The Utica Comets announced their opening night roster for the 2018/19 season this morning, ahead of their first game of the season on Friday against the defending Calder Cup champion Toronto Marlies.
Comets announce opening night roster.
— Utica Comets (@UticaComets) October 4, 2018
The club will begin their season with 29 players on the roster, while Yan-Pavel Laplante and Thatcher Demko begin the season injured and unable to play. Demko is going through concussion protocol according to the team after getting dinged up while with the parent Canucks. Laplante missed most of last year with an injury and will not be ready to start the season.
The Comets have moved on from some of last season’s key players as Michael Chaput, Patrick Wiercioch, Nikolay Goldobin, (in Vancouver) and Cole Cassels are all gone from the Comets’ top-ten scorers list from last year. Losing those players means that the team will have to replace the 136 points that just walked out the door. The good news is that the team should have a younger, faster, more skilled group than what we saw last season.
You can mix and match the lineup any way that you like. I’m sure that Trent Cull and his staff will shuffle up the lines a bit until the players build some chemistry, but the following is the roster of players that the team will have to work with to start the season.
- 54 Jonathan Dahlen – 10 Tanner Kero – 24 Reid Boucher (A)*
- 25 Darren Archibald (A)* – 17 Adam Gaudette – 15 Zack MacEwen
- 52 Petrus Palmu – 19 Tanner MacMaster – 9 Lukas Jasek
- 34 Carter Bancks (C) – 16 Brendan Gaunce – 58 Michael Carcone
- 22 Jonah Gadjovich – 36 Wacey Hamilton (A)* – 13 Kole Lind
- 18 Vincent Arseneau – 11 Cam Darcy – 21 Brendan Woods
- 48 Olli Juolevi – 5 Jalen Chatfield
- 6 Ashton Sautner – 55 Guillaume Brisebois
- 2 Evan McEneny – 26 Jaime Sifers (A)*
- 3 Jagger Dirk – 8 Dylan Blujus
- 64 Jesse Graham
- 32 Richard Bachman
- 31 Ivan Kulbakov
In the table above, I have Carter Bancks listed as the captain of the team as that was announced this week. I also have Darren Archibald, Wacey Hamilton, Reid Boucher, and Jaime Sifers rotating as alternate captains, though that is just my hunch as to how the “A” situation will play out.
Ben Birnell of the Utica Observer-Dispatch has reported that Wacey Hamilton is banged up and is not expected to play in either game this weekend. It is my personal opinion that Hamilton’s status might be the reason why Vincent Arseneau is sticking around in Utica rather than heading to the Kalamazoo Wings of the ECHL. Arseneau makes sense as a call up player, but with Darren Archibald, Jonah Gadjovich, Zack MacEwen and Brendan Woods already on the roster and able to bring a similar physical game, as well as being able to play a more well rounded game, I have a tough time seeing Arseneau beating out any of them for a regular shift.
Trent Cull and his staff will have options at the ready, depending on the style of game that they need to play. They have players with speed and skill as well as those who can bring a heavy game if needed. They even have a few who bring both elements at the same time. There may be some early growing pains as the younger players try to get their feet under them at the pro level, but this team should be exciting to watch.
Fans will need to show a little bit of patience if the younger players that they want to watch have to wait their turn to get into the lineup. Injuries and call ups will happen and those players who were sitting will need to step up and take advantage of their opportunity. Zack MacEwen, Guillaume Brisebois, and Jalen Chatfield all ended up benefitting from taking advantage of their opportunities that the saw early last season, and were rewarded by the coaching staff for their efforts with more ice time and responsibility.
The Comets open their season at home on Friday, October 5th at 7:00 pm Eastern/4:00 pm Pacific against the Toronto Marlies. CanucksArmy will have your post-game report following the contest.