Image courtesy of Robert Esche (Comets President)
With the NHL and AHL teams have finished for the season things are starting to quiet on the Canucks prospect front. Very few teams are still competing in some fashion, with the conference finals in the OHL, WHL, and the ECHL playoffs being the only ones yet to conclude.
But never fear, because as long as there’s any sort of prospect news, I’ll be here with the Comets Militia Weekly Prospect Report, reporting on the latest. Make sure to follow me on Twitter @nuckprospects. You’re also more than welcome to send me any feedback on anything prospect related you wish for me to cover in the future.
Wednesday 4-1 Loss @ Rochester Americans
We briefly mentioned last Wednesday’s game in last week’s Prospect Report as it was the final nail in the Comets coffin. It was a must-win game vs Rochester (AHL Affiliate of Buffalo) if they wanted to have any hopes of the playoffs (though in reality they had a 4% chance of squeezing in even if they won out their final three games!)
In the end it did not matter as the Comets lost 4-1 despite controlling possession for the large majority of the contest. The final SOG were 32-22 in their favour, with the lone goal coming from Marshall and being assisted by Sauve and Kaunisto. Lain led the team with 5 SOG.
Eriksson was in net for this game making 18 of 22 saves. The PP did went 0 for 1 and the PK went 1 for 1. Ultimately none of it matters if your goalie can’t stop a puck and your team can’t score a goal.
Friday 3-2 Win vs Toronto Marlies
With not even the slightest of playoff hopes anymore, the Comets came into Friday’s game to play the spoiler to the Toronto Marlies (AHL affiliate of the Maple Leafs). Cannata was in net for this one in his final appearance for the Comets on the year.
The Comets, despite having nothing to play for, managed to come back from a 2-1 deficit after two to winn 3-2. The goals came from Sauve, Pelletier and O’Reilly while assists were from Mallet, Marshall, Jensen, Biega and Friesen. DeFazio led the team with 5 SOG as the Comets got outshot 39-31 as a group.
Cannata made 37 of 39 saves, good for a quality start in his final game. The Comets went 0 for 1 on the PP and 2 for 2 on the PK. Tommernes left part way through the game and did not return. Biega also got hurt with a broken nose and had to go to the hospital.
Saturday 2-0 Win vs W-B/Scranton Penguins
In the last Comets game of their inaugural season, Utica was playing W-B/Scranton Penguins (affiliates of Pittsburgh). In a penalty-filled game the Comets controlled play and ended up winning 2-0.
The Comet goals were from Andersson and Pelletier while assists came from Friesen, Grenier and O’Reilly. Thanks to score effects the Comets trailed 25-27 in SOG with Pelletier leading the team with 5 SOG.
The Comets PP went 1 for 3 while their PK went 7 for 7. A perfect week on the PK, which is bittersweet considering how questionable it had been for much of the season.
Thanks to the empty spot in the roster McEneny got to play in his first professional game. His most noticeable play on the night was a 2 minute penalty for interference.
Players stats who have played at least one game with the Comets, (X) indicates not currently on the active roster, so far are:
Goalies so far:
- Kaunisto was released from his PTO.
- The Comets ended up in 10th place in the West, a mere 4 points out of a playoff position.
- They started the year 0-8-1-1 and ended up with a winning record at 35-32-4-5 which is something to feel good about. Their final ranking has the Comets 19th in the league, 10th in the conference and 3rd in the division. A large portion of their success towards the end of the year is the development of both of their goalies.
- While Eriksson had peaked at a .916 Sv% earlier in the year, he finishes the year with a .911. Joacim is also tied for 3rd in the AHL with 5 shutouts. It’ll be fascinating to see what he can do next season now that he has a full campaign in North America under his belt.
- Cannata saw great improvement in his sv% too. He claims a large part of it is due to him stopping worrying about if he was starting and just focusing on playing. I guess you will have to wait until the Comets Analytics Year in Review to find out if that is true.
- The Comets ended up being outscored on the year 187 to 216 (-29) and outshot 2098 to 2178, a -80 difference.
- In terms of possession the Comets were ranked 15th, but it is largely due to their low PDO of 98.9 that they did not make the playoffs (see: goaltenders). I believe they have the talent to make the playoffs next year, just depends how the luck goes.
- With the Comets year done we can now start rosterbating about who will be back and what new talent will be signed. Signings with Vancouver will have a ripple effect down to Utica.
- In terms of prospects joining Vancouver it all depends on who makes the camp in the Fall, otherwise many will be back in Utica. Plus Utica will have an infusion of players from the junior and college ranks; Gaunce, Fox, possibly Shinkaruk, Ronalds Kenins, Zalewski will all likely join Utica. If he is selected in this draft Nylander is AHL eligible in the Fall too! (BRING WILLY HOME!)
- Some of the ECHL level prospects might make the jump to the AHL. Most noticeable is Ludwig Blom-hahaha I’m sorry I can’t finish that with a straight face. Jeremie Blain did have a good end of year with Utica drawing a lot of positive reactions. Look to see him get a look at camp this fall.
- In terms of veteran presence I see Van/Utica re-signing Pelletier, O’Reilly, Stuart, De Fazio and Ferriero. They are very strongly loved by Utica and add value to the team. On D we might see Biega and Huskins back. It all depends on who offers those guys money. I know there’s been rumours about Pelletier going to Switzerland or the KHL; he has said he wants to play in the NHL but at this point has not said he knows what will happen next.
