Comets Militia Weekly Prospect Report – October 10th, 2014

Alex Mallet – Courtesy of

Much like
the weekly prospects report, the Comets Militia weekly report is back too!  So far the Utica Comets have been busy with
their pre-season games and training camp. 
A number of players have been invited to training camp, a
few players have already been cut, and I even went and scouted a game.

Read past
the jump for everything that hasn’t been covered with the Utica Comets so far!

October 1st,
2-4 Loss @ Wilkes-Barre/Scranton

The Forward
for this game were: Kenins – Valk – DeFazio, Bancks – Hamilton – Friesen,
Gaunce – Lain – Grenier, Fox – Reid – Legein. 
The defencemen pairings were: Negrin – Humphries, Blood – Sanguinetti,
Andersson – Comrie.  In net was
Markstrom, backed up by Joel Martin.

For Travis
Green, the pre-season games have seemed to be more focused on tryouts of new
players.  The rosters on most nights
consisted of the players less likely to make the roster and the first game was
no different.  The Comets opened up their
three-game pre-season schedule playing the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins
(affiliate of the Pittsburgh Penguins) and walked away with a 2-4 loss.  There’s no official box score so notes are
based on listening to an audio stream of the game.

Markstrom started the game in net and let in a goal 10 minutes into the
first.  The Penguins were able to score a
second time during the first period, on a power play, to open the score up 2-0.  Only 2 minutes into the second the Penguins
were able to score yet again, and then a fourth time in the final period –
clearly not how Markstrom envisioned his return to the AHL. 

The Comets
managed to finally get on the scoreboard when Carter Bancks scored with a
slapshot off the post, assisted by FIRST ROUND PICK Bobby Sanguinetti (yes, he
was selected in the first round in 2006; and yes, the Play-by-Play guy loved to
repeat this).  A second goal was scored
by Brendan Gaunce at the end of the third period, assisted by Stefan Legien, but
it was not enough to close the gap. 
While Friesen was not involved in the Comets goals he was very
noticeable active all night and seemed to always be offensively in the
mix.  He continues to have a good start
to the year, possible signs of a positive development.

October 4th,
Comets Win 4-1 @ Adirondack

The Comets
played their last two pre-season games against the Adirondack Flames (affiliate
of the Calgary Flames).  I already
covered their 2nd game in the scouting report that was posted
earlier in the week.  Much like the other
pre-season AHL games there’s little evidence they happened so there’s plenty of
important details missing.

forwards for this game were: Shinkaruk – Jeffrey – DeFazio, M. Zalewski – S. Zalewski
– Kennedy, Archibald – Hamilton – Bancks, Fox – Mallet – Legien.  Defence pairings were: Lafranchise – Sanguinetti,
Ehrhardt – Biega, Negrin – Andersson.

Joe Cannata
was in net for the entire period where he made 24 of 25 saves.  The lone Flames goal was scored by Corban Knight halfway through the third period. 
The Comets goals were scored by Dustin Jeffrey, Darren Archibald, Carter
Backs and Wacey Hamilton.

Shinkaruk was in this game and was active in the first goal.  He took a body check into the sideboards so
he could feed the puck to DeFazio who then passed to Jeffrey for the goal.  Utica Comet’s GM Pat Conachar said that Shinkaruk did not look out of place in his first game in the AHL. 


