Comets Militia: Down on the Farm – February 21st, 2015

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Courtesy: TheAHL.com

Welcome back to this weeks Comets Milita report as we review all of the activities of the Utica Comets and the Canucks prospects down in the AHL.  It’s been an active week for the Comets as their d-corps is currently a number of ECHLers as they withstand the domino effects of NHL call-ups.  Still, the Comets managed 4 of 6 points this week and are looking good as we head into the last 1/3rd of the season in the final march towards the Calder Cup

(Editor’s Note: This edition was written before Friday’s game and the results of that game will be written about next week)

Continue past the jump for all your latest in Comets news.

The Statistics

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It was a decent week for the Utica Comets as they managed to earn 4 of 6 points and saw a lot of their underlying numbers improve.  Their goal differential, shot differentials, and special teams efficiency all trended upwards.  The only statistics to decrease was their Est. Fenwick Close as the Comets have dropped a second time out of 1st place in the league.

Saturday’s 2-1 OT Win @ Rochester

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[ Highlights ] [ Comets Review ]

Pretty low key game.  The Comets scored first halfway through the second and it took a period for Rochester to tie it up.  The game went to OT where the Comets were able to win thanks to the effort of Markstrom.  The powerplay scored a rare goal.

Monday’s 5-7 Loss @ Hamilton

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[ Highlights ] [ Comets Review ]

Crazy Monday lunch game as goals were traded back and forth all day.  While the Comets were controlling possession, Joacim Eriksson apparently decided to sleep in letting in 6 goals on 21 shots.  Surprisingly he was not pulled and ended up playing the whole game.

Wednesday’s 5-2 Win vs Texas

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[ Highlights ] [ Comets Review ]

A great game for the Comets as they wrapped up the week by playing the Texas Stars, Willie Desjardins’ old team.  They controlled play and they had the PDO – the necessary ingredients to walk away the winners in regular time and earn 4 of 6 points on the week.

Players

Name Pos GP G A PTS +/- PIM PPG SOG SoG/G Sh%
21 Dustin Jeffrey C 44 16 22 38 6 14 0.86 84 1.91 19.05%
16 Cal O’Reilly C 51 5 32 37 -6 8 0.73 64 1.25 7.81%
24 Brandon DeFazio RW 49 16 15 31 8 58 0.63 119 2.43 13.45%
6 Bobby Sanguinetti D 42 13 15 28 22 6 0.67 92 2.19 14.13%
28 Alexandre Grenier RW 42 10 13 23 3 53 0.55 98 2.33 10.20%
10 Brendan Gaunce LW 49 8 14 22 4 17 0.45 104 2.12 7.69%
17 Nicklas Jensen RW 38 10 10 20 -12 21 0.53 109 2.87 9.17%
41 Will Acton C 38 8 9 17 -1 15 0.45 70 1.84 11.43%
9 Hunter Shinkaruk LW 50 6 11 17 -4 22 0.34 99 1.98 6.06%
25 Darren Archibald LW 45 7 9 16 11 73 0.36 83 1.84 8.43%
8 Alex Friesen C 36 6 9 15 9 43 0.42 57 1.58 10.53%
3 Alex Biega D 42 3 12 15 -2 16 0.36 73 1.74 4.11%
36 Wacey Hamilton C 31 4 9 13 4 25 0.42 42 1.35 9.52%
37 Andrey Pedan D 37 2 11 13 8 107 0.35 65 1.76 3.08%
15 Ronalds Kenins LW 36 5 7 12 6 23 0.33 61 1.69 8.20%
34 Carter Bancks RW 39 6 4 10 7 35 0.26 55 1.41 10.91%
4 Kane Lafranchise D 26 2 8 10 0 4 0.38 34 1.31 5.88%
14 Mike Zalewski LW 29 3 6 9 0 10 0.31 34 1.17 8.82%
26 Frank Corrado D 21 4 4 8 3 17 0.38 50 2.38 8.00%
2 Travis Ehrhardt D 27 2 4 6 -1 20 0.22 27 1.00 7.41%
40 Peter Andersson D 35 2 3 5 10 18 0.14 44 1.26 4.55%
29 Kent Huskins D 27 1 4 5 5 2 0.19 13 0.48 7.69%
27 Tom Sestito LW 10 1 0 1 -2 20 0.10 11 1.10 9.09%
11 John Negrin D 21 0 1 1 2 4 0.05 17 0.81 0.00%
18 Patrick Kennedy RW 4 0 0 0 1 0 0.00 7 1.75 0.00%
5 Jeremie Blain D 7 0 0 0 -4 2 0.00 6 0.86 0.00%

If you think the Canucks d-corps have been decimated, the top six of Utica has been comprised of Ehrhardt, Pedan, Andersson, Huskins, Blain and Negrin, thanks to all the call-ups, with Blain quarter-backing the first power-play unit.

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We can also review the playing time of all the Comets and look how the time is spread out across all of the players.  We can see the prospects starting to receive more time during even strength but you still have a couple veterans playing in the top pairing and first line.