- Don’t be surprised if O’Reilly gets a look at the Vancouver 4th line (That’s Cal and not Ryan). Plenty of teams, including Vancouver, had scouts in Utica this weekend. So there is interest in the Comets’ senior players.
- On the prospect and Utica front the Canucks have to re-sign the following players this summer (or let them walk): Kassian (RFA), Schroeder (RFA), Dalpe (RFA), Cannata (RFA), Sauve (RFA) (I’d be surprised), Archibald (RFA), Andersson (RFA), Biega, Pelletier, Stuart, Ferriero, DeFazio (RFA) and Welsh.
- One thing I really appreciate about covering the Comets and talking with Utica locals on Twitter is just how much they love their players. It’s a completely different view point. A player who might be nothing but a 4th line plug at the NHL has a huge fan base down in Utica and it’s refreshing to see. A large part of it might be due to the large community involvement the Utica Comets have. I see their PR all the time so it’s no wonder they have a positive image down in New York.
- Friesen, I am still very unsure of. He started the year with 2 points in 44 games and then ended with 18 in 20 games. Part of both, I’d guess, is luck regressing (both ways) so we will have to wait till October to see if he’s actually figured “it” out.
- I read on the Reddit forums that next year the Comets will be seeing an improvement on defensemen on upgrades from Mullen and Sauve – I just have to point out this is ridiculous since Mullen was one of the Comets best D-Men at evens (plug for upcoming Analytics Year in Review). Mullen was flipped for a young prospect and is in no way in the same category as Sauve.
- Travis Green had plenty of good things to say about his players at the end of the year. He said the two most NHL ready players are Jensen and Corrado while he had high praise for both goalies, Grenier, Lain, Friesen, O’Reilly and Pelletier.
- Jensen will be at the World Championships this spring playing for Denmark so I will be watching out for that.
- We discussed last week how the Abbotsford Heat are moving this off season. But with Abbotsford moving to New York (or so I’m hearing), it is sounding like the AHL will want to create a “Pacific Division” but I don’t see Van leaving Utica for 3-5 years. Pass it to Bulis covers this more.
- The Utica Comets had their end of year awards. I am quite sad I did not win the media coverage award. A Summary of the awards include:
- Pascal Pelleier & Cal O’Reilly – Coach’s most valuable players
- Biega – Best Defencemen (I was actually surprised by this decision)
- DeFazio – Fan voted “Most Heart”, The Comets “Class Guys” and Community Involvement
- Eriksson: 3 Stars Award, Mohawk Vally voted him Player of the Year, Most Improved Player
- With the Calder Cup starting tonight and Friday, I wrote a fancystats primer on each of the series at sister site NHLNumbers.com.
- Hockeys Future has a new article on Vancouver NCAA and European Defencemen and Wingers (aka Hutton and Kenins). Williamson was noted as Penn State’s Most Improved Player.
- If you’re into fighting, here’s a list of all AHL fights from this year for the Utica Comets over at HockeyFights.com.
|Miles Liberati||D||1995-06-21||18||North Bay||16||0||1||1||0.06||0||12|
|Jordan Subban||D||March 15, 1995||19||Belleville||x||x||x||x||x||x||x|
- Erie managed to prevent a conference final sweep at the hands of the Guelph storm as they won the fourth game and now trail 3-1.
- In the last week Gaunce has played in four games earning 1 goal, 1 assist and 2 PIM.
- Fox played in four games earning 1 goal, 2 assists, a -3 and 10 PIM.
- Rumor is that Fox is injured which is why he he hasn’t been producing as much this late in the playoffs. So I put on my journalist hat and asked his sister via twitter if he was injured and she said “no”, so that settles that.
- In the North Bay v. Oshawa Series the Battalion are leading 3-0 with game number four playing tonight.
- Cole Cassels has played three games earning 3 assists with a -3 and 4 PIM. He is scoring at a rate comparable to Dane Fox, without all of the other issues Fox brings to the table, to boot.
- Since the last report Liberati has played in 6 games and earned 6 PIM.
- Pass it to Bulis has a good video on CHL Prospect Playoff Scoring.
|Hunter Shinkaruk (IR)||L||1994-10-13||19||Medicine Hat||x||x||x||x||x||x||x|
- In the series between Portland and Kelowna they are currently tied up at 1 a piece.
- Cederholm has one of the busiest weeks all season, in 5 games he has scored 2 assists.
- Medicine Hat is trailing Edmonton in their series 1-2.
- In the ECHL playoffs Kalamazoo is currently tied 1-1 in their series with Greenville. They head to Greenville to night to try and take the lead in the series.
- Ludwig Blomstand has 1 assist, a -2 and 6 SOG in 2 playoff games so far.
- David Pacan has 1 goal, and 3 SOG in 2 playoff games with Kalamazoo.
- Wes Myron, Sacha Guimond, and Jeremie Blain have not played a game so far in the ECHL playoffs. With Blain up in the AHL I am not sure if he is will be able to rejoin Kalamazoo. Neither has Mathieu Corbeil (probably for the better)
|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||18||4||0||4||0.22||1||6|
- The ZSC Lions have swept the Kloten Flyers making Ronalds Kenins and his team the Swiss A champions!! I am excited to see if Kenins can make the jump in the Fall.
- With Marc Crawford having coached the ZSC Lions, if Torts is fired maybe the Canucks can hire him as the new head coach!