12/31/19 – Utica Comets vs. Rochester Americans

Happy New Years Canucks Nation,

It’s time to round out a whirlwind 2019 with a recap of the Utica Comets final home-game of the decade. Tonight the farm takes on the division-leading, Rochester Americans, in a critical matchup between the two major-players of the AHL’s Eastern Conference.

The Americans sit in first place with 44 points in 31 games played, while the Comets sit 2nd in the division with 42 points in 33 games played. A win tonight doesn’t vault them into first, but it does give them the leading edge once Rochester catches up on the games in hand.

Comets are riding a wave of momentum currently, a five-game point streak with additional points coming in seven of their last ten. The Amerks visit the Adirondack bank center off a shutout loss to division-basement-dweller, the Binghamton Devils.

Last season, the Comets closed out 2018 with a 4-3 victory over the Americans, so fingers crossed they can continue this wave of momentum into the New Year, and they cement that place amongst the tops of the AHL’s Eastern-Conference.

Also, once again, my greatest appreciation to all of you in R/canucks and Canucks Nation, who gave my Botchford Project piece a read. It is still genuinely surreal to see something I wrote on a platform as large as the Canucks own site. Just over a year ago, I decided to recap and review the Comets games because I had time to kill and was genuinely interested in how the prospects were faring. Never would have expected to see it take me here. So again, my thanks and appreciation to everyone who’s spread the piece, or shared their support.

Now that the tissues are away and I’ve dried my eyes,

Let’s close out 2019 with a look at the starting lineup!

 

THE STARTING LINEUP

LW C RW
Baertschi (#47) Hamilton (#36) Boucher (#24)
Goldobin (#77) Jasek (#9) Lind (#13)
Sorenson (#74) Bancks (#34) Bailey (#95)
Gadjovich (#21) Malone (#17) Arseneau (#18)

 

LD RD
Brisebois (#55) Rafferty (#25)
Juolevi (#48) Sautner (#6)
Blujus (#8) Chatfield (#5)
G
Zane McIntyre

 

INJURY REPORT
Francis Perron (eye) Dyson Stevenson (fight related)

 

Gadjovich returns to the lineup after missing the last one with a brief illness. Gadj and Arseneau were fantastic on a line together earlier this season. Hopefully, they can pick up where they left off.

 

Healthy Scratches
Richard Bachman Josh Teves Carter Camper Mitch Eliot Stefan LeBlanc

 

Again, I still cannot fucking believe that Carter Camper is getting scratched for Wacey Hamilton’s “Penalty-killing expertise.” Genuinely do not know how Trent Cull can justify Hamilton getting taken out of the lineup. He should consider himself lucky the farm * isn’t* in Abbotsford, or he’d be raked over the coals for such a baffling roster decision.

 

1st period

 

Comets in Blue

 

The score at the end of the 1st period: 1-0 Amerks

 

Well, I guess I shouldn’t find it TOO bizarre that the Comets got outshot by a two-to-one ratio, and gave up the games opening goal off of a lazy backchecking effort. Zane McIntyre once again, being asked by the Utica Comets to stand on his head against a tough Rochester team. Just once, in the previous four games played, have the Comets controlled shot-attempts at 5-on-5. Amazingly, the Comets have split the season-record against the Amerks, thanks to incredible goaltending efforts from McIntyre and Richard Bachman. It would be quite the feat to conclude the 2019 portion of the season with a positive winning percentage against the Rochester Americans by employing the absolutely atrocious rope-a-dope tactic.

 

2nd Period

 

 

The score at the end of the 2nd period: 2-1 Comets

 

All told, an infinitely better effort in the second period from the Comets, as they go on to outshoot the Amerks ten-to-nine. Great effort from the Comets penalty-killers to negate any momentum-generation from the Amerks. Special commendations to Justin Bailey who’s speed proved mighty difficult for the Amerks’ powerplay to deal with during their two brief opportunities.

 

3rd period

 

 

Final Score: 3-2 Utica Comets

 

Scoresheet

Period Team Goalscorer Primary assist helper type
1st ROC Taylor Leier Kevin Porter Casey Mittlestadt 5v5
2nd UTI Brogan Rafferty Jonah Gadjovich Lukas Jasek PPG
2nd UTI Wacey Hamilton Sven Baertschi Reid Boucher 5v5
3rd ROC Taylor Leier Zach Redmond Lawrence Pilut PPG
3rd UTI Justin Bailey Kole Lind Sven Baertschi PPG

 

Takeaways

 

  • Comets record two shots on goal in the third period. Good for a 50% shooting percentage!
  • Goaltending was the difference in tonight’s matchup because the Comets couldn’t generate shot-attempts to save their lives. I say it every game, but I’m curious what the shot-attempt lines will look like for this one. Rochester over 60 minutes, doubled the Comets output. Were it not for McIntyre’s 0.943 save-percentage, or his 2.00 goals-against-average, this one likely could’ve been way worse.
  • McIntyre’s 0.943 save-percentage is his first SV% above 0.910 since November 15th, when he stopped 21 of 23 against Syracuse.
  • Justin Bailey had a fantastic December. Seven goals and five assists in thirteen games played. He, at best, is a career AHL’er, but it’s nice to see him utilize his strengths effectively. November was a brutal stretch where he simply did nothing with his speed. Happy to see him turn it around and become a productive contributor to the Comets penalty kill and powerplay units.
  • Comets now have three players in the top 15 of AHL scoring, with Reid Boucher topping the list for first in the AHL, tied with Drake Batherson of the Belleville Senators. Brogan Rafferty now has a four-point lead on Derrick Pouliot for AHL defenceman scoring, while being tied with Lucas Elvenes for rookie scoring, at 30 points.
  • Glad to see Lukas Jasek being given time on the powerplay unit. Kids’ confidence is likely, completely shot playing off-role as a centerman. Take him off the PK and provide him with powerplay duty to at least give him some scoring confidence because, at 5-on-5, the kid is just not having any luck whatsoever. Amongst forwards, Jasek is second-lowest on the team with a 48GF% — i.e. Jasek’s only earned points (directly contributed) to just 48% of the 33 goals he was on-ice-for. I’ve complained ad nauseam this season about getting Jasek back to his more natural position. It genuinely bothers me that this organization has no problem tossing a year of Jasek’s development into the dumpster because they didn’t satisfy a roster requirement heading into the season.
  • Jalen Chatfield had a solid game despite not ending up on the scoresheet. He was jumping up into the offensive zone quite a bit but was making quick, decisive actions to return to the blue line to defend. Rather than overstaying on the forecheck and allowing his opponents odd-man-rushes the other direction. Outlet passes looked sharp, as did his positioning and gap control. I’d venture to say, Chatfield’s gap control was at its best tonight than it had been in previous efforts. Have to think all that time with the Canucks has taught him a thing or two.
  • Sven Baertschi is probably too good to be playing in the AHL – two assists and was without a doubt, the Comet’s most dangerous player offensively tonight. Tenacious on the forecheck, and was routinely setting up his linemates with crisp passes. Not to mention, Baertschi’s time spent on the powerplay, PK and the waning minutes facing Rochester’s six-man attack. Guy was rock-solid for the Comets tonight, a great display of hard and soft skill. Whatever the fuck that is
  • Wacey Hamilton – 1 goal – 4 shots – 3 minor penalties, one of which directly resulted in a game-tying goal from Rochester. Like I said earlier, I hope Camper is simply injured, and the organization, for whatever reason, hasn’t addressed it because you can’t seriously tell me that Hamilton’s efforts as an elite penalty taker are better than Campers 4 goals and 17 assists.
  • Jonah Gadjovich and his linemates barely saw ice time in the third period due to the sheer number of penalty kills. Still, he, Arseneau, and Malone were easily the team’s most dynamic line throughout that first twenty-minute period. I really liked how his game has looked during limited ice-time. Had a couple moments where he whiffed on golden scoring opportunities, but besides those few and far between, he was aggressive in the offensive zone and creating for his linemates, which is all anyone can ask, really, of their fourth-line.

 

Comets Three Stars

  • Zane McIntyre
  • Sven Baertschi
  • Justin Bailey

 

The Comets Trajectory?

The Comets return January 3rd for a home-tilt against the Springfield Thunderbirds. However, the Comets Harvest will be taking a two-week hiatus, as I head down to Maui with my family for a much-needed vacation!

I hope to find time tracking stats while I’m away, so you can periodically check-in on how the squad is doing, here. I’ve completely overhauled the way Corsi is evaluated, simplified some of the equations, and gone through my data with a fine-toothed comb to ensure everything is A-OK.

Will be sad to miss this Thunderbirds game, as the last one was a complete doozy

First Harvest of the New Year will likely be January 18th, barring any travel difficulties.

Until then, however, I bid Canucks Nation adieu, and I wish you all a very Happy New Year! Drop your resolutions in the comments, and we’ll see how everyone held up during my next recap!

 

If you want more Comets coverage from yours truly, you can now find MORE of my writing at thesinbin.net

12/28/19 – Utica Comets vs. Lehigh Valley Phantoms

What’s up Canucks Nation, time for a quick turnaround as the Comets hit the road to take on the Atlantic Divisions, last-place, Lehigh Valley Phantoms.

The Phantoms are coming off back-to-back 4-2 losses to division rivals, the Charlotte Checkers, and Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins.

The Phantoms play incredibly dull hockey, having racked up the league’s lowest goals-for in 31 games played, with 73 total. Good for 2.35 goals per game. They’ve also allowed the 11th fewest goals in the league with 87. But with a powerplay and penalty kill that ranks in the bottom-four in both departments, it’s safe to say that the Phantoms haven’t quite figured out a way to make boring hockey work for them.

On the complete opposite end of the spectrum sit out Utica Comets, who rank 3rd in the AHL in goals-for per-game, with a staggering 117 goals scored across 32 games played. A rate that works out to 3.66 goals-for per game for the Farm. As for special teams, the Comets have the 4th ranked powerplay in the league, and the 15th ranked penalty-kill in the league.

At one point, the Comets penalty-kill was tops in the AHL, but losing PK staples such as Olli Juolevi and Jalen Chatfield for extended periods has hurt their place in the special-teams standings.

In theory, the Comets should come out of tonight’s intra-conference matchup with two points. The Phantoms have had an atrocious season, and the Utica Comets have proved that they can hang with the best in the league, even when down by three-goals after the opening period.

I posit, “In Theory,” because this is the same Comets team that blew a double-header a few weeks ago to division bottom-feeders, the Binghamton Devils and Bridgeport Sound Tigers.

During this December stretch, the farm has done admirably at picking up points, but they have rarely been games where they’ve thoroughly dominated their opponents at 5-on-5. By my tracking estimates, just three times this month have the Comets controlled shot-attempts at even-strength.

Last night’s comeback attempt against Hershey was a great “character building” effort. More importantly, the game was a fantastic sign of the compete level of this team when up against the wall. At times this season, the Comets have looked incredibly lethargic or appeared to be skating-by on the goal-scoring and play-driving abilities of their Quad-A all-stars that litter throughout the lineup.

After the first-line got shutdown so thoroughly by the Bears, it took a spectacular performance from Justin Bailey and the bottom-six contingent to make that comeback happen. Although the result didn’t go their way, hopefully, it was a confidence builder, and the squad can earn a couple more points in the second last game of 2019 against a relatively weak opponent.

Some pretty crazy line rushes during warmup that might make that job a little difficult, so let’s take a look at the starting lineup and get into tonight’s matchup.

 

THE STARTING LINEUP

LW C RW
Baertschi (#47) Hamilton (#36) Boucher (#24)
Goldobin (#77) Jasek (#9) Lind (#13)
Arseneau (#18) Malone (#17) Bailey (#95)
Sorenson (#74) Bancks (#34) LeBlanc (#3)

 

LD RD
Brisebois (#55) Rafferty (#25)
Juolevi (#48) Sautner (#6)
Blujus (#8) Chatfield (#5)
G
Michael Di Pietro

 

INJURY REPORT
Francis Perron (eye) Jonah Gadjovich (ill) Dyson Stevenson (fight related)

 

What is it with the Utica Comets and getting their faces fucked? Also looks like the claim that the Comets had no injuries during the last game was wrong, as Dyson Stevenson still remains injured from his massive tilt with Ben Harpur against Toronto on December 11th.

