The Utica Comets regular season roster is beginning to take shape ahead of their opening night tilt against the champion Toronto Marlies on Friday night. The club has already received Adam Gaudette, Olli Juolevi, and Brendan Gaunce from the parent Vancouver Canucks.
Today, we found out that Darren Archibald and Sam Gagner could also be added to the mix soon, should both men clear waivers and not end up traded before landing in Utica.
Having that many bodies coming in, and a crowded roster already in place, the Comets announced that they were sending a trio of players to the Kalamazoo Wings while releasing a few more from their PTO deals with the club.
Comets reduce preseason roster.
— Utica Comets (@UticaComets) October 1, 2018
Forwards, Brendan Bradley, Kyle Thomas, and Reid Gardiner were all brought in on AHL deals this offseason as depth players for the Comets. I expected all three to end up in Kalamazoo as Ryan Johnson has gone on record this summer as saying that he wanted to have players at the ready who could be called up. He wanted those players to know the systems and the culture of being a Comets player.
I wrote a brief piece on each player at the time of their signings.
I can kind of see that trio possibly making up a good portion of the top line in Kalamazoo, but in fairness, I am not overly familiar with the rest of their roster. Of the three, I have had more viewings of Reid Gardiner. I thought that he acquitted himself well at Young Stars this year and that he showed well in camp with the Canucks. He has shown the ability to play both the wing and the middle and also took on some penalty killing duty. I can see Gardiner being a guy that Trent Cull will have some trust in as a call-up.
Forwards, Dyson Stevenson and Jimmy Lodge were released from their try out deals with the Comets, along with defensemen Ben Betker, Tyler Ganly, and goaltender Jake Hildebrand. I expect there to be a few more cuts made in Utica before the regular season opens on Friday…stay tuned.