The Comets Roster Series Part 4: Meet Your 2016-17 Utica Comets

Comets Bench

Photo credit: Lindsay A. Mogle / Utica Comets

After making one final roster move and waiting to see what became of Emerson Etem, the Utica Comets announced their 2016-17 opening roster on Thursday. The roster contains 16 forwards, eight defencemen and two goaltenders, for a total of 26 players.

Read on to check out the official opening roster for the new Comets season, which kicks off tomorrow.

Training Camp and Preseason

The Comets opened their training camp on October 3rd. Just as the Canucks were missing many of their best players because of the World Cup, the Comets were missing many of their best players because they were at Canucks training camp. They slowly trickled in as October rolled on, and they maxed out at a bit over 30 players.

They played two exhibition games, both against their eternal rivals, the Syracuse Crunch, both resulting in losses. Utica managed just two goals across the two games, each with just a single assist attached, resulting in some pretty uninspiring point totals across the board.

Neither of the games were broadcast, and nobody seemed to be at the first one, so I’m not even sure who played in it, other than the goalies and the players who picked up points (Jordan Subban scored a goal – take that Troy Stecher!).

The second game was a home game at the AUD, and thus received plenty more attention. We even have the lines for that one.

And you thought NHL preseason games were spreading the talent thin. Many of the Comets players that stayed latter in Canucks camp took the night off, including Andrey Pedan, Michael Chaput, Jayson Megna, and Joe LaBate.

Point Leaders

This is kind of sad, but here we are:

Player Goals Assists Points
Jordan Subban 1 1 2
Derek Hulak 1 0 1
Cole Cassels 0 1 1


Player TOI SA GA Sv %
Thatcher Demko 80:00 39 4 .897
Michael Garteig 20:00 12 0 1.000
Kevin Carr 20:00 12 0 1.000

Following the games, the Comets released Alexis D’Aoust from his PTO, and assigned Michael Garteig to the Alaska Aces of the ECHL. There he’ll join a handful of other cuts from camp, including Mackenze Stewart, Danny Moynihan, Travis Ewanyk, Stephen Perfetto and Kevin Carr.

The Final Roster

Without further ado, here is the opening roster:

2016-17 Utica Comets Opening Roster by Jersey Number

Comets Opening Roster Numbers 2016-17

Here’s a look at the Comets’ depth chart by position, and where the players have come from.

Comets Roster Sources

The Comets have added considerably more AHL veterans this year than they did last year, and fewer rookies. Their two CHL rookies were off season signings, while their two NCAA rookies are among their highest pedigreed prospects.

In terms of veterans, the Comets will start with four players with Veteran Exempt status and one with full Veteran status, meaning that there are no worries at this point about having sit any older players. For a 24-hour period it looked like Emerson Etem would be joining the group, which would have brought them to the six veteran limit, but he was instead claimed on waivers by Anaheim. The Canucks have at least one open spot on the farm now to dump a player if they want to bury a contract or someone isn’t working out.

Veteran Lists 2016-17 1

Potential Production and Line Combinations

Using NHLe translation factors, I’ve measured all of the forwards and defencemen by a metric we’ll call AHLe (which is really just the same thing but it estimates points over a 76 game AHL season) using the points each player scored last season in whatever league they were in. This should give us an indication of how they stack up against each other (fair warning though, I’d wager that the QMJHL players are being overrated by this metric).

Comets 2016-17 AHLe (Forwards)

Comets 2016-17 AHLe (Defence)

That gives us an idea of where the strengths and weaknesses are in this lineup, so we can start playing around with combination (even though that’s kind of pointless, since the first game is tomorrow).

It’s always a bit risky to be guessing AHL lineup combinations at this point, especially with a Travis Green coached team – he loves to switch things up. Last year I took a crack at this too and ended up being way off, but I’m another year wiser and think I know him a little better. Anyways, here are some totally unsubstantiated potential lineup combinations:

Comets 2016-17 Potential Lines

I mentioned recently that Travis Green intended to assign the captaincy to someone new now that Alex Biega has made the Canucks out of camp. Even though he said there was no time line, it only took two days, and to no surprise, Carter Bancks was named captain earlier today.

Bancks has been with the team since the 2014-15 season, and came into his own last season as an AHL contributor, scoring 39 points – while being the only Comets to play all 76 games – more than doubling his point total from the previous year. He saw plenty of time up the lineup and on the power play as the Comets and Canucks were both decimated by injuries, and helped lead them to a playoff berth despite being laughably short handed for much of the season.

Lastly, some good news for anyone who’s interesting in the weekly reports: I have AHL Live this year! Last year I rolled with Hockey Streams until it went dark and then scrambled to find streams on various shady websites, working in radio feeds, condensed games and the like to maximize my Comets exposure. This season will be far less work, and far easier, so that’s a win.

The season officially gets under way tomorrow morning at 10am against the dreaded (though much less so than last year) Toronto Marlies. Go Comets!

  • chinook

    Thanks for the good work, Jeremy. I had wondered at the status of Roy as he didn’t appear on the original roster (it listed as a 25-man roster) so that mystery is solved.

    Not the flashiest looking team but, as always, I look forward to seeing the cream starting to rise to the top (what there may be of it).

    Also liked your graphics, easy to follow with to the point info. As an aside, having AHL live is probably going to be a massive time-saver (try not to fill all the hours you save with work).