 

Healthy Scratches
Richard Bachman Josh Teves Carter Camper Mitch Eliot

 

So, no injury or illness diagnosis for Carter Camper? I can’t imagine he’s a healthy-scratch though, given the Comets dearth of centers. Looks like the team has Stefan LeBlanc slotting in as a winger to fill up the roster. Comets play by play man Joe Roberts states that Carter Camper was scratched due to the “veteran” limit.

So to get this straight, Trent Cull is scratching the only AHL center who can actually distribute the puck, for his penalty-killing “expert” Wacey Hamilton? JFC, what a joke if that’s true.

Camper has four goals and seventeen assists in 24 games played this season with the Comets.

Hamilton has two goals and thirteen assists in his last 38 games played with the Comets.

Baffling, if that’s true

Remind me again, what was the point of signing a bunch of ECHL PTO’s if they don’t ever plan on having more than two healthy forwards available in reserve to battle for spots?

Genuinely don’t understand splitting up the Lind, Jasek, and Bailey line. They’ve been solid together as of late. Now you have an ultra-soft line of Jasek, Goldobin, and Lind? No way that line sticks through the full 60.walked back, haha

 

1st period

 

Comets in White

 

The score at the end of the 1st period: 1-0 Comets

 

Have to feel bad for the Phantoms fanbase in Allentown, because holy shit that was atrociously boring hockey. I mean, look at this shot map on the period, four shots only, with one being an inconsequential dump-in shot from center? Comets playing to their opponents level a bit, and getting caught playing “ring the puck around the boards.” Which, as a stats-tracker, is amazing for me, but as an appreciator of hockey, it’s absolutely dreadful to watch. Hopefully, the Comets turn on the jets in the second and light this team up, because the Phantoms legitimately don’t look like they’re trying.

 

2nd Period

 

 

The score at the end of the 2nd period: 3-2 Comets

 

Comets almost let the game get away from them, but they pulled it together and started pressuring hard in the back-half of the game. Lehigh doing a much better job at getting their shots on net; Comets missing on many of their attempts. Shots tied overall now at 14 apiece. Good battle-back from the Comets in their back-to-back efforts this weekend. Albeit, they probably shouldn’t have put themselves in a position to “battle back” against this blatantly weak, Phantoms squad. Fingers crossed they don’t let the game slip away from them in the third. The waning seconds of that period weren’t exactly encouraging.

 

3rd period

 

 

Final Score: 4-2 Utica Comets

 

Scoresheet

 

Period Team Goalscorer Primary assist helper type
1st UTI Kole Lind Olli Juolevi Lukas Jasek 5v5
2nd LV Kurtis Gabriel Matthew Strome Steven Swavely 5v5
2nd LV Gerry Fitzgerald Maksim Sushko Carsen Twarynski 5v5
2nd UTI Wacey Hamilton Olli Juolevi Reid Boucher 5v5
2nd UTI Justin Bailey 5v5
3rd UTI Sven Baertschi SH/EN

 

Takeaways

 

  • Gonna make these takeaways quick because I want to see Pettersson attempt a Hoglander against the Kings
  • Incredibly dull first period, and an incredibly weak third. Have to wonder if the four-hour bus ride in from Utica played into the lethargy displayed in tonights effort. The team’s lackadaisical play made this game way closer than it ever should have been. Twelve of the Phantoms 24 shots on net were from outside of the circles and had zero chance of getting past Di Pietro. Where they fell apart was the lack of aggression to thwart the Phantoms from cutting towards the slot for shot-attempts. Eight of the Phantom’s most dangerous attempts occurred in a teeny square outside the crease of Di Pietro’s net and is where both goals were scored.
  • Kind of like “Palpatine using the force to clout everyone’s judgement” as an end-all justification for why everyone is a moron in the prequels. Chalking up the weak effort to exhaustion of last night’s comeback effort is the case for tonight’s takeaways as well. Could probably go in on a few players for looking disengaged throughout, but given the injuries and the commute into Allentown, I’ll let it slide. They got the two points and overtake the Toronto Marlies for second in the North Division.

 

Comets Three Stars

  • Justin Bailey
  • Olli Juolevi
  • Lukas Jasek

 

The Comets Trajectory?

The Comets return Tuesday night for an afternoon game to close out 2019. Their opponents are none other than the division-leading, Rochester Americans. The Amerks are coming off a shutout loss to the division-worst, Binghamton Devils, and now sit just two points ahead of the Comets with 44 points and a 0.710 points-percentage. Big opportunity for the Comets to close out 2019 with a win that ties them for first in the division.

 

If you want more Comets coverage from yours truly, you can now find MORE of my writing at thesinbin.net

12/27/19 – Utica Comets vs. Hershey Bears

Merry Christmas Canucks Nation, it’s been a while since we checked in on the Farm with the Comets Harvest!

As you all know, I was selected as the fourth fellow for the Botchford Project and that, coupled with my many Holiday obligations, took me away from my usual Comets coverage.

My day as a Botchford Fellow was a whirlwind, unlike anything I’ve ever experienced in my entire life. Beyond the crash-course in Canucks-media activities, it was a fantastic learning opportunity where I was able to meet plenty of staples to Canucks media who welcomed me with open arms.

That doesn’t even account for the fantastic people within the Canucks organization who did everything they could to allow me to get everything I needed for my piece.

Although interviewing players is a completely foreign concept to me, I’m stoked that this experience allowed me to spread my wings and give’er a whirl. Hopefully, I didn’t embarrass myself too much in front of the guys who graciously offered up their time to me! I think my inexperience may have resulted in me not getting all the right information that I was looking for. But, nonetheless, I’m proud of what I put together, and hopefully, it reads well.

Huge thanks to everyone on this subreddit, on twitter, discord, Hfboards, anywhere really, who sent encouraging words to me throughout this process! Truth be told, it was a very bittersweet experience, knowing why I was there at all. I paid a visit to the Botchford bench beforehand and asked the legend himself to send some luck my way for the night. Outside of goofing on my interviews a bit, the day ended up going my way, the 19th.

Oh, and the Canucks are now 3-and-0 since my visit.

 

¯_(ツ)_/¯

 

Just saying!

 

Oh, right, the Comets! The Comets are riding a three-game win streak after an up-and-down month that has seen the Comets ride a December record of 5-wins, 3-losses, and two shootout-losses.

Coming into tonight’s matchup, the Farm team sits 3rd in the North Division with 39 points and a 0.629 points-earning-percentage. Their opponent tonight, the Washington Capitals farm-team, Hershey Bears, sit similarily third in the Atlantic Division, with 37 points and a 0.617 points-earning-percentage.

The last time the Comets played the Bears, the team was bailed out by a phenomenal goaltending performance from Michael Di Pietro. During the match, the Comets dragged a 1-1 game to the shootout after giving up an astonishing 72 shot-attempts at even-strength to their 36. MDP ended the game with a 0.974 save percentage and a 0.92 goals-against-average.

The Bears are coming into tonight’s matchup riding an eight-game win streak, having gone undefeated through the entirety of December.

On the Comets side, tonight is the return of Michael Di Pietro to the starting lineup, as well as PK specialist Jalen Chatfield. The team’s PK suffered in Chatfield’s recent absence, as they killed off just 9 of their past 13 times spent short-handed. Amongst Culls penalty-kill staples, Chatfield leads the Comets with the highest powerplay suppression percentage, at 95.6% with him on the ice.

Apparently, this is the first time all season where no one on the Comets lineup is listed on IR prior to tonight’s festivities! Let’s get into tonight’s starting lineup!

 

THE STARTING LINEUP

LW C RW
Baertschi (#47) Malone (#17) Boucher (#24)
Goldobin (#77) Camper (#19) Perron (#27)
Bailey (#95) Jasek (#9) Lind (#13)
Gadjovich (#21) Bancks (#34) Arseneau (#18)
LD RD
Juolevi (#48) Sautner (#6)
Brisebois (#55) Rafferty (#25)
Blujus (#8) Chatfield (#5)
G
Michael Di Pietro

 

Healthy Scratches
Richard Bachman Dyson Stevenson Mitch Eliot Wacey Hamilton Josh Teves Stefan LeBlanc

 

The Comets sent David Pope back down to the Kalamazoo Wings, just in time for their weekend wearing their flying skate jersey!

 

1st period

 

Comets in Blue

 

The score at the end of the 1st period: 4-1 Bears

 

They looked ok through the first 6 minutes, but oh boy did they fall apart through that middle chunk of the period. Comets end the period having been outshot by the Bears 13 to 6. Comets rang two shots off the bar, but those were the only real dangerous shots they had. Remaining forty minutes are going to be tough for this squad if they can’t find a way to hit the net.

 

2nd Period

 

The score at the end of the 2nd period: 4-2 Bears

 

Way better period from the Comets, Bears caught on the backfoot through the majority of the second period. The entirety of the action took place in the Bears end or through neutral ice. Comets outshot the Bears eleven to six through the middle frame and certainly out-attempted them as well. Will be interesting tracking this one after the fact as the Comets have had a complete inverse performance in the second period.

 

3rd period

 

 

The score at the end of the 3rd period: 5-5 Tie

 

An absolutely fantastic comeback effort from the Utica Comets after 60 minutes of play, erasing two three-goal leads and a late one-goal lead off a brutal non-call after a player injury. Could’ve seen the team collapse on that shorthanded goal, but I think the non-call on the high-stick to Perron gave the team some extra fire to close this one out in front of the home crowd. At the very least, they’ll be getting one-point out of this terrific effort.

 

Overtime

 

  • Lind back on the bench to start overtime with some stitches on the chin
  • Jasek, Goldobin, Brisebois start
  • Baertschi, Boucher and Rafferty out next after the puck gets cycled around the Comets end through the first minute
  • Camper Bailey Sautner third out for the defensive zone draw
  • Bears get a rush into the Comets zone, and Carter Camper (#19) gets called for hooking on Jonsson-Fjallby
  • Bears pull Vanecek for the extra-attacker, and after getting a touch on the puck, the Comets will spend two of the remaining three minutes shorthanded
  • Bancks, Chatfield, Juolevi the penalty-killers for Utica
  • GOAL – HERSHEY – 6-5 Bears: Mike Sgarbossa wins it for the Bears in overtime with a rifling one-timer under the glove-side of McIntyre. Chatfield gets caught spinning as he chases Sgarbossa’s pass to Bobby Nardella, and loses position to block Sgarbossa’s blast. Unfortunate end to an otherwise exciting comeback effort from the Comets.

