4-2 Win. They’ll now play UMass-Lowel in the Hockey East Semi on the weekend. Costello played 3 games, registering 1G, 1A, 6 SOG, +2, 4 PIM.
- Maine lost both games to Providence this weekend, 3-1 and 4-2. Hutton had 2G, 9 SOG, and 4 PIM in this contests. Maine is now done for the season. No news has been heard yet if he will leave Maine this year. Hutton has the record for most goals in a season by a defenseman at Maine now.
- Wisconsin had a 5-4 OT Loss against Michigan state and a 4-3 Win. They’ll play in the Big 10 Tournament this weekend. LaBate played 2 games: 1 Goal, 1 assist, 5 SOG, +2.
- Penn State had a 4-2 Win and Loss against Ohio State this weekend and will play vs Michigan on Thursday. Then they’ve got themselves the Big 10 Tournament, as well. Williamson played in 2 games, and had 1G, 2 SOG, a -1 and 9 PIM
- Yale lost 2-6 and 3-5 against Quinnipiac this weekend. Beattie played in 1 game this weekend, which was good since we haven’t seen him in a while. He earned a lone SOG.
- Harvard was eliminated by Yale last weekend. Patrick McNally’s season is over.
- The Canucks signed NCAA free agent Mike Zalewski from RPI after their season has ended. He has been at 0.6 PPG and 1.8 SOG/G through his first two years and hasn’t really stood out. I am surprised he was signed to be honest, but Gillis does have a good track with free agents (Lain, Tanev, Archibald, Eriksson, Lack). Some notes on him:
- He’s a local Utica (New Hartford) boy which is good for the AHL club (and something they are excited about), but I don’t think that’s why they signed him to a contract. He’s also traveling with the NHL club right now. @KatsHockey from McKeens hockey says they have little information on him and say he projects to be a depth, tough, fighting forward, likely Utica-bound. Undrafted FA signings from college are usually AHL level players; Bozak is an anomaly, not the norm.
- This signing was well covered by every platform. From Canucks.com, RPI’s release, Reddit’s Analysis, NucksMisconduct, SBNations, and Pass it to Bulis.
- For some more information on him SBNations ranked him 32nd in NCAA Free Agents (Hutton was listed at 21). NucksMisconduct and then there’s a video of his goals on Youtube.
- Jeremie Blain had another eventful week playing 3 games, earning 1 goal and 4 assists, going +9 with 8 SOG.
- David Pacan has been up with Utica this week and did not play an ECHL game.
- Blomstrand stood out this week, in 3 games he earned 4 assists, a +5, 12 SOG and 2 PIM.
- Myron has not played a game this week.
- Sacha Guimond played in 3 games with Ontario earning 2 assists, a +6, 4 SOG 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|
- No games for Corbeil this week (again). It hasn’t been a good season for him.
|Anton Rodin||W||1990-11-21||23||SHL Brynas||47||12||23||35||0.74||-11||38|
|Ronalds Kenins||LW||1991-02-28||23||Swiss ZSC||39||8||17||25||0.64||15||40|
- Anton Rodin did not play a game this week. EliteProspects has him listed as “going to be playing in Brynas for 2014-2015”. I suspect we won’t see him in a Canucks uniform and I will likely not track him any longer next year.
- Ronalds Kenins played one game this week but did nothing exciting that we can note. We will hopefully see him in a Comets uniform in the fall.