Canucks make Roster Moves And Comets Will See Some Changes

Canucks Trade Anders Nilsson and Darren Archibald

The Vancouver Canucks pulled off a trade today that might look like a minor move to fans of the parent club, but this one will shake the Utica Comets to their core as they will be losing their longest-serving member of the team and the man who has become known as The Mayor in Utica. They will also soon be losing their shining star, and number one goaltender, Thatcher Demko, but we will get to him in a moment.

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First, the details of the trade.

There was no salary retention from either team in this deal, so it is a swap of four players and a sixth-round pick in the upcoming draft.

The Sens have already announced that Archibald will report to their farm club in Belleville, who just happens to be a division rival of the Comets. The Canucks have also announced that Tom Pyatt will report to the Comets.

The Comets will miss everything that Archibald brings to the room as a veteran leader, but they will miss his all-situations play and his ability to turn a game on its ear with a bone-crushing hit or a well-timed goal as well. Archibald was Mr. Everything for the Comets and a fantastic example of what hard work and determination to improve your game can do for your career.

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Archibald went from being an undrafted player to clawing his way up from the ECHL to end up playing NHL games. That is the kind of player that you want your young kids to learn from, especially those who have warts in their game that need work. Archibald showed them what can happen when the work is put in.

The other player that the Comets will be losing will be Thatcher Demko. Jim Benning said in his presser today that it was time to give Thatcher a look and that he would be summoned to Vancouver shortly. We also found out that veteran netminder Richard Bachman’s season is done with an Achilles’ injury. Those are tough to bounce back from, so Mike McKenna, when he gets to Utica, could be auditioning for work beyond this season with the club as well.

Of course, McKenna will have to clear waivers to get to Utica in the first place, but we will cross that bridge next week when that move is expected to come. Pyatt will not have to clear waivers as he did so already this morning. That allows the Canucks to assign him directly to Utica.

The Comets are losing a big piece with the trade of Archibald, but the player that they will be bringing in will be able to help them as well. Tom Pyatt has been able to hold down an NHL job for a number of years and can bring something that Archibald couldn’t, he can play the middle if the coaching staff elects to use him there. That is kind of huge for the Comets, who were not exactly swimming with pivots until Adam Gaudette was assigned to the club and of course, this trade was made.

Pyatt can kill penalties, always a welcomed addition to a coaching staff, and he can also put up points for the club. He is a free agent at the end of the season, just like Archibald. McKenna will also be a free agent when the season comes to a close.

Trent Cull now finds himself with a whole new issue in front of him. Removing Darren Archibald will clear up space on the wings to maybe give more ice time to a younger player, but now the coach might have to decide between his veteran AHL players who currently make up a good portion of their depth down the middle. Cam Darcy, the recently returned Wacey Hamilton, and the injured Brendan Woods all play the middle and one or more of them could see their role reduced with the arrival of Pyatt.

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Alternatively, Cull could elect to play one or more of those players on the wing and push a younger player out again. One thing is for sure, there will be more options available to the coaching staff up front.

There will also be one more body available on the backend, though we are unclear yet as to why this move was required, outside of adding depth. The Comets announced the signing of defenceman Craig Wyszomirski to a PTO, (professional tryout offer) today, adding another left shot defender to the backend. Wyszomirski is a towering presence at six-foot-four and 220lbs. It could be that another defender is dinged up for the Comets, but we will have to wait closer to game time to find out.

Don’t be surprised to see more moves coming from the Canucks as there has been word that the club could be trying to find a new home for Nikolay Goldobin. Keep in mind that Brandon Sutter will be coming back from his injury very soon, forcing another move by the Canucks to get down to proper roster numbers. They have nobody on the NHL roster outside of Brock Boeser and Elias Pettersson who do not require waivers, so it will either be a trade or someone else will be hitting waivers next week along with McKenna.

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  • Kootenaydude

    Well I sure hope they get more than a bag of pucks for Goldobin and I really hope they don’t trade him so they can make a big playoff push. The kid is a pretty good playmaker, butttt not so good on defence.

    • Beer Can Boyd

      Unfortunately, he’s had his chance, and came up short at the NHL level. Green gave him every opportunity to be on the Canucks 4th line, but he’s simply a step too slow for the big leagues. Hopefully the Canucks will re-sign him after this season, and he can finish his career in Utica.

  • Kneedroptalbot

    I would not trade Goldobin, he is a slick passer and works well on the PP. Look at his points total, he’s good now and will only get better. Keep Goldie.

  • Kanuckhotep

    As a GM give Benning credit for addressing not only concerns for the big club but for their farm club as well. This shows zeal on mgmt’s part for at least trying to create some harmony through out the organization for making all facets better.

    • tyhee

      The problem is, the addition of another center isn’t timed so as to help the Comets.

      Earlier in the season, they had Hamilton on the IRL, Gaudette in the NHL and Gaunce playing wing, so they were woefully weak at center, with only Kero (a top 6 AHL center), Darcy (a bottom 6 AHL center) and some ECHL level fillins (or grinding defensive winger Carter Bancks filling in as a center.)

      Since then they’ve moved Gaunce to center, where he’s doing well. Gaudette has been returned from the Canucks and Hamilton is now ready to go. The Canucks now suddenly have 5 AHL centers in Kero (top 6,) Gaunce (top 6,) Gaudette (top 6,) Hamilton and Darcy. They may well be moving Gaunce back to wing in order to play them all, as Darcy probably rates among their best 12 forwards.

      Adding another center isn’t important any more. Losing Archibald’s toughness is very likely to hurt. Losing Demko and replacing him with McKenna rates to hurt. This trade opens up space for Demko in the NHL, but it makes the Comets worse, not better. This is not a trade where the intention or result is to look out for or help the minor league affiliate. The sole purpose is to open a spot for Demko.

      • truthseeker

        which is fine. I like Utica and appreciate the fan base, but Benning’s job is to build the canucks and if that means Utica has to suffer then so be it.

        • tyhee

          I think you missed that I was replying to Kanuckhotep who wrote:

          “As a GM give Benning credit for addressing not only concerns for the big club but for their farm club as well. This shows zeal on mgmt’s part for at least trying to create some harmony through out the organization for making all facets better.”

          My point wasn’t to cheer or condemn the trade, merely to disagree with his statement as the trade wasn’t in any way intended for the Comets, nor would it make them better.