 

Final Score: 6-5 Hershey Bears

 

Scoresheet

 

Period Team Goalscorer Primary assist helper type
1st HER Garret Pilon Mike Sgarbossa 5v5
1st HER Garret Pilon Mike Sgarbossa 5v5
1st HER Kody Clark Axel Jonsson-Fjallby Brian Pinho 5v5
1st UTI Vincent Arseneau Jonah Gadjovich Carter Bancks 5v5
1st HER Joe Snively Mike Sgarbossa Tyler Lewington 5v5
2nd UTI Seamus Malone Olli Juolevi Vincent Arseneau 5v5
3rd UTI Carter Camper Reid Boucher Olli Juolevi 5v5
3rd UTI Lukas Jasek Justin Bailey Kole Lind 5v5
3rd HER Brian Pinho Axel Jonsson-Fjallby SHG
3rd UTI Lukas Jasek Justin Bailey 5v5
OT HER Mike Sgarbossa Bobby* Nardella Garret Pilon PPG

 

Takeaways

 

  • Olli Juolevi was on the ice for seven of the first seven goals scored tonight. Defensively, he’s a complete liability whenever that puck is out of his reach. When there is a loose puck sitting out of arms reach of Juolevi and an opponent is racing for it, I tense up. History has shown that unless Juolevi’s linemates make the extra effort to recover on the loose puck, then there is likely a scoring chance going the other way. Offensively, the guy is dynamite from the point. His shot is crisp and almost always finds its way towards the net. Even someone as reliable as Ashton Sautner can’t make up for Juolevi’s skating deficiencies, however. I don’t know if I could single-out Juolevi on any of those goals-against as the first three were the result of pretty poor puck tracking and rebound control from MDP. Still, those odd-man rushes generated by Juolevi’s lack of skate speed will not allow him to succeed at the NHL level, let alone at the AHL level.
  • Fantastic battle from the Comets to rally back after a brutal opening period. Too bad they couldn’t generate anything on the powerplay. Five powerplay opportunities with nothing to show for it is a bad look for any team. Let alone a team with Reid Boucher, Nikolay Goldobin and Sven Baertschi on it.
  • Nikolay Goldobin had a fantastic game, even if he didn’t wind up on the scoresheet. He led the team in shots on goal and was displaying some excellent puck handling all throughout. Unfortunate he couldn’t capitalize on any of his chances, nor could his linemates with him on the ice. Liked his battle overall, interesting to see him getting significant penalty-kill time for Cull tonight. He’s been used sparingly on the PK in previous games, but that was usually due to injuries. Tonight, the team had practically all of their main PK staples, and Goldobin was still on the second shift out for the Baertschi-elbowing PK.
  • Justin Bailey has quietly racked up five goals and five assists through eleven games this month. Tonight he was utilizing his speed effectively, using his speed to get around the defense and set-up his linemates at center-ice on numerous occasions. More of this! Less of the “skate circles around the offensive zone, before lobbing a weak shot off the back of the net.
  • Pretty brutal night for Reid Boucher and Sven Baertschi on that first line. Couldn’t get the bounces to go their way in the first, with both guys ending their night with the worst goal-differentials on the team. Not for lack of trying, however, as both seemed to struggle to find the right shooting lanes. But the Bears hard-matched their line with the speedy trio of Snively, Pilon and Sgarbossa. The one time the Boucher-Baertschi-Malone trio were not getting hard-matched, they scored, with the Carter Camper goal that brought the team within one. As fast as Seamus Malone can be for that line, he simply can’t match the physicality of other teams’ first-line players. Carter Bancks, despite his effectiveness as a fourth-line center, might actually be a better fit for them moving forward. Malone will do much better not having to physically match his opponents when he’s got guys like Gadjovich and Arseneau carrying the physical load for him
  • Outside of the overtime winner, I thought Chatfield had a really good game. He and Blujus were a much better pairing than Chatfield/Juolevi has ever been. I like his game way more in that shutdown, minute-eater role with Blujus than in that “puck-moving/offensive-defenseman” role, alongside Juolevi.
  • Lukas Jasek had a solid second half of the game, after a brutal display of defensive coverage on the Bears’ third straight goal in the first period. At one point, Jasek was put out there with Goldobin, and the two looked very lethargic together. I know the two hang out a lot outside of team events, but on-ice tonight the two looked flat. The two last played consistently on a line together back on November 1st against the Providence Bruins. Back when Jasek centered Baertschi and Goldobin, the team had won eight games straight. In their brief time together tonight, they looked like they’d never played together before. I enjoyed the Euro line back in October, so I hope tonight’s rather “meh” display from the two doesn’t void any chance of that trio reuniting in the future. Happy to see Jasek pick up two goals tonight, he’s had a rough season when it comes to controlling shot-attempts at even-strength. He could use the bounces going his way moving forward. Also, move him back to the wing.
  • The Gadjonaissance continues with a strong showing on the fourth-line tonight. Started a fair number of shifts with defensive zone faceoffs and turned them into scoring chances the other way. His assist tonight gives him 9 points in 18 games played in very limited minutes. By my estimation, Gadjovich logs around 11 minutes per night, glad to see him make use of his limited time and be a difference-maker for the team.

 

Comets Three Stars

  • Justin Bailey
  • Lukas Jasek
  • Vincent Arseneau

 

The Comets Trajectory?

The Comets return tomorrow night when they hit the road to face off against the Lehigh Valley Phantoms. The Phantoms currently sit dead last in the Atlantic Division with 29 points and have had a brutal December stretch, having picked up wins in just three of their last nine games. The Phantoms sit with the worst penalty-killing-percentage in the Atlantic Division and are barely surviving with the second-worst powerplay-percentage. Comets have a good chance against a weak team. But as the Comets showed against Bridgeport and Binghamton two-weeks ago, easy-wins aren’t always guaranteed.

12/18/19 – Utica Comets vs. Belleville Senators

Well, the cat’s out of the bag, the Botchford Project has called me up from the minors. I’m ecstatic to be suiting up to get my first taste of NHL action, tomorrow when the Canucks faceoff against their archnemesis, the Vegas Golden Knights.

Like the consummate professional I am, and displaying the kind of professionalism that made me worthy to be a Botchford Fellow! I completely forgot there was a Utica game on tonight.

I’d like to blame my, “giddiness over being chosen,” for the reason why I misread the schedule. Truth is, I got pretty tanked at my work Christmas Party Saturday, woke up Sunday, and saw the Comets got absolutely dunked on by the Division-worst, Binghamton Devils, by a pitiful score of 5-1. Taking my head out of the toilet, I decided not to make my hangover worse by enduring such a tragic loss, and an all-too-quick glance of the schedule had me convinced the game was Friday, not Wednesday.

So alas, let’s get into tonight’s game against the Belleville Senators. A team that edges the Comets in points-percentage to secure the final spot for Calder Cup Playoffs. The Baby Sens are on a three-game win streak and are 8-2 in their past ten.

The Comets, on the other hand, are on a two-game losing streak while posting a 5-3-0-2 record in their past ten. Just like the Canucks, divisional opponents have made up ground on the Comets (except Binghamton, they’re literally a dumpster fire). A three-point disparity is all that separates the Comets from the Divisional basement. Tonight’s pivotal matchup would be a great night to find some consistency and get some distance away from that possibility.

 

THE STARTING LINEUP

 

LW C RW
Goldobin (#77) Camper (#19) MacEwen (#15)
Baertschi (#47) Malone (#17) Boucher (#24)
Bailey (#95) Jasek (#9) Lind (#13)
Gadjovich (#21) Bancks (#34) Arseneau (#18)
LD RD
Juolevi (#48) Sautner (#6)
Brisebois (#55) Rafferty (#25)
Blujus (#8) Eliot (#52)
G
Zane McIntyre

 

Mitch Eliot slides into the lineup after being a healthy scratch through the previous five. I never understood Eliot getting scratched over someone like LeBlanc. LeBlanc is older and “tougher,” but Eliot is tied with Dylan Blujus for points over Sautner, LeBlanc, Chatfield, and Teves amongst defensemen.

At this point, they should consider sending Teves down to the AHL. Twenty games played eleven shots on net, eight misses, and twelve blocked shots. Eliot is three years younger, skates just as fast, only a bit weaker in physical battles, but genuinely shows an ability to individually create scoring opportunities on his own through shot-attempts or passing. Teves can skate the puck up ice and is one of the better D at controlled zone-entries. But putting pucks on net, passing and being a contributor on goals-for, just isn’t in his skillset.

 

RE: INJURY REPORT

 

Injury Report
Wacey Hamilton (faceeeeeee) Dyson Stevenson

 

Healthy Scratches
Stefan LeBlanc Josh Teves David Pope Francis Perron

 

Genuinely have no clue why this Comets club thinks they can afford to bench Francis Perron. He skates hard, backchecks with intensity, can kill penalties, and work as the bumper on the 2nd powerplay unit. Barring some trade out of nowhere, this benching makes no sense. I get that MacEwen is back in the lineup, but should that really warrant bumping a dude who can play out of the lineup so the Comets can roll with Gadjovich, MacEwen, AND Arseneau?

The grit/60 requirement for this team is ridiculous if that’s why Perron slid out.

 

1st period

 

Comets in Blue

 

 

The score at the end of the 1st period: 1-0 Comets

 

Comets close the period inside the Senators zone. Overall a pretty back and forth period with chances for both teams. Utica edges Belleville for shots on goal, 13 to 9.

 

2nd Period

 

 

The score at the end of the 2nd period: 4-1 Comets

 

Comets lead the Senators in shots, 23 to 16, Somehow. Senators edged the Comets in shot-volume and time spent in the offensive zone, but Comets won the accuracy contest. The three straight delay-of-game penalties thwarted any momentum generation for the Senators. Doubt they’ll get that lucky in the third. They need to stay out of the box and avoid throwing the puck away with errant passing.

 

3rd period

 

 

Final Score: 4-3 Utica Comets

 

Scoresheet

 

Period Team Goalscorer Primary assist helper type
1st UTI Zack MacEwen Carter Camper Nikolay Goldobin 5v5
2nd UTI Nikolay Goldobin Carter Camper 5v5
2nd BEL Michael Carcone Alex Formenton Hubert Labrie 5v5
2nd UTI Reid Boucher Brogan Rafferty Kole Lind PPG
2nd UTI Kole Lind Sven Baertschi Brogan Rafferty PPG
3rd BEL Vitaly Abramov Alex Formenton Jordan Murray PPG
3rd BEL Vitaly Abramov Joseph Labate Rudolfs Balcers 6v5

 

Comets Three Stars

  • Nikolay Goldobin
  • Kole Lind
  • Carter Camper

HM: Brogan Rafferty

 

Takeaways

 

  • Comets wind up getting outshot seventeen to four over the final twenty minutes of the game, and that’s after starting the game on a powerplay and getting one in the final five minutes of the game. The team simply had no rebuttal to the speed or crisp passing game of the Belleville Senators. Good on Zane McIntyre for hanging in there through the final frame, because the team played like pylons to close.
  • Kole Lind looked good tonight, flaws and all. Had several moments tonight where he could have cheated after making mistakes, but he put in the effort to recover on nearly all of his errors. Picked up a goal and an assist for his efforts tonight, and IMO should have gotten the second star.
  • Brogan Rafferty’s two-point night gives him 24 in 29 games played. He leads all AHL defensemen in points and is 3rd amongst all rookies. Yes, I’m aware, giant asterisk, he’s 24. I would hope the Canuck’s org gives Rafferty a look before making any brash roster decisions. *cough* don’t trade Troy *cough*
  • Sven had a very noticeable night, was featured prominently on the penalty kill, and generally made his presence known every time he was on the ice. His lone, primary assist tonight puts him at 24 points in 17 games played. At evens, Sven is having the “Petey” problem at the AHL level, where everyone focuses on him pretty hard. He’s a force on the Comets powerplay, though, and a major factor as to why the Comets lead the eastern conference with powerplay success %.
  • Jasek had a pretty quiet night, as did Justin Bailey, whom I thought was quite invisible overall. Jasek had quite a few instances where he’d at least transition the puck effectively. Bailey was nowhere to be found. Not a single instance of him going end-to-end for a weak shot into the side of the net
  • Seamus Malone seems to have the speed and the hockey IQ, but boy, the guy’s hands, look completely different to where they were at last season. I wonder if that arm injury that ended his season last year has impacted his ability to shoot. It’s a shame that his lone goal came in a lost cause against Binghamton last Saturday. Maybe he can turn it around if the bounces start going his way. Because of his size, and how easy it is for opponents to throw him off the puck, he needs to find a scoring or playmaking touch to stick around as the season progresses. Injuries to Hamilton and Graovac are likely the one thing keeping him in a prominent 1st/2nd line center role.
  • Bless Goldobin for still trying his ass off. Sits ninth in AHL scoring and likely will never get a sniff of the NHL again because of this BS “hard skill” “soft skill” garbage.

 

The Comets Trajectory?

Comets return Friday (I’m pretty sure). Having a bit of a ‘friendsmas’ celebration that night, so will undoubtedly be a late recap! Their opponent Friday is the Alex Burrows (assistant) coached, Laval Rocket. The last time these two teams met, the Comets got thoroughly dominated in even-strength shot-attempts but were bailed out by a tremendous goaltending performance from Michael Di Pietro. They follow the home matchup with Laval with a Saturday roadie against the Division-leading Rochester Americans. More crucial divisional match-ups are on the way for the Farm team, hopefully, they can build on tonight’s win, even if it’s without their star rookie goaltender.

 

If you want more Comets coverage from yours truly, you can now find MORE of my writing at thesinbin.net

12/13/19 – Utica Comets vs. Bridgeport Sound Tigers

Feels like we are in a state of Deja Vu. The Comets are back for another double-header weekend where they, once again, take on the Bridgeport Sound Tigers!

