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Photo Credit: Andy Camp

Utica Comets Sign Goaltender Alex Sakellaropoulos To PTO

Comets Sign Sakellaropoulos To PTO

The Vancouver Canucks waived the newly acquired Mike McKenna yesterday with the intention of having him finish up the season in Utica so that they could graduate Thatcher Demko to the big club.

Those plans were dashed by the Philadelphia Flyers this morning when they claimed the veteran netminder from the freebie pile.

Yes, folks, I tweeted out the word “seasrch” today…

With McKenna being claimed and Demko already on his way to Vancouver to take over the backup duties, the Comets found themselves with naught more than Ivan Kulbakov at the ready for this weekend’s schedule of games.

Finding players at a moment’s notice is nothing new to the Comets as they signed a bevy of players to PTO, (professional tryout offer) deals last season. Well, the club went back to the PTO well again, if only as a temporary measure to get through a few games until the Canucks can acquire another goaltender with an NHL contract, or sign another that they can call upon if Jacob Markstrom or Demko get injured.

Welcome to the newest Comets PTO netminder, Alex Sakellaropoulos. Sakallaropoulos has one heck of a name to type and I’d imagine that his nameplate goes nearly elbow to elbow on the back on his jersey.

Sakellaropoulos played in the NCAA for four seasons with Union College before graduating to the pro ranks last season. He was well travelled last year as well, suiting up for the Quad City Mallards, Indy Fuel, Jacksonville IceMen, Cincinnati Cyclones, and Worcester Railers in the ECHL last year, along with a brief stint with the Pensacola Ice Flyers of the SPHL.

This season, he has suited up in 18 games with the Adirondack Thunder of the ECHL, posting a 2.46 goals-against average to go along with a save percentage of 0.919%.

The 24-year-old native of Tinley Park Illinois stands six-foot-three inches tall and tips the scales at 205 lbs, according to Elite Prospects. 

I would expect that we will see Sakellaropoulos backing up Kulbakov for both of this weekend’s games and possibly next week’s game on Wednesday as well while the Canucks try to find their next Mike McKenna.

The Comets are back in action on Saturday, January 5th when they hit the road to Cleveland for the first of back-to-back early games against the Monsters.

  • Hmm, bit of a gong show for Utica who were seemingly turning the corner again imo Cory. Losing a respected vet like Archie, losing a replacement goalie for Demko to the waiver wire, and Juolevi/Bachman gone for the season, it’s gotten real messy man.

    I thought the plan was to create a credible pipeline/winning environment in Utica like Toronto and Wilkes/Pittsburgh have done and Buffalo are doing in Rochester. These recent moves seem to go totally against that philosophy… bet the Comets fanbase aren’t happy about it, or Trent Cull and co for that matter…

    • Demko getting call up after stellar development and in Utica for a couple seasons. That the definition of a credible pipe line. Perhaps you do not follow the AHL, but Toronto is lost both its AHL goalies to waivers at the start of the season, and Sparks backing up Anderson. They paid a 5th round draft pick to Floriday for an an AHL/ goalie that the Canucks will face tomorrow.

      Utica just beat Rochester and the Syracuse last week. In one breath it is too many vets, in the next it is how can you trade the vets.

    • Oops — wrong button … oh well, point kinda made.

      Anyway — to Cory … after spelling the new goalie’s name correctly ten times you’re forgiven for spelling ‘search’ wrong once! We all make mistakes and no one is holding you to a higher standard … appreciate the Comets coverage and insight. If you dig up some stats on this guy’s play that would be great.

      Happy New Year!

  • I think McKennan was very surprised he was picked up. 35 years old and wasn’t called up when Anderson went down. He is totally in the next few games. Goalers will get some try-outs. This really was not about putting McKenna in the pipeline. Utica needs to see what Cebulka (sic)(not gonna look) has and their are plenty of pylons available to play the position on the street. It is sad that the AHL has age limits on goalies. I understand on others.

  • Trainwreck management just to save face. Demko is being called up way too early after returning from a serious concussion, just to warm the bench in Van.

    Terrible way to run a franchise when the Comets should be focused on making the Calder Cup playoffs with Thatcher.

    • This isn’t too early to call up Demko. With Canucks schedule in January he will get in some good practice with Ian Clarke and probably a game or two. When the schedule gets busier in February and March he will be ready for the other 8 – 12 games he will get this year. I can’t wait to see how his audition for next years back up role goes.

      • Yeah it is too early. The kid is still getting his game back on track after a lengthy concussion and has only played 16 games in Utica this season and ONE career game in the NHL.

        Demko is a confidence guy who easily gets down on himself. A less than stellar .91 save % in the A tells us he is not ready for the show and the whole situation is another mis-handeld disaster for the franchise, especially Utica, who he should be pushing for the playoffs with and learning how to win. Instead, the whole changeover has been bungled just to sell more false hope and tickets to the Vancouver fanbase.

        See how Matt Murray was managed by the Pens to find out how it should be done.

        • Matt Murray? Yes, he does have 2 Cups, but he’s 24 years old, injured often, and his GAA is getting worse every year. Also, the Pens called him up when he was 21, so not really sure what your point is here.

          • Point is I’m talking about how the Pens diligently let Murray excel in the AHL first where he set all kinds of records in Wilkes/Barrie and swept the board at the AHL awards as a rookie *before* calling him up to the big club. We all know what happened next but the bottom line is Murray proved he was ready and he was. Demko is not after just 16 games this season.

            Smacks of desperation to sell tickets, hype the fanbase and make Benning feel better about the pick. Terrible asset management again.

          • PQW … dropping two users on the same thread. Don’t ever change.
            Did your boy make it back to Portland okay?

        • Demko has a .911 save % with 16 games played this year plus an additional 91 games in the AHL over the last two years. The concussion sucked and delayed his call up which would have happened in November when Nilsson was injured. This kid is ready and needs nhl games to help him get to the next level. I feel pretty confident that this is going to work out well for the young man