Photo Credit: Jenae Anderson

Utica Comets Add Depth Down The Middle, Signing Carter Camper To One-Year AHL Deal

Comets Sign Carter Camper

The offseason moves continue for the Utica Comets as the team reshapes its roster for the  2019/20 season. Today the team has announced the signing of center/RW Carter Camper to a one-year AHL pact.

The Comets have seen a couple of their players from last season sign on with new clubs already this offseason as Brendan Gaunce has signed with the Boston Bruins organization, while Cam Darcy has jumped ship to San Antonio of the AHL. Former number-one pivot Tanner Kero has hooked up with the Dallas Stars. All three forwards will be missed by the Comets as they all saw time on both special teams and were relied upon by the coaching staff.

So, what do the Comets get in Carter Camper?

The five-foot-nine-inch, 176-pound center/right-winger hails from Rocky River Ohio will turn 30-years-old in July. He is a veteran of 510 AHL games split between Providence, Springfield, Binghamton, Hershey, Albany, Cleveland, Tuscon, and Grand Rapids. Yes, the man has been around.

During those 510 games, Camper has picked up 104 goals and 276 helpers to give himself 380 points, good enough for 0.75 points per game. He has also picked up one goal in his three games of NHL action with the Boston Bruins back in the 2011/12 season.

I am hoping that we see the coaching staff use Camper in the middle where he would join newcomer Tyler Graovac, Wacey Hamilton, and likely Adam Gaudette as the team’s four pivots. I’d like to see the Canucks add another depth center as well, but time will tell if that happens. I also would not be surprised if the team brings Brendan Woods back on an AHL deal again.

The Comets now have Bancks, Hamilton, Graovac, and Camper who will count against their veteran limit as per AHL rules. A player is considered a veteran if he has played in 320 or more upper-level professional games. If/when Reid Boucher signs his new deal, (he is a restricted free agent who has been qualified by the Canucks) he will also count against the vet limit. As would newcomer Oscar Fantenberg or Alex Biega if either were to be waived and assigned to the Comets. AHL teams can only dress up to five players in a game who fit under the veteran umbrella.

Utica went into last season with 15 players signed to AHL deals and are now up to seven with forwards Wacey Hamilton, Carter Bancks, Seamus Malone, Carter Camper, and Vincent Arseneau, along with defenders Stefan LeBlanc and Dylan Blujus. I would expect to see a couple more players added on AHL deals, but maybe not quite as many as we saw last year.

This signing comes on the heels of the parent club bringing in center Tyler Graovac, defender Oscar Fantenberg, and goaltender Zane McIntyre on the opening day of free agency. I can see Graovac and McIntyre landing with the Comets, but I’m not quite as certain when it comes to Fantenberg. One of Fantenberg, Biega, or Sautner will likely be hitting waivers in order to get them to Utica out of training camp. We could see two of the three if the Canucks elect to keep seven defenders and 14 forwards rather then the eight D/13F that they’ve carried since Jim Benning took over the club.

Stay tuned as the offseason moves continue. I will have the moves that affect the Comets covered.