The Comets and the Sound Tigers have played three of their four-game series just in the past seven days. With their fourth and final match of the season not taking place until the final stretch of the season, on April 4th.

Despite the Sound Tigers status as the fifth-worst team in the league, they’ve actually fared quite well against the Comets over their previous two meetings.

The first meeting, last Friday, saw the Comets barely eke out a point. After getting dominated in shot-attempts at even-strength, 57 to 43, the Comets managed a late goal from Reid Boucher to force OT, and then the shootout. Total shot-attempts across all strength-situations favored the Sound Tigers 84 to 60.

Their second matchup was much more favorable to the Comets, as they picked up a 6-3 regulation win on the road. Four straight unanswered goals in the third period led the Comets to victory. The game itself saw dominant offensive performances from Kole Lind and Brogan Rafferty.

The pair’s offensive dominance over the Sound Tigers and the Comets overall end-results have masked some terrifying underlying numbers for the Utica Comets season. Comets have just one game, this December, where they’ve controlled shot-attempts at even-strength. Ironically, that CORSI-positive game was their 5-3 loss to Toronto.

In 26 games this season, the Comets have controlled even-strength shot-attempts just ten times. When taking away game-state factors, and just examining raw shot-attempts in all-situations, the Comets have out-shot their opponents nine times out of 26 games.

This strategy worked great to start the season when Michael Di Pietro and Zane McIntyre were playing fantastic hockey. But now that the AHL’s grueling schedule has begun to settle in. Suddenly the Comets rope-a-dope playstyle has started to bite them more often than not.

Consistency is something that I’ve desired from the Utica Comets through their November slump and this rough December patch. Let’s hope they can cap off this grueling six-games-in-nine-nights with some much-needed points.

With all the crushing realism aside, let’s get into tonight’s starting lineup and see how the Comets do in tonight’s rubber-match!

 

THE STARTING LINEUP

LW C RW
Baertschi (#47) Malone (#17) Boucher (#24)
Goldobin (#77) Camper (#19) Perron (#27)
Bailey (#95) Jasek (#9) Lind (#13)
Gadjovich (#21) Bancks (#34) Arseneau (#18)
LD RD
Juolevi (#48) Chatfield (#5)
Sautner (#6) Rafferty (#25)
Teves (#4) Blujus (#8)
G
Zane McIntyre

 

Jalen Chatfield managed to get into Utica in time for tonight’s matchup. He replaces Guillaume Brisebois, who gets an opportunity to sit in the penalty box and cash that sweet, juicy, NHL paycheque.

Also returning to tonight’s lineup is Dylan Blujus, who’d missed the previous five games with injury.

 

RE: INJURY REPORT

Injury Report
Wacey Hamilton (faceeeeeee) Dyson Stevenson (injured)

 

Healthy Scratches
Stefan LeBlanc David Pope Mitch Eliot

 

David Pope, seconds after pulling into Kalamazoo, MI, was recalled for his second stint with the AHL club. Stefan LeBlanc slides out as the result of Blujus return.

 

1st period

 

Comets in White

 

The score at the end of the 1st period: 3-1 Sound Tigers

 

Comets, according to the AHL’s ‘Game Center,’ come out of that period even on the shot differential. Comets looked a step behind through much of the first period. The Comets lone goal came from quick puck movement. The Sound Tigers first two goals came from rapid puck movement. At some point, they need to stop playing chess with the puck and start playing checkers. Keep it simple, and move the puck faster into shooting lanes. For every shot the Sound Tigers registered on goal, there are at least two preceding shot-attempts that get blocked or miss the net. Because the Comets don’t defend the body or challenge their opponents, the Tigers can afford to continue the high-volume approach that has drowned the Comets on so many occasions this season.

 

2nd Period

 

 

The score at the end of the 2nd period: 4-1 Sound Tigers

 

Despite outshooting the Sound Tigers ten to seven, the Comets look woefully out of their depth as they struggle time and time again to shut down the offensive of this struggling Atlantic Division rival. Not much to say really, first-line cant complete a pass, second-line has been invisible, third line’s shots on goal just haven’t been effective, with the fourth-line being the only one not getting dunked on every shift.

 

3rd period

 

 

Final Score: 4-3 Bridgeport Sound Tigers

 

Scoresheet

 

Period Team Goalscorer Primary assist helper type
1st BRI Travis St. Denis Nick Schilkey Otto Koivula ppg
1st BRI John Stevens Kyle Burroughs Colin McDonald 5v5
1st BRI John Stevens SH
1st UTI Reid Boucher Sven Baertschi Brogan Rafferty 5v5
2nd BRI Kieffer Bellows Sebastian Aho Seth Helgeson 5v5
3rd UTI Jonah Gadjovich Nikolay Goldobin Carter Camper ppg
3rd UTI Carter Camper Lukas Jasek Francis Perron ppg

 

  • Disappointing effort from the Utica Comets again as they lose to an inferior opponent at home for the umpteenth time
  • Comets closed out the game edging the Sound Tigers in shots-on-goal, 34 to 23. Unfortunately, the majority of those shots were simply non-threatening. Size and strength isn’t a strong suit of this team, but speed is. They need to be using their speed to drive to better shooting lanes. Too often, this team stands still and waits for openings. The high-volume approach at the AHL level can make up for sloppy defense and so-so goaltending. A calculated approach at the AHL level can not make up for sloppy defense and so-so goaltending. They need to be producing so much more than they are.
  • Look at this grapppppppppppph
  • Every time I do it makes me laugh
  • I drew black lines at the top of the circles to highlight the difference in shots-on-goal between the two teams. Utica registered seven shots on goal, one of which made it past Coreau. Five of those shots came from Reid Boucher.
  • The Sound Tigers registered eleven shots-on-goal from below the marks indicated. Four of which resulted in goals-against.
  • It’s not like the Sound Tigers are some marvelous defensive team either, they have the third-most goals allowed in the league FFS! They are in a league of their own when it comes to goal-differential, as they are the league-worst at -32. MINUS, 32.
  • Tonight’s loss puts the Comets in a precarious tie with the Laval Rocket, who lose-out only due to their number of games played. Just four points separate them from the 7th ranked Cleveland Monsters. These two losses against the Bridgeport Sound Tigers could haunt them come April.
  • I don’t even want to discuss the players. They were spectacularly mediocre.

 

Comets Three Stars

  • Jonah Gadjovich
  • Reid Boucher
  • Carter Camper

 

The Comets Trajectory?

The Comets are back at it tomorrow when they take on the Binghamton Devils. I will be at my works Christmas Party, so I probably won’t get a recap out until Sunday night. Maybe later, depending on how many drink tickets they give out this year!

 

If you want more Comets coverage from yours truly, you can now find MORE of my writing at thesinbin.net

12/11/19 – Utica Comets vs. Toronto Marlies

What’s up Canucks fans, it’s a quick turnaround for the Comets Harvest, as we dive deep into a battle between the Utica Comets and the Toronto Marlies.

The Marlies currently sit atop the Eastern Conference, with a sparkling 17-4-2-1 record. The Comets sit fifth in the east with a less than ideal, but acceptable, 14-8-1-2 record. The Comets have earned points in three of their last four games despite being 4-3-1-2 in their previous ten. The Comets past-ten record pales in comparison to the Marlies 8-2-0-0.

The Marlies and Comets are quite familiar with each other, having played a back-to-back stint two weekend’s ago, in which they split wins. The Comets almost came away with two wins, but they threw it away with a complete third-period collapse that saw the Comets give up four unanswered goals at even-strength.

To beat the Marlies, the Comets will have to be stronger at even-strength, and limit the number of odd-man rushes faced by their goaltender. A tall task given the Comets would be, again, without the services of forward, Zack MacEwen. Here’s hoping this young Comets team picks up from where they left off against Bridgeport and has an impressive showing in front of the home crowd at the Adirondack Bank Center!

 

THE STARTING LINEUP

LW C RW
Baertschi (#47) Malone (#17) Boucher (#24)
Goldobin (#77) Camper (#19) Perron (#27)
Bailey (#95) Jasek (#9) Lind (#13)
Gadjovich (#21) Bancks (#34) Stevenson (#26)
LD RD
Juolevi (#48) Sautner (#6)
Brisebois (#55) Rafferty (#25)
LeBlanc (#3) Teves (#4)
G
Michael Di Pietro

 

With MacEwen out, Dyson Stevenson slides in on the fourth line while Francis Perron moves up to the second-line alongside Camper and Goldobin. Pretty surprised that Cull went with Stevenson over Arseneau, who’s been a pretty useful soldier on the Comets fourth-line. Stevenson, however, is no slouch and has shown marked improvement game-over-game in limited minutes.

 

RE: INJURY REPORT

Injury Report
Wacey Hamilton (faceeeeeee) Dylan Blujus (undisclosed)

 

Healthy Scratches
Richard Bachman Vincent Arseneau Mitch Eliot

 

The Comets released David Pope and Tanner Sorenson back to the Kalamazoo Wings. Sorenson got his first career AHL point in his first game, while Pope was mostly up to get a look by the coaching staff. Guess there wasn’t much to see.

 

1st period

 

Comets in White

 

The score at the end of the 1st period: 1-1 Tie

 

Comets outshot eleven to five after twenty minutes of play. Given how their last meeting went, I’m a little concerned at the direction this game might be heading. Comets had multiple golden scoring opportunities, but Kaskisuo has looked tremendous so far. Similar to the Canucks versus Fredy Andersen last night, they’re going to have to double-up on their efforts if they want to prevent another repeat, third-period-implosion.

 

2nd Period

 

 

The score at the end of the 2nd period: 5-3 Comets

 

What is it with the Utica Comets and batshit crazy second periods? One fight, phantom too-many-men penalties, phantom roughing penalties, phantom boarding calls, called-back goals, six goals total scored between both teams, and a partridge in a pear tree! Absolutely insane period of hockey punctuated by absolutely baffling refereeing decisions that clearly have skewed the direction of this game. Toronto ended the final ten minutes of the period with a noticeable momentum shift and will head into the third chasing down the Comets two-goal lead. Fingers crossed the Comets hold strong and put this one away before the refs do

 

3rd period

 

 

Final Score: 6-3 Utica Comets

 

Scoresheet

 

Period Team Goalscorer Primary assist helper type
1st UTI Lukas Jasek Justin Bailey Kole Lind 5v5
1st TOR Tanner MacMaster Tim Liljegren Matt Read PPG
2nd UTI Francis Perron Nikolay Goldobin Carter Camper 5v5
2nd UTI Guillaume Brisebois Reid Boucher Brogan Rafferty 4v4
2nd UTI Lukas Jasek Nikolay Goldobin 4v4
2nd UTI Kole Lind Sven Baertschi Brogan Rafferty PPG
2nd TOR Darren Archibald Nicholas Baptiste Tim Liljegren PPG
2nd TOR Garrett Wilson Kenny Agostino Kasimir Kaskisuo PPG
3rd TOR Mason Marchment 5v5
3rd UTI Reid Boucher Sven Baertschi Ashton Sautner SH/EN

 

Takeaways

 

  • Comets sandwich a dominant second period with a weak first, and a rather uninspired third period. Don’t think the Comets have nearly the defensive talent to get away with a “sit back and hold the lead” kind of strategy. It worked this time, only, barely. Thanks in part to the fantastic goaltending from Mikey Di Pietro.
  • MDP’s numbers on the outset don’t look great; a 0.871 save percentage, and a 3.01 goals-against-average. Di Pietro kept the game from devolving into a repeat of the last third period the Comets had against the Marlies.
  • Since moving to center, Jasek has struggled hard with the role-change, the past two games have seen a marked improvement in his overall ability. I have to think someone in the organization told him to not play so tentatively in the offensive zone. He’s looked much more engaged offensively, without it coming at the expense of the defensive side to his game. Hopefully, his three goals and one assist in his last two games serve as a confidence boost for him moving forward
  • Kole Lind quietly has three goals and three assists with 15 shots on goal through the month of December. Kid has looked fantastic the last two games for the Comets. Hopefully, he can keep this up and can maintain a semblance of consistency moving forward. Give me tonight’s Kole Lind every game, not every third game.
  • Brogan Rafferty has one goal and six assists this month, and despite having an assist called back by the AHL, Rafferty sits second amongst all AHL defenceman for points.
  • Francis Perron ended his five-game pointless drought tonight with a goal. He was screwed pretty hard on that tripping penalty. Otherwise, Perron looked pretty decent. Streaky, but decent.
  • Overall, a pretty messy game that left a lot to be desired from their defensive coverage. Something that I think will likely be a season-long issue. However, I can forgive a young team goofing on their checks if they can consistently score four even-strength goals against top-tier opponents. Hopefully, the Comets move forward with repeats of tonight’s and Monday’s efforts. The schedule is jam-packed through December, so that might be a big ask. Beginning this Friday, the Comets start a stretch of five games in eight nights. A tough outing for a young AHL squad looking to find consistency.

