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Photo Credit: Cory Hergott

Plenty Of Utica Comets Roster Moves During Slower Than Normal Week

Comets Roster Update

It hasn’t been a busy week as far as games go for the Utica Comets, but thanks to a couple of injuries in Vancouver, the farm team has been busy making roster adjustments for the upcoming games against Laval this weekend.

With Alex Biega, Guillaume Brisebois, and Adam Gaudette all up with the Canucks already, Darren Archibald, Brendan Gaunce, and Richard Bachman have all been summoned this week as well. Jagger Dirk was also returned to the Kalamazoo Wings of the ECHL after making a one-game Comets debut on Friday.

The Comets currently have Reid Boucher and Kole Lind out with injuries, although it sounds like they could have Jalen Chatfield, Ashton Sautner, and maybe even Wacey Hamilton ready to go for this weekend. Even with those players back, the Comets would be pretty thin up front. As such, the club has recalled forward, Reid Gardiner from Kalamazoo.

The Comets signed Gardiner to a one-year AHL deal this offseason for just this purpose. In six games this season, Gardiner has put up two goals and three assists, to give himself five points. Trent Cull was giving Gardiner some looks in the middle during camp/preseason, as well as some special teams work, so this is likely a player that the coach has a decent feel for as he comes in.

With Richard Bachman up in Vancouver and Thatcher Demko still going through concussion protocol, the Comets also needed to find a goaltender to back up Ivan Kulbakov and possibly get into a game or two.

They found their man in Connor LaCouvee. The six-foot-one, 201 pound native of Qualicum Beach BC had been playing his first year of pro hockey with the Maine Mariners of the ECHL, playing 140  minutes and posting a goals-against average of 0.929 and a 2.57 save percentage. LaCouvee just wrapped up a four-year NCAA career split between Boston University and Minnesota State, posting some nice numbers. The Comets have signed the netminder to a PTO, (professional tryout) deal.

So, what does this leave for the coaching staff to work with, in Utica? Well, it I think it still leaves them with some solid special teams and a young lineup that may be fun to watch, even if they make a few mistakes along the way.

Lineup Option One

Dahlen – Kero – MacEwen

MacMaster – Darcy – Jasek

Palmu – Bancks – Carcone

Gadjovich – Woods – Gardiner

Juolevi – Chatfield

Sautner – Blujus

McEneny – Sifers

Kulbakov

The coaching staff will have plenty of options to choose from, but I will only look at a couple of them for this exercise. Option One, above, leaves the injured Boucher and Lind out of the lineup, along with Vincent Arseneau, Wacey Hamilton and Jesse Graham.

This option would give the coaching staff two scoring lines and two defensive lines that could provide secondary offence at five-on-five, as well as some decent special teams.

Power Play One

Dahlen – Kero – MacEwen

Juolevi – MacMaster

Power Play Two

Palmu – Darcy – Jasek

McEneny – Carcone

Jonah Gadjovich could rotate into that second unit as a net-front guy as well. Trent Cull has used him in that spot fairly regularly when he has been in the lineup.

Penalty Kill One

Bancks – Gadjovich

Sautner – Chatfield

Penalty Kill Two

Woods – MacEwen

Juolevi – Sifers

Penalty Kill Three

Kero – Darcy

McEneny – Blujus

Now, if I put my think like a coach hat on, I get a roster that looks more like this…

Lineup Option Two

Dahlen – Kero – MacEwen

MacMaster – Darcy – Carcone

Palmu – Bancks – Jasek

Gadjovich – Woods – Hamilton

Juolevi – Chatfield

Sautner – Blujus

McEneny – Sifers

Kulbakov

In this instance, the power play would remain the same, but the penalty killing units would be a little different up front.

Penalty Kill One

Woods – Bancks

Sautner – Chatfield

Penalty Kill Two 

Hamilton – Gadjovich

McEneny – Sifers

Penalty Kill Three

Kero – MacEwen

Juolevi – Chatfield

As mentioned above, there are many different ways that the club can go this weekend in terms of roster alignment. Most, if not all of the young prospects should be getting some decent minutes and some special teams work. This is the time for these young players to really dig in and show what they have and make the coaching staff take notice every chance they get.

The Comets are back in action on Friday, November 2nd at 7:30 Eastern/4:30 Pacific when they hoit the road for back to back games in Laval against Alex Burrows and the Rocket.