  • Hunter Shinkaruk was assigned to
    Utica. Little surprise there but disappointing to many Canucks fans;
  • Nicklas Jensen was assigned to
    Utica, this was much more of a surprise but allows him to play big minutes in the AHL;
  • Cal O’Reilly cleared waivers and was
    sent to Utica;
  • Spencer Humpries (D) released – a
    surprise given that he was invited to all of the Canucks camps;
  • Steven Zalewski (F) released – this
    was a surprise because he was fairly decent, looks like the reasoning is
    because he has too many professional games;
  • Former Edmonton Oiler Ryan Jones was signed to a PTO with the Utica Comets, which GM Conachar says is to add depth.  He mainly played in the NHL last year with Edmonton putting up 6 points in 52 games.  His fancystats were quite ugly.
  • Joe Cannata was sent down to the ECHL where he is playing with the Ontario Reign leaving Markstrom and Eriksson to be fighting for the starter position.  Cannata is likely not being sent to Kalamazoo due to the fact that Kalamazoo already has two goalies on contract plus a third on try-out status.  Including Cannata, Ontario Reign is now up to two goalies.
  • Matt Caria (F) released;
  • Eric Kattelus (F) released;
  • Cam Reid (F) released;
  • Lane Scheidl (F) released;
  • Stefan Legien (F) released;
  • Adam Comrie (D) released;
  • Ben Blood (D) released;
  • Joel Martin (G) released; and

  • Tony Capobianco (G) released. 

The opening night roster has been officially anounced with 27 players named.  The AHL has much looser roster restrictions than the NHL in that you can have as many players on your team, but you can only name 20 players to your game roster.  As long as you are paying them then you can keep them.  That being said, with 27 players I imagine that a couple more cuts will come and with good play in Kalamazoo, Utica might see the likes of Valk, Fox or even Ludwig Blomstrand (who wasn’t even offered a training camp invite despite two more years of his ELC).

Forwards (16): Darren Archibald, Carter Bancks, Brandon DeFazio, Alex Friesen, Brendan Gaunce, Alex Greiner, Wacey Hamilton, Dustin Jeffery, Patrick Kennedy, Ronalds Kennins, Kellan Lain, Mike Zalewski, Hunter Shinkaruk, Nicklas Jensen, Cal O’Reilly, Ryan Jones

Defense (9): Peter Andersson, Alex Biega, Jeremie Blain Travis Ehrhardt, Kent Huskins, Kane LaFranchise, John Negrin, Bobby Sanguinetti, Henrik Tommernes,

Goalies (2): Jacob Markstrom, Joacim Eriksson


The Comets
have two games this upcoming week, both in Toronto where they will face the
Marlies (affiliate of the Toronto Maple Leafs) on Saturday and Sunday at 3 pm
EST.  These should be physical games as
the Leafs have waived a number of their fighters and the Marlies have two full
lines of facepunchers.

News / Thoughts

  • The Utica Comets have been selected
    to host the 2015 AHL All-Star Classic and associated activities with that. 
    Those will commence in Utica on January 25th and 26th,
  • The Comets were not the most
    offensively skilled team last year but this year they look like there will be
    some big improvements.  The top line is
    currently looking to be DeFazio – O’Reilly – Shinkaruk with plenty of firepower
    behind them with the likes of Jeffrey, Jensen, and Grenier.
  • The Utica Comets’ GM Pat Conacher
    said, as reported by @Team1140Sports, that both Alex Friesen and Peter
    Andersson were his best players after the first pre-season game.
  • Conachar also said that Brendan
    Gaunce competed and Joacim Eriksson played the game in goal (hard hitting
  • Utica sure loves their local boys.
  • Want to see something ugly?  Adirondack Flames just released their mascot “Scorch” 

  • Other than they were sent to ECHL? No. Valk was signed to an AHL SPC which is rare since most players stay on PTOs for a long time. Good sign for him.

    Both players are going to get more time with the wings than they would with the comets this year which is why their echl demotion isn’t the worst thing in the world

    • Yes, Fox and Valk may not be afforded many minutes with some primetime prospects in Utica. It’s a bit crowded with Gaunce, Jensen, Shink etc.

      Outside of the often talked about, I’d love to see Grenier given a shot at the NHL roster. He might be a nice darkhorse to make the big club.

      • Yeah, I haven’t seen Grenier play much but his play has consistently been described as “rough around the edges” in scouting reports. That said, he seems to have rapidly adapted to harder leagues like the late jump to the Q and then the AHL so I’m pretty hopeful that in a year or two he will be playing with the big team.