14
Photo Credit: clevelandmonsters.com

The Utica Comets Sign Goaltender Ivan Kulbakov To One-Year AHL Deal

It appears that the Utica Comets have found their replacement for Michael Garteig. Ivan Kulbakov’s agent sent out a tweet to let people know that his client has signed a one-year AHL pact with the Comets.

Kulbakov is a 21-year-old undrafted goaltender out of Belarus who stands six-feet tall and weighs 183lbs. He spent the 2016/17 season in the USHL with the Youngstown Phantoms, getting into 52 games and posting a 1.92 goals-against average and a 0.902 save percentage.

He followed up that very good season by signing a one-year AHL deal with the Cleveland Monsters of the AHL where he only managed to get into eight games. During those eight games, he put up underwhelming numbers with a goals-against average of 3.99 and a save percentage of 0.861.

The rest of his season was spent with the Quad City Mallards of the ECHL where he got into 22 games and posted a slightly better 3.63 goals-against average and 0.902 save percentage.

The parent Vancouver Canucks have had a pretty solid track record when acquiring players out of the USHL. I am unclear at this point if they had any input on this move, but I am going to assume there would have been some communication on the player.

If that is indeed the case, it is possible that the club sees Kulbakov as more than a one-year stopgap player and possibly as somewhat of a project with untapped potential. At just 21-years-old, he is young enough to be worth putting a little time into.

I was expecting the team to add a third goaltender this offseason and now that they have that position under control, I wouldn’t be surprised to see another defenceman or two added to the fold as well.

  • rediiis

    This is definitely a need signing and I like it. That being said, this kid needs 5-7 years and probably will still be blocked. If he does great, then that is a free asset to trade.

    • Cory Hergott

      He is a project and someone who can be called up if one of Demko/Bachman gets banged up or if Thatcher gets called up. Garteig didn’t get a minute of time with the Comets last year, so this is a depth/insurance signing with the outside chance of turning into a saveable piece for the AHL down the road.

  • DJ_44

    The parent Vancouver Canucks have had a pretty solid track record when acquiring players out of the USHL. I am unclear at this point if they had any input on this move, but I am going to assume there would have been some communication on the player.

    Ian Clark, the new Canucks goalie coach, was the former CBJ goalie coach. Cleveland is CBJs AHL affiliate. Pretty sure he would know and recommend the kid.

  • rediiis

    A coach from Hockey East asked me when Demko was drafted. “When do you see him in Vancouver?” I said, 5 years. He is on track. Do they push him to the big club this year? It really depends on his summer training, he doesn’t have much above him. This would really help DiPietro move up. Win, win, win. I really wanted Markstrom moved this off-season, nobody mentions this.

  • Rodeobill

    wait, did I miss something? What happened to Garteig? Did we trade him? Not renew his contract? This news must have been the one day I didn’t check this site.