 

Comets Three Stars

  • Lukas Jasek
  • Kole Lind
  • Reid Boucher

HM: Brogan Rafferty

 

The Comets Trajectory?

The Comets return this Friday when they face off against the Bridgeport Sound Tigers for the third time in eight days. Just a heads up, I’ve got a boatload of Christmas Parties and Friendsmas’ events that I’m committed to for the next couple of weekends. Unfortunately, the next couple of weeks might not be my best displays of tardiness.

If you want more Comets coverage from yours truly, you can now find MORE of my writing at thesinbin.net

12/10/19 – Utica Comets vs. Bridgeport Sound Tigers

Good Evening Canucks Nation, sorry for the delay on this one. Full disclosure, family is going through some really bad stuff at the moment, so this won’t be as “wordy” as my usual stuff.

 

Tonight’s action is the second meeting of the season between the Comets and the Sound Tigers The two’s first encounter began the Comets current three-in-four weekend. Hopefully, the Comets could do a much better job at controlling even-strength shot-attempts.

Helping them in that department is the return of Zack MacEwen and Nikolay Goldobin to the starting lineup. The twos addition to the starting lineup means the Comets are rolling, perhaps the deepest forward group we’ve seen them deploy this season.

If you need more clips, follow Daniel Gee scouting on twitter, or Chris Faber of Canuck Convo, and last but surely not least, Cory Hergott, from CanucksArmy.com. All three have done a fantastic job posting clips of the Comets this season and may have caught some of the action I may have missed.

Thanks for understanding,

 

 

THE STARTING LINEUP

LW C RW
Baertschi (#47) Malone (#17) Boucher (#24)
MacEwen (#15) Camper (#19) Goldobin (#77)
Bailey (#95) Jasek (#9) Lind (#13)
Gadjovich (#21) Bancks (#34) Perron (#27)
LD RD
Juolevi (#48) Sautner (#6)
Brisebois (#55) Rafferty (#25)
Teves (#4) LeBlanc (#3)
G
Zane McIntyre

 

Missing a whole lot of grit/60 from the starting lineup with that influx of skill.

 

RE: INJURY REPORT

Injury Report
Wacey Hamilton (faceeeeeee) Dylan Blujus (undisclosed)

 

Healthy Scratches
Richard Bachman David Pope Vincent Arseneau Dyson Stevenson Mitch Eliot Tanner Sorenson

 

1st period

 

Comets in Blue

 

The score at the end of the 1st period: 1-0 Comets

 

Comets with a very solid twenty minutes of play as they go on to outshoot the Sound Tigers fourteen to seven. A near inverse of the two’s last meeting, where the Comets struggled to string together a pass in the offensive zone, let alone multiple stints of sustained pressure. They are still playing a little too lackadaisical on the defensive side. I can only assume this lax defending has been exacerbated by the Comets feeling dominant for the first time in a while. The last time the Comets controlled even-strength shot-attempts was back on December 1st in the second period against the Toronto Marlies. Understandable, they’d be a lil’ excited, haha.

 

2nd Period

 

 

The score at the end of the 2nd period: 3-2 Sound Tigers

 

A high event period for both the Comets and the Sound Tigers, as both McIntyre and Coreau faced down a relentless stream of shot-attempts from each’s respective team. Unfortunately for McIntyre, the Comets defensive lapses this past period were much more frequent and flagrant. Comets still relentless in their pursuit of offense; Sound Tigers defense has (had) just been way tighter. Comets need to show the same speed they had in the first period in order to capitalize on their opportunities. Ironically, the Sound Tigers are second-worst in league with 90 goals-against.

 

3rd period

 

 

Final Score: 6-3 Utica Comets

 

Scoresheet

 

Period Team Goalscorer Primary assist helper type
1st UTI Justin Bailey Sven Baertschi Kole Lind ppg
2nd BRI Kieffer Bellows Colin McDonald Matt Lorito 5v5
2nd UTI Kole Lind Reid Boucher Brogan Rafferty ppg
2nd BRI Jeff Kubiak Ryan Bourque Parker Wotherspoon 5v5
2nd BRI Nick Schilkey Otto Koivula Tom Kuhnackl 5v5
3rd UTI Nikolay Goldobin Zack MacEwen 4v4
3rd UTI Lukas Jasek Brogan Rafferty Guillaume Brisebois 5v5
3rd UTI Kole Lind Sven Baertschi Brogan Rafferty ppg
3rd UTI Brogan Rafferty Reid Boucher Lukas Jasek 5v5

 

Takeaways

 

  • Defensively, the Comets still leaves a lot to be desired as they still managed to give up three even-strength goals to the worst team in the Atlantic Division. Nine even-strength goals if you count their last matchup this past Friday
  • That’s bad!
  • The Comets despite this managed to score four unanswered in the third period after giving up a lead in the second
  • That’s good!
  • Brogan Rafferty’s four-point night puts him second amongst AHL defenceman scoring, and fifth amongst AHL rookie scoring
  • That’s good!
  • The Comets got outshot at even strength by a total of 28 to 25 and only controlled the game at even-strength in the first period
  • That’s bad!
  • Zane McIntyre posted his second straight .900+ save percentage after having not done so since November 6th and 15th this season
  • That’s good!
  • Ya boi has to somehow track the stats on this game before reviewing tomorrows and Saturdays games, before tracking those games stats, ALL WHILE preparing for a work Christmas party and miscellaneous family concerns
  • That’s bad…
  • Can I go now?

 

Comets Three Stars

  • Brogan Rafferty
  • Kole Lind
  • Lukas Jasek

 

The Comets Trajectory?

 

The Cmets wed 11 Marlies

^ this was the one thing I got written before being unable to review this game yesterday. I kinda like it. Brief and to the point

 

If you want more Comets coverage from yours truly, you can now find MORE of my writing at thesinbin.net

12-7-19 – Utica Comets vs. Providence Bruins

Well Canucks fans, its time to follow up the main course with some dessert as we move from the Canucks wild OT win over Buffalo into the Comets roadie against Providence.

 

The last time these teams met, the Comets struggled to score on Bruins tendy, Max Lagace. Despite controlling shot-attempts for the bulk of the game, the Comets simply weren’t strong enough to break the Bruins defense.

The Comets were atrocious at controlling shot attempts against the Bridgeport Sound Tigers, so they will need to have an inverse performance with Richard Bachman starting between the pipes.

Bachman starts for the first time this season and will likely be incredibly rusty. Comets have to do everything in their power to not leave him high-and-dry. It’s been a tough year for Bacher as he’s spent the season relegated to being a rostered goaltending consultant for the team. Fingers crossed the Comets have a much better performance tonight against the higher-ranked Providence.

Providence currently leads the AHL’s Atlantic Division and are on a seven-game point streak. Their powerplay is middle of the pack, but their penalty kill is third in the Eastern Conference.

The Comets special teams have been killing it, despite their brutal results over the past month and a bit. Their 22.5% powerplay success rate is the best in the Eastern Conference, and their 86.3% penalty-killing percentage is second in the East as well. Powerplay will have to be top-notch tonight against Providence if they want to maintain their streak of powerplay goals. Last night’s powerplay tally from Jonah Gadjovich made it ten-straight.

Here’s to them making it eleven straight! With that, let’s take a look at the starting lineup!

 

THE STARTING LINEUP

LW C RW
Baertschi (#47) Malone (#17) Boucher (#24)
Bailey (#95) Camper (#19) Lind (#13)
Gadjovich (#21) Jasek (#9) Perron (#27)
Arseneau (#18) Bancks (#34) Stevenson (#26)
LD RD
Juolevi (#48) Sautner (#6)
Brisebois (#55) Rafferty (#25)
Teves (#4) LeBlanc (#3)
G
Richard Bachman

 

In hindsight, I actually can’t believe they gave McIntyre the start against the worst team in the Atlantic Division. Giving Bachman his season debut against the best team in the Atlantic Division seems like a disaster waiting to happen. Coaching staff makes some baffling roster decisions.

Mitch Eliot slides out of the lineup for Josh Teves. Eliot struggled against Bridgeport pretty badly and even started seeing his minutes get cut in the third frame due to how poor he was playing. Josh Teves isn’t exactly an upgrade, but his speed will at least be an asset to the team. Needs to find a scoring punch to his game to start earning consistent ice-time.

 

RE: INJURY REPORT

 

Injury Report
Wacey Hamilton (faceeeeeee) Dylan Blujus (undisclosed)

 

Healthy Scratches
Tanner Sorenson Mitch Eliot David Pope Nikolay Goldobin (unavailable to play) Zack MacEwen

 

1st period

 

Comets in Blue

 

The score at the end of the 1st period: 0-0 tie

 

Once again, it looks like it’ll be a tight game against the Providence Bruins for the Utica Comets. Richard Bachman is looking very strong so far tonight as he stopped 16 of 16 shots. Comets registered just eight shots on goal. Comets need to make more of their time spent in the offensive zone. Need to take a page from their two opponents thus far this weekend, and start throwing everything they can towards the net.

 

2nd Period

 

 

The score at the end of the 2nd period: 1-1 Tie

 

I’ll let this graphic do the talking.

Amazingly, after getting outshot NINETEEN to FIVE in the second period, this one remains tied at one apiece. After two periods, Comets have been outshot 35 to 13.

They’re going to have to do something to start drawing penalties and getting more opportunities with the man-advantage in the third. They’re getting eviscerated at even-strength and need every little advantage they can get. The scary thing is, I don’t think Goldobin OR MacEwen will do much to change the way the Comets have played lately. Neither guy is renowned for their defensive play or ability to sustain shot-attempt pressure.

 

3rd period

 

 

 

The score at the end of the 3rd period: 2-2 tie

 

¯_(ツ)_/¯

 

Overtime

 

 

The score at the end of the Overtime: 2-2 Tie

 

For the second night in a row, the Comets chance at a second point depends on the shootout.

 

Shootout

 

 

Final Score: 3-2 Providence Bruins

 

Scoresheet

 

Period Team Goalscorer Primary assist helper type
2nd Providence Paul Carey Robert Lantosi Josiah Didier 5v5
2nd Utica Justin Bailey Reid Boucher Olli Juolevi PPG
3rd Providence Brendan Gaunce Robert Lantosi Paul Carey 5v5
3rd Utica Reid Boucher Olli Juolevi 5v5

 

Takeaways

  • It’s pretty funny; you could literally take everything I said last night against Bridgeport, and apply it to tonight’s game
  • Another disappointing display of puck-control from the Utica Comets. Their best-sustained pressure came in the final two minutes of the third period, and the entire overtime period never. Otherwise, it was a pretty pitiful performance.
  • Olli Juolevi looked solid in his return second game back. Was crucial in the Comets penalty-killing tonight two equalizer goals to force overtime. Skating looked better tonight than it did before his recent IR stint. Guess the time off did wonders for him. Bummer about the post he hit tonight two penalties he took that gave the Bruins serious momentum swings. It would’ve been awesome to see him get his first goal of the season in his return second game, but two assists will suffice.
  • Richard Bachman was the hero for this club tonight. Considering this was his first start of the entire 2019-20 season, I was worried rust would be a major factor. And while it was on that first goal from Paul Carey. Bachman was the difference-maker tonight as he went on to stop 42 of 44 shots on net.
  • yeesh
  • Pretty sure at some point Seamus Malone got benched after being on the ice for both Providence goals-against. He looked weak on the puck and repeatedly got muscled away from offensive plays. Ironically, Cull substituted him with Lukas Jasek, who has been just as ineffective in staying strong on the puck as Malone.
  • Does Ryan Johnson have any plans to bolster the center depth of this club? Do the Canucks brass have no problem tanking the development of Lukas Jasek, simply to fill an organizational void? Surely a team overloaded on the wings can make a deal somewhere to bring in a center. They had to bench Malone due to his weak play against Providence; who else is there to bring in? Another ECHL PTO?
  • Considering the Comets head coach is a former AHL defenseman, I’m pretty shocked that the D-corps have regressed as badly as they have this season. Not a single man on the roster looks proactively strong on the puck. By proactive, I mean the ability to carry the puck through considerable pressure to create offense or at the very least, to transition play up-ice. Currently, the only strength on the puck comes from the D reacting to the play developing from scoring areas in their end. Most of their physical play to deny possession comes in too-little-too-late situations. Sautner hasn’t looked the same this season. Chatfield is constantly chasing the play. Brisebois’ speed in the defensive zone has looked weak all season. Eliot is young and capable but lacks strength. Teves is all speed but no brains. Blujus is physical but lacks the speed to be proactive with it. Juolevi doesn’t know how to use his size and shies away from physical contact. Rafferty is a solid two-way defender, but puck-protection and out-muscling his opponents to transition the puck isn’t his thing. I don’t know how many more games I can watch where five players stand stationary in the defensive end. The Comets d-corps are letting their goalies to face an unrelenting stream of unblocked shots. MDP is good and young and will survive, but even he can’t prop up a team that gives up 60+ even-strength shot-attempts on a nightly basis.
  • Am I misinterpreting the way the Comets are playing? Is there even a message being relayed from the farm to the Canucks about how poor they’ve doon defensively this season? Can’t blame these losses on injuries, because it’s not like their star players are out of the lineup, they have Rafferty, Boucher, Baertschi, Camper, Bailey, and Sautner. The guys at the top of the call-up list are in the lineup, and they aren’t good enough. They’re eking out points, which, sure, good job, but if the long-term plan is to develop and win, then they’re doing it poorly.
  • Comets now sit in a three-way-tie for 4th place in the Division and are just three points up on the seventh-place team in the division, the Cleveland Monsters. Its time to shape up…or ship up!

 

Comets Three Stars

  • Richard Bachman – 42 saves on 44 shots-against
  • Olli Juolevi – Two assists, four shots
  • Reid Boucher – One goal and one assist on three shots

 

The Comets Trajectory?

 

The Comets have a quick turnaround as they hit the road again to faceoff against the Bridgeport Sound Tigers this upcoming Monday. Hopefully, the team gets Di Pietro, MacEwen, and Goldobin back into the lineup so they can maybe get a jolt of energy into this struggling lineup.

 

If you want more Comets coverage from yours truly, you can now find MORE of my writing at thesinbin.net

12/6/19 – Utica Comets vs. Bridgeport Sound Tigers

Good Evening Canucks Nation, let us gather around the fire and tell the tale of the Utica Comets versus the Bridgeport Sound Tigers.

 

The Sound Tigers sit dead last in the AHL’s Atlantic Division. Last Saturday, Sound Tigers reporter Michael Fornabaio reported that the team was up to 147 man-games lost to injury/illness this season. Their total man-games lost the previous season… 147.

https://twitter.com/fornabaioctp/status/1201943193027256321?s=20

 

Both Comets and Sound Tigers meet after suffering embarrassing losses in their last outings. Comets with their four-unanswered goals-against in the third period to the Toronto Marlies. And the Sound Tigers with a 5-2 loss to the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins.

The Comets will look to impress at home tonight, as they see a bevy of healthy bodies returning to the lineup. Returning to the lineup after missing the last eight games with hip issues, is defenseman Olli Juolevi. Fingers crossed the coaching staff learn from their mistakes and ease up on the on-ice responsibilities. Joining him in tonight’s lineup from a brief three-game stint on IR is Vincent Arseneau. ECHL call-up Tanner Sorenson filled his position admirably, but the Comets will be elated to have the tough-as-nails Frenchman back in the lineup.

This should be a fun one, let’s dive right into the starting lineup and see how this one goes! That sounds pretty neat!

 

THE STARTING LINEUP

LW C RW
Baertschi (#47) Malone (#17) Boucher (#24)
Bailey (#95) Camper (#19) Lind (#13)
Gadjovich (#21) Jasek (#9) Perron (#27)
Arseneau (#18) Bancks (#34) Stevenson (#26)
LD RD
Juolevi (#48) Sautner (#6)
Brisebois (#55) Rafferty (#25)
LeBlanc (#3) Eliot (#52)
G
Zane McIntyre

MDP gets a break tonight, I’m dumb I forgot MDP was with the Canucks

Bachman opts in as the backup, as Zane McIntyre gets the start. Hopefully, he gets back to his earlier season form tonight against a sub-par opponent.

RE: INJURY REPORT

 

Injury Report
Wacey Hamilton (faceeeeeee) Dylan Blujus (undisclosed)

 

Healthy Scratches
Tanner Sorenson Josh Teves David Pope Nikolay Goldobin (unavailable to play)

 

1st period

 

Comets in White

 

 

The score at the end of the 1st period: 1-1

 

The shot-attempt differential did not favor the Comets in that period. Sound Tigers throwing everything but the kitchen sink towards the net of McIntyre, and eventually tie it up off some pretty weak clearing attempt from Sautner. No surprise, the Sound Tigers outshot the Comets eleven to seven through the opening twenty minutes. Need a better effort from a team that has the majority of its roster available to them.

 

2nd Period

 

 

The score at the end of the 2nd period: 3-3 tie

 

Comets thoroughly dominated, but they manage to find a way to tie the game twice in a single period. They’re finding the key goals while facing a deficit, but boy, it sure would be nice to see them step their game up and be the ones sustaining pressure against the Tigers instead of vice versa. Comets outshot eleven to nine in the second, 22 to 17, after two frames.

 

3rd period

 

 

 

The score at the end of the 3rd period: 4-4 tie

 

By some miracle, the Comets force overtime after getting outshot fourteen to four over the final 15 minutes of the third period. Needing overtime to take down the Atlantic Division worst team is not a good look for this squad. Sure they finally generate something in the closing two minutes, but it was too-little-too-late. Embarrassing display of puck-control tonight.

 

Overtime

 

 

The score at the end of the Overtime: 4-4 tie

 

Well, they looked good at 3-on-3. Too bad that the Comets 5-on-5 passing wasn’t nearly as clean earlier in the game. They eke out a point from tonight’s win, but letting this one hinge on a shootout is a huge missed opportunity for the squad to pick up two points if it goes wrong.

 

Shootout

 

 

Final Score: 5-4 Bridgeport Sound Tigers

 

Scoresheet

 

Period Team Goalscorer Primary assist helper type
1st Utica Guillaume Brisebois Carter Camper 5v5
1st Bridgeport Matt Lorito Colin McDonald 5v5
2nd Bridgeport Nick Schilkey Mason Jobst 5v5
2nd Utica Jonah Gadjovich Olli Juolevi Sven Baertschi PPG
2nd Bridgeport Grant Hutton Mason Jobst Sebastian Aho 5v5
2nd Utica Justin Bailey Carter Camper Kole Lind 5v5
3rd Bridgeport Kieffer Bellows Matt Lorito Sebastian Aho 5v5
3rd Utica Reid Boucher Sven Baertschi 5v5

 

Takeaways

 

  • Another disappointing display of puck-control from the Utica Comets. Their best-sustained pressure came in the final two minutes of the third period, and the entire overtime period. Otherwise, it was a pretty pitiful performance.
  • Olli Juolevi looked solid in his return. Was crucial in the Comets penalty-killing tonight, as the Comets suppressed all six of Bridgeport’s powerplay opportunities. Skating looked better tonight than it did before his recent IR stint. Guess the time off did wonders for him. Bummer about the post he hit tonight. Would’ve been awesome to see him get his first goal of the season in his return game.
  • Ironically, the two guys I chastised for being unable to hit the goal with shots, BOTH scored tonight at even-strength. Bailey tied with Rafferty for second-most shots on net with four apiece. Brisebois registered three shots on net for the first time since November 9th, when the Comets played against the Binghamton Devils. Good for him on getting his first goal since the season opener.
  • Kole Lind was quiet throughout the majority of the game, but when the team needed him to turn it on, he suddenly became the guy to watch out for on the ice. The Shaunovan native was clutch throughout the final stretch of regulation time. Lind helped created several high-danger scoring chances for the Comets tonight and was rewarded earlier with an assist off one of his few defensive plays, rather than offensive.
  • During the limited minutes he saw tonight, Jonah Gadjovich was pretty stellar, looked composed with the puck, and did everything he could to try and generate shot-attempts for his linemates. It didn’t help him that Lukas Jasek once again was struggling, and Francis Perron, who through most of the game, was frequently invisibly. Defensive positioning still a work in progress but, we have to appreciate the little things, like his six points in nine games this season — underrated improvement year for the manchild.
  • Carter Camper has quietly picked up 14 points in 15 games played this season. Tonight was an impressive defensive effort from Camper and was literally, the reason this game didn’t conclude in the third period. Thanks entirely to that goal-line save of his.
  • Not sure who was doing the stars of the game, but Oliver Wahlstrom was given the first star because he won the game for the Sound Tigers in a shootout. Whoever made that choice ought to be ashamed. Wahlstrom was 0/0/0 on the night with three shots on goal and a -1 overall. At least give it to Sebastian Aho for his two-assists +1 rating if you’re going to give a Sound Tiger the “First star.” Hell, Kieffer Bellows should have got it for his 3rd-period tiebreaker goal and his five shots on net.
  • Curious to see what happens to the Comets stat-lines after doing my tracking re-watch later. Eye-test would say that everyone on the Comets might’ve posted a negative shot-attempt differential. But I’d love to see if I’m wrong!
  • Also, Trent Cull didn’t overplay Juolevi, which was great to see. After blocking like, ninety-seven shots in the first period while penalty-killing, I hoped to see him get a reprieve down the stretch. But, I guess that’s OJ’s bread and butter? Juolevi’s demotion to the second unit powerplay is a perfect middle-ground to letting him flex his strengths, without overwhelming his workload.

 

Comets Three Stars

  • Carter Camper
  • Guillaume Brisebois
  • Justin Bailey

 

The Comets Trajectory?

The Comets return tomorrow night when they face off against the Providence Bruins. During their last meeting, the Comets edged the Bruins in even-strength shot-attempts, while also getting a stellar goaltending performance from Michael Di Pietro. The shutout loss to Providence kickstarted a four-game losing streak. Hopefully, after tonight’s second-straight loss, the Comets show some fire and attempt to get their season back on track with a road win against the B’s.

 

If you want more Comets coverage from yours truly, you can now find MORE of my writing at thesinbin.net

COMETS CORSI PROJECT – REPORT CARDS

Good Morning Canuck Nation, I’m pleased to have finally put together something outside of game recaps, that is wholly different than anything I’ve ever written about, hockey stats, and lots of ’em!

Since I began writing recaps of the Comets, I’ve always wanted to provide more depth to my recaps but didn’t know how to do so. Over the summer, I did a whole lot of reading during my time at work (Two-time employee of the month, back-to-back) about hockey stats from CORSI, to Fenwick, PDO, expected goals, GF%, etc. Started with this post, then moved on to reading the various stat descriptions over at hockey-reference.com and figuring stuff out from there!

Eventually, I realized the grand-scope of what could be manually-tracked, might be a bit much for my plate. So I cherry-picked the most commonly known stats that I knew I could comfortably track in between writing up the gameday recaps I do, here, and those I provide for thesinbinet.net.

Lo-and-behold, I’ve got 22 games worth of shot-attempt data ready to roll-out in everyone’s favorite, accessible stats! Corsi and Fenwick! Yay!

 

RE: Future plans

I’ve just managed to get the process of tracking unblocked, blocked, and missed shots down to a sub-3-hour long process. Eventually, I’d like to expand this project to tracking hits, takeaways, and giveaways. Right now, however, between family obligations, my wife, and my writing, I’m stretched pretty thin as-is, so that might be a “next-season” kind of thing.

Before I get into the players report cards, I’ll quickly break down my work like it’s one of those grade 8 science-project hypothesis write-ups

 

Preface

I’m not a coding expert, nor am I a mathematician, nor am I one of those SQL/Python/VBA/data-scraper-dudes who has programs do all the work for them.

Everything starts with pen and paper first, which then gets transcribed into one giant Excel worksheet that gets broken down into a skater summary page, loaded with overly complicated formulas.

 

Margin for Error

AHL game-center reporting isn’t as accurate as one would hope. Thus there is a slight margin of error between general stat tracking and what my EVENT tracking puts together.

AHL’s Game-Center has many instances of goals getting attributed to the wrong players, or outright recording shot events that never even happened.

  • As a total aside, this false reporting is problematic even outside of my little project, as many established news sources and even NHL broadcasts use the AHL’s game statistics as fact.
    • Example, outlets praising X-players six-shot game when he actually only hit the net four times. Or the opposite situation occurs, when Z-players lack of shot-attempts is isolated, when it was the AHL who had been crediting Y-player for Z-players shots in error.

The only other room for error pertains to the quality of the games broadcast feed. If anyone’s ever seen an AHL game, you’ll know that the broadcast might not show everything that happens during play. There are many instances where the broadcast-team for the game will cut away from play to show in-house graphics, overlays, or close-ups. Depending on how much missed play-time there is. There could be on-ice events happening that I cannot accurately track without having to guess.

 

This practice isn’t common, but when it does happen, there is a risk that I, the shot-attempt tracker, will be unable to see if a shot-attempt occurred during said cutaways. If the play-by-play commentators don’t directly mention the attempt, then I have nothing to reverse-engineer either.

By my tally, 22 legitimate shots on goal went unrecorded, seven shots attributed to players that never actually happened and five instances where shots went credited to the wrong players.

Out of 2609 events that I’ve recorded, that gives an error rate of less than 2%. Not great, not terrible.

 

Scope

Because I don’t have time to memorize all of the player initials and jersey numbers, and given this is a Utica Comets focused project, I elected to not record the players-on-ice for opposing squads. Mostly because keeping track of one-team on the ice takes an insane amount of time as is. And since I’m not well-versed enough to provide Quality-of-linemates or quality-of-competition estimations, I thought it was best to keep this strictly to a raw shot-attempts for and against project for the Comets.

At the risk of going over the character limit (as I tend to do), I’m going to link to hockey-reference here, so everyone can get the descriptions of the stats that I’m cherry-picking for each players report cards.

Or, you can scroll to the bottom of this write-up and check out the workbook link yourself! I’ve, very kindly, included cell-comments above each stat-line in the skater summary section. Each comment boils down what each stat is, as well as its data-source, and the calculation efforts used to deduce the stat itself.

example

 

THE REPORT CARDS

 

Here, I’ll actually grade players based on a combination of their contributions to four areas of the game, offense, defense, powerplay, and penalty-killing. Because I’m not an expert in stats, I’ll be punching up my eye-test analysis with some of my interesting findings and try to find a middle ground between the two.

I think for my year-end reviews of players, I didn’t clarify well-enough. The grading system relates to my interpretation of how the player has performed amongst the Comets team, not amongst the league itself. So keep that in mind when you see someone like Mitch Eliot get a B-. It’s a combination of stats, eye-test, and relative expectations of how he’s performed as a Utica Comet against other teams in the division.

You can find the full list of report cards on my blogsite here. I cut out the following players to fit under the character limit, you can find their report cards on my site.

  • Gaudette, Fantenberg, LeBlanc, Graovac, Sorenson, Bancks, Blujus, Camper, Hamilton, and Sautner

 

Reid Boucher

 

GP SH G 1A 2A PTS 5v5oiGD pts/gp SH% CF CA CF% FF FA FF% Satt Thru% SH CF% PK Supp%
17 82 15 6 3 24 +3 1.41 18% 231 243 48.7% 182 184 49.7% 121 68% 18.7% 95%

 

Offense: I mean, what needs to be said, the guy is a Quad-A goalscorer at the AHL level. 68% of all shot-attempts wind up hitting the net. The guy is a hound on the pucks and takes shots from impossible angles at will.

Defense: his negative shot-attempt differential comes from how far up Boucher plays with the puck. Most shot-attempts against at even-strength come from him playing aggressively up ice while being somewhat disengaged from the defensive side of the game. That’s not to say he is sitting at the center-dot doing nothing, but it’s clear as day that Boucher prefers to defend around the Comets blue line. Boucher has an underrated takeaway game, and he pounces on breakaway opportunities generated by his ability to strip the puck off his opponents. He’s more adept at that side of defending than the, “clog up center-ice and try to block shooting lanes” style of defending in his own zone.

Powerplay: A third of Boucher’s points came from the powerplay, so yah…safe to say he’s pretty useful on that first unit.

Penalty-Kill: as previously discussed, Boucher’s ability to strip the puck off his opponents is second to none. Boucher has been a mainstay on Cull’s penalty-kill, and for a good reason. Of all the PK mainstays, Boucher is tied with Lukas Jasek and Wacey Hamilton for short-handed goals and leads all penalty-killing forwards with 17 shot-attempts while short-handed.

While his defensive game lacks finesse, his offensive upside and niche role as an aggressive, scoring penalty-killer makes up for it. Speed and ability to create space will likely prevent him from making it in the NHL, but Canucks fans can be happy that he’s scoring for the Comets and not against them.

Grade: A-

 

Nikolay Goldobin

GP SH G 1A 2A PTS 5v5oiGD SH% CF CA CF% FF FA FF% Satt Thru%
18 32 8 7 5 20 0 25% 261 295 46.9% 202 229 46.9% 75 43%

 

Offense: Goldy’s offense at the AHL level has been quite fun to watch, goals come a lot easier to him at this level when he doesn’t have to work as hard to make space for himself or wait for his linemates to find space for themselves. Flashy, creative, and fun to watch, Goldobin has been way more physically engaged while playing with the Comets, and that drive to battle harder in the offensive zone has resulted in more scoring chances for than against for the Comets. The area of concern would be that sky-high shooting percentage of his. There’s no way scoring on every fourth shot is sustainable.

Defense: In contrast to the above, however, Goldy’s defensive game has looked pretty weak at the AHL level. At even-strength, Goldobin has been on the ice for just as many goals-for as he was for goals-against. The majority of Goldobin’s success has come from his use on the powerplay.

It is worth noting that this season, Goldobin has only ridden shotgun alongside two natural centers in four of his 18 games played. As much fun as the Euro-Line was, defensively, they were putrid, alongside Lukas Jasek, at even-strength Goldy posted a measly 41.4% CF. Goldy didn’t post too good of CF% or FF% stats with the Comets this season. His other centers he played with this season included Wacey Hamilton, whom he posted a 47.6% CF. Tyler Graovac, for two games at 51.2% CF. And lastly, a two-game stint alongside Carter Camper, for his season-high CF of 64.3%.

Arguably his 5-on-5 numbers could improve had he been playing with a bonafide, natural center at the AHL level. But injuries and lack of depth shoehorned players like Jasek, Hamilton, and Graovac into roles as Goldy’s centerman that they weren’t capable of filling.

Powerplay: See above re powerplay stats inflating his point totals

Penalty Killing: Goldy had one shift on the PK, and in that time, he was on the ice for two shot-attempts for the Comets and held his opponents to just five goals-against.

I probably seem like I’m going hard on Goldy, but in truth, he (like most of the Comets this season) weren’t being dealt a fair hand, with the weak crop of centers that the Canuck’s org prepared for this season. Goldy has done admirably to keep his head above water, and even to earn himself a call-up. Who knows if there was a point, though, as it appears that Travis Green is over the Goldy experiment.

Grade: A-

 

Sven Baertschi

GP SH G 1A 2A PTS 5v5oiGD SH% CF CA CF% FF FA FF% Satt Thru%
10 24 4 8 2 14 +8 17% 115 148 43.7% 93 119 43.9% 38 63%

 

Offense: Now I know what you’re thinking, “how could Sven be rocking a +8 for 5-on-5 on-ice goal differential, but have a rock-bottom 43.7% CORSI-FOR?” Well, it’s pretty simple, in two of the Comets weaker efforts this season, Sven and his line got matched hard and ended up hemorrhaging shot-attempts-against. The two games in question were the Comets 8-2 win over the Charlotte Checkers, and their 2-1 shootout win over Hershey.

In the 8-2 win over the Checkers, the Comets managed to give up 63 shot-attempts at even-strength. Again, not a typo, the Comets won EIGHT-TO-TWO, despite giving up shot-attempts at even-strength by a two-to-one margin.

The Hershey Bears shootout win was no better, as the Comets again gave up shot-attempts at a two-to-one clip.

Sven’s offensive numbers look putrid because of these two games, where he was line-matched hard by the competition, as Sven went on to have an even-strength shot-attempt differential of -33

Sven’s numbers probably look infinitely better if those games weren’t so hard on him and his linemates, but alas, here we are. The Swiss Army Man has been money on the powerplay and at even-strength for the Comets.

Defense: The only critical aspect of Baertschi’s defensive game, is that he shy’s away from hits and physical contact along the boards. I mean, I get it, I think we all do. If he can find the offensive success he’s found away from putting his head in vulnerable positions along board-battles, then yah, I can see why he’d avoid it. You could see his hesitation and fear when he played with the Canucks on his lone trip, and it’s what Travis Green spoke of after training camp. I think the latest concussion has changed the way Baertschi approaches offense, and unfortunately, I don’t believe the new approach can cut it at the NHL level.

Powerplay/Penalty-Kill: Baertschi was on the PK once. He managed one shot-attempt for, and one shot-attempt-against. His 100% penalty kill suppression is tied for first on the team — truly remarkable PK work.

Grade: A-

 

Kole Lind

GP SH G 1A 2A PTS 5v5oiGD SH% CF CA CF% FF FA FF% Satt Thru%
22 35 4 9 3 16 -2 11% 262 281 48.3% 189 221 46.1% 68 51%

 

Offense: A quarter way through his sophomore season, and we’re getting a completely different Kole Lind than we saw last year. Like, Goldy, Lind has struggled at even-strength but thrived on the powerplay. There’s definitely an increased swagger to his game that shines mostly in his playmaking. His vision and passing game have taken a noticeable step forward. Needs to work on his aim, though, as 25% of his shots miss the net.

Defense: Defensive game is still a huge work in progress. Jumping up and creating plays is one thing, but getting back to his end and negating shooting lanes, disrupting passes, etc. is something that hasn’t been his strong point this season. Still early on, and given the massive strides he took since last season, I’m willing to give that side of his game some time.

Powerplay: Lind has been dynamite on the Comets first unit powerplay. He is their de facto faceoff guy for the opening draw, and his tenacity on the puck in the offensive zone has resulted in him earning points on just under 1/3rd of the Comets total powerplay goals this season. Not bad for the sophomore.

Penalty-Kill: *cough cough*

Decent first quarter for the Shaunovan sophomore, still need to see either a better defensive effort at even-strength or an insane run of offensive production in all-situations, before I bump him up to the A-category.

Grade: B+

 

Zack MacEwen

GP SH G 1A 2A PTS 5v5oiGD SH% CF CA CF% FF FA FF% Satt Thru%
13 34 3 4 1 8 +6 9% 160 160 50% 123 119 50.8% 56 61%

 

Offense: All things considered, Zack’s first 13 games with the Comets weren’t exactly encouraging from an offensive standpoint. Despite being on the first powerplay unit as the net-front guy, being on the 1st/2nd lines at even-strength, PK time, all these premiere roles where he struggled hard to produce. I think I even wrote in one of my recaps that I found it surprising that he was called-up given how he has essentially earned all of his points in a three-game stretch, and that was it.

At even-strength, I don’t know if he ever really gelled with his most frequent linemate, Justin Bailey, as both guys tend to try and split the D on their own to try and generate offense. Two guys trying to do everything on their own is never a good thing, and Zack’s production suffered from having to steer away from that kind of gameplay that got him so much success last season.

Plus, he might be dealing with a nagging wrist issue, so there might be more to the “why is Zack MacEwen not shooting” thing.

Defense: Defensively is where Zack has shined the most this season. Last year the girthy guy pretty much relied just on that…being big. This season saw a much more concerted effort while defending in his end at even-strength that didn’t just rely on wading towards opponents holding his stick in front of them. He still tends to screen his own goalie, but at 6’4″ 205 lbs, that’s almost impossible to avoid.

Zacks 5-on-5 goal-differential of +6 is third-highest amongst Comets forwards. Just behind Lukas Jasek and Sven Baertschi. A fantastic turnaround from Zack, considering last season, he ended the year with an abysmal -11 5-on-5 goal-differential.

Powerplay/Penalty-Kill: As earlier described, Zacks offensive production had not been great. As a penalty-killer, he was on the ice for three powerplay goals-against due to his tendency to screen his tendy.

Overall, a dramatic improvement to the weakest face of his game last season means he holds steady in the B-range. He got his first NHL goal the other night, so that makes it a B+. Should he be returned to the Comets with all the bodies returning off IR, I hope he can use that confidence gained at the NHL level to get his offensive game to return to form.

Grade: B+

 

Francis Perron

GP SH G 1A 2A PTS 5v5oiGD SH% CF CA CF% FF FA FF% Satt Thru%
20 33 4 6 5 15 +3 12% 214 230 48.2% 165 190 46.5% 61 54%

 

Offense: In hindsight, I’m still kind of blown away that the Sharks gave away their second-highest scorer on the Barracuda for a contract dump in Tom Pyatt and a 6th round draft pick. And shiiiiiiiiet, it hasn’t worked out for the Barracuda at all. The San Jose spookyfish sit dead last in the AHL with an astonishingly bad, 15 points out of 19 games played.

Perron’s been a sneaky good contributor for the Comets. Out of the 21 goals scored with Perron on the ice. Perron earned points on 71% of them. A pretty remarkable tally given that 1/3rd of those goals scored came at even-strength.

Perron has fantastic work-ethic on the ice, and occasionally eclipses “2018-19 Zack MacEwen” when it comes to footspeed.

Defense: He does fall into the Goldobin category of looking lost in the defensive end, but he is relentless in his attempts to deny his opponents from getting off shot-attempts. He is continuously trying to create chances out of thin air from his puck-retrieval game — not a bad pickup by the org for essentially nothing.

Powerplay/Penalty Kill: With MacEwen up with the Canucks, and Wacey Hamilton on IR, Perron has found himself as a regular on the Comets penalty kill, and his previously mentioned tenacity on the puck has held opponents to zero powerplay goals with him on the ice.

Consistency has been Perron’s issue all season, as he can go from being the most noticeable guy on the ice one game to being completely invisible the next. Would like to see more consistency in his offensive output and for him to stand out a bit more on a night-to-night basis.

Grade: B-

 

Justin Bailey

GP SH G 1A 2A PTS 5v5oiGD SH% CF CA CF% FF FA FF% Satt Thru%
22 53 6 4 3 13 0 11% 239 252 48.7% 191 194 49.6% 107 50%

 

Offense: Easily one of the Comets’ most frustrating forwards to watch on a nightly basis. Big body with NHL caliber speed who just cannot for the life of him put himself in a position to score with his skating.

Think I’m hyperbolic?

Bailey currently sits second on the team for shots on goal; he also leads the team on shots that missed the net, with 31 total sent wide of the net.

Watching Bailey strip the puck off an opponent in the defensive-zone to then wheel himself past the goal line for a shot off the shoulder-blade of the goaltender is the equivalent of the “Master Wayne/Pushups” meme. Its as if he cannot help but skate himself into low% scoring areas. It’s the weirdest thing, and its the most frustrating thing to watch with such frequency.

Defense: I can’t say that Bailey is a stellar defender. I think he’s got great speed for backchecking, but he sits fourth on the team for unblocked shot-attempts against at even-strength. Considering how fast he can wheel and position himself to deny those attempts, it’s pretty shocking how high up that list he is.

Powerplay: Since MacEwen’s call-up to the Canucks, Bailey has taken on the role of net-front big-boi, and has done admirably in that role. He doesn’t block his peeper-unit’s shooting lanes, and he knows when to slide out for redirect attempts. MacEwen was struggling in that role earlier this season, and Bailey’s been a decent side-grade for them there.

Penalty Kill: Bailey is up there with Boucher in terms of being the most offensively threatening member of the Comets penalty-killing groups. He’s tied with Lukas Jasek for second amongst forwards for short-handed scoring chances with 13 total. Again, that lightning speed comes into play here. A majority of Bailey’s short-handed rushes have resulted in much-needed line-changes, or offensive-zone draws. Amongst the mainstay Penalty-Killers, Bailey leads with an impressive 19.4% short-handed CORSI-FOR.

Although frustrating, the failures of his end-to-end blitzes usually result in sustained pressure for the Comets afterward. And because he’s holding his own at 5-on-5, I can’t critique him too hard.

Grade: B

 

Vincent Arseneau

GP SH G 1A 2A PTS 5v5oiGD SH% CF CA CF% FF FA FF% Satt Thru%
19 22 5 1 1 7 +2 23% 162 143 53.1% 112 108 50.9% 43 51%

 

Offense: Last season, I went on a pretty lengthy rant about how I had an unabashed admiration for Arseneau’s contribution to the Comets. That feeling has not changed, and it has grown this season alongside Arseneau’s ability to control the pace of play.

Arseneau embodies the archetype of a fourth-line “goon.” However, his skill set and contributions to this club have proved that he is so much more than that. I’m sure most people gloss over anything I write about Big Vinny’s efforts night-in and night-out. But they shouldn’t! The guy is out there defending the Canucks rookies from goonery; he hits like a mac-truck, he has an underrated shot, decent playmaking, forechecking, the works. He is the embodiment of what this management group wants from their fourth-line guys whom they signed to be “role-models” for the kids in terms of work ethic.

Arseneau isn’t third on the team for CORSI-FOR because he takes shifts off. The guy hustles his ass off, and his effort level has rubbed off on his linemates, the likes of Seamus Malone, Jonah Gadjovich, and Dyson Stevenson, who’ve all seen tremendous improvements this season since playing on a line with the Big Frenchman.

Apologies, maybe its all the “undrafted ECHL’er to Canuck-legend, Alex Burrows” talk that’s got me feeling sentimental towards guys like Arseneau who’ve worked their butts off to get where they are.

Defense/Powerplay/PK: see above. Guy was given 2nd unit powerplay time and put on a line with Francis Perron, several times after I had called for it in my Harvests. Trent Cull, if you’re reading this, get Arseneau in the Boucher spot for the second unit. He can do it.

Grade: A

 

Lukas Jasek

GP SH G 1A 2A PTS5v5oiGD SH% CF CA CF% FF FA FF% Satt Thru%
21 28 4 0 3 7 +7 14% 253 333 43.2% 199 247 44.6% 48

 

Offense/Defense/Powerplay/Penalty-Kill: Going to just roll all of my thoughts on Jasek’s first quarter of the season in one write-up.

The bad: Jasek’s offensive production has cratered, and he has the worst CORSI differential on the team at -80. Jasek is controlling shot-attempts worse than any other Comet forward currently in the lineup.

The good: Despite giving up the most amount of shot-attempts at even-strength, Jasek is third on the team (2nd amongst forwards) for 5-on-5 On-Ice Goal Differential, with a +7 differential. The teams save percentage at even-strength is at its highest with Jasek on the ice, at 98.2%.

Overall, Jasek’s move to center has been nothing short of a disaster. The team has sacrificed Jasek’s playmaking and offensive capability as a winger in exchange for a mildly adequate defensive center. Czech players are renowned for their two-way games, but this move is absolutely baffling. The kid has done like four interviews with various media talking about how learning English is fucking hard. Why add a role-change to his plate? Was finding non-veteran AHL centers to play on AHL deals that difficult for the management team? Isn’t that literally Ryan Johnson’s job, to fill the roster with AHL depth in the event of injuries?

As someone who was a big fan of Jasek’s two-way game last season, seeing him struggle in this nonsense move to center to make up for management shortcomings is just a piss-off. In my lone, embarrassing radio hit with TSN 1040, I elected to speak about Jasek being one of the team’s most underrated prospects in the system. And here they are just throwing his development in the trash. His grade won’t be reflective of the situation he’s been forced into.

Jasek’s Grade: C+

 

Brogan Rafferty

GP SH G 1A 2A PTS 5v5oiGD SH% CF CA CF% FF FA FF% Satt Thru%
22 41 2 5 9 16 +9 5% 344 344 50% 263 279 48.5% 95 43%

 

Offense: At some point during the first quarter of the season, Trent Cull realized that he couldn’t trust Olli Juolevi as the powerplay quarterback. He changed it up by throwing both OJ48 and Brogan Rafferty out on the powerplay. It was bold, it was brash, and it was no good. Eventually, OJ got injured, and Rafferty found himself as the Comets powerplay QB. Once Rafferty transitioned to the Peeper QB, the team saw a drastic change to his playstyle in which Raff stepped up his offensive game in a significant way. He currently leads all Comets defensemen, and it’s legit, not even remotely close. His 16 points are double the second-leading defenseman, Guillaume Brisebois. Incredibly, Rafferty is only shooting at a 5% clip, so in theory, his production could ramp up as he gets more comfortable with his shot from the blue line.

Defense: The only thing holding back Brogan’s defensive game is his vision. And not like, playmaking vision, but literally his vision. There have been many occasions this season where Rafferty has thrown the puck directly onto an opponents stick, and not because of speed, but because the opponent was in his blind spot. He’s got a great quote in the above article about his vision impairment, requiring him to think more on the ice instead of take things for granted. His defensive game besides these giveaways has been pretty spectacular. He leads all Comets defenseman in 5-on-5 goal differential with +9.

Powerplay: See above, the guy has been dynamite on the powerplay. Since taking over as the QB, at the start of November, Rafferty has been on the ice for 50% of the Comets powerplay goals.

Penalty Kill: See above regarding the vision thing, Rafferty has seen some time recently on the penalty kill due to the absence of Jalen Chatfield. For a guy with visual impairment in one eye, he hasn’t been a liability on the PK, and in his short time as a penalty-killer, has managed a 29.4% short-handed CORSI-FOR.

I’m super hyped for this guy’s potential as a mid to late-season call-up. His puck handling, smooth skating, and puck control are quite impressive for a player making his pro-hockey debut.

Grade: A+

 

Guillaume Brisebois

GP SH G 1A 2A PTS 5v5oiGD SH% CF CA CF% FF FA FF% Satt Thru%
22 34 1 2 5 8 +2 3% 357 363 49.6% 270 294 47.9% 76 45%

 

Offense: Brisebois’ has almost matched his last season’s point totals in just 22 games played. An impressive stat given his shooting percentage is at a paltry 3%. Brisebois is Cull’s go-to guy and see’s a crap-ton of minutes, evident by his high event presence. His shot this season has left a lot to be desired. 25% of his shots have missed the net, 30% are blocked or deflected wide. With the rest of his shots being easy saves by the goaltender. He keeps shooting the puck into goaltenders chest protectors. It’s insane. It’s gotten so bad that Brisebois has seen practically no powerplay time. Mitch Eliot has supplanted him on the second unit.

Defense: Brise is a huge minute chewer for the Comets, he has many giveaways and errant passes in his own zone, but he’s otherwise a responsible puck mover who, for the most part, does well to defend in the Comets zone. He’s been on the ice for the second-highest number of goals-against on the Comets. However, that’s bound to happen given how much ice-time he’s been getting.

Powerplay: If Brise fixes his shot, he might find his way back onto the second powerplay unit, but right now, Mitch Eliot is a better puck mover and has displayed a much better shot from the point.

Penalty Kill: Brise was up there with Olli Juolevi as Cull’s go-to PK guys. Brise has a decent short-handed COSRI-FOR at 17.6%. He has, however, taken the most minor-penalties amongst defensemen.

Brise