Also it’s nice to see the Province / Jason Botchford finally catch up to us here at Canucks Army as they discuss the issues we’ve been talking about with the Comets and prospect ice time for months.

Goalies

Name GP Min GA SO GAA W L OT SA SVS SAV%
Jacob Markstrom 25 1459:55:00 46 4 1.89 16 6 2 700 654 0.934
Joe Cannata 1 59:00:00 2 0 2.03 0 1 0 24 22 0.917
Joacim Eriksson 27 1548:37:00 67 0 2.6 14 7 4 726 659 0.908

Jacob Markstrom is back to being the number 1 goalie in all of the AHL in terms of save percentage while Joacim Eriksson has dropped below average (0.913) thanks to his rough outing on Monday. 

Transactions

  • Alex Biega was recalled to Vancouver for his first NHL stint where he has been posting good possession numbers and even scored a goal.
  • Bobby Sanguinetti has been recalled to Vancouver.
  • Jeremie Blain has been recalled from Kalamazoo and assigned to Utica

Schedule

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Reasonable schedule coming up this week.  3 games is about average though the Comets have to play a back-to-back which is built in schedule loss – at least they will be playing at home.  All three games are against weaker teams though the Comets have a losing record against Albany and Hamilton (in a small sample size).

News

  • RandomScrub

    I see my man Gaunce continues to be productive from his perch in Utica’s bottom six. I’ve always felt optimistic about his chance to become an NHL regular. He has an NHL body and scores from Garbageland.

    It’s also good to see his improving point totals aren’t driven by an unreasonably high SH%. It looks like there is still lot’s of opportunity for progression instead of regression.

    I think he has future 3C written all over him as long as his skating is on par with NHL norms.

    • Larionov18

      I stream a lot games. I streamed last nights and watched the Canucks game on mute. i expected a stinker. You hear Pedan’s and Gaunce’s name a lot. I sometime’s wonder if Hunter and Jensen are even in the game with how little their name is spoken. I look forward to Pedan being a Canuck one day. Nasty piece of work.

      • Larionov18

        Hunter should get a pass coming back from missing a year and jumping up in competition.

        Jensen always had the same impression on me. Anytime he was with the Canucks, save the few games last year with the twins, his name just was never called. He is never around the puck, which to me means he is a floater waiting for something to happen, not driving the play. No PF here

    • Larionov18

      If he was a better skater then he’d be in line to be our future second line centre. He has a lot of upside but the foot speed…ugh. I am a fan and hope to see that improve.

      I like how they’re easing the newer players into pro-hockey. I’m a fan of that form of development.

      Also, I do like Benning but I am still scratching my head over the contract he gave Ryan Miller and picking up McMillan off waivers. We have some bright spots on Utica that should’ve gotten the call.

      • andyg

        “picking up McMillan”

        We can’t continue to pull players from Utica without having someone to replace them with.

        I just noticed that Jensen has an X by his name on Utica roster sheet. I cannot find anything saying that he was called up.

        Jensen has been recalled.

        • Larionov18

          I don’t get what you’re getting at? McMillan has to clear waivers to get to the AHL and he has some screwy salary clause where he makes a good chunk of change at the AHL level. So, it makes no sense to have picked him up for the Comets. If we recall someone from Utica then that player should be replaced by someone from Kalamazoo. Also, the Comets roster is larger as AHL teams are allowed to keep much larger rosters than an NHL team.

          Burr is out so I guess they need a skill guy and Jensen fits the bill (although I’d like to see Grenier and DeFazio get opportunities as well).

          Kassian might be in the dog house yet again but I am hoping McMillan sits next game. Mc was invisible last game and in his debut game.

      • Larionov18

        The beat writer for the Comets was on the team radio last week. He said Gaunce has really been skating a lot faster. Said he flies by some guys. hope he is right.

  • Fred-65

    One of the key factors I understand management look for in a prospect is his ability to continue to get better ie he’s not at the top of his game yet. If that’s the case Gaunce has to be pretty high on the “most likely to succeed list”

    • andyg

      I was wondering the same thing.

      Me thinks there may some rose-coloured reporting done on him by people who want to believe he looks good despite the low minutes.

      From the chart above, he looks more like he’s on the 2nd line, not the 4th.

  • Larionov18

    Vancouver, B.C. – Vancouver Canucks General Manager Jim Benning announced today that the Canucks have recalled forward Nicklas Jensen from the AHL Utica Comets.
    Jensen, 21, has appeared in five games with the Canucks this season and collected 20 points (10-10-20) in 38 games played with the Comets. The Herning, Denmark native has played 24 career NHL games, recording six points (3-3-6) and 10 penalty minutes.
    The 6’3”, 202 pound forward was originally drafted by the Vancouver Canucks in the first round, 29th overall at the 2011 NHL Entry Draft.

    Must mean burrows is out for awhile or a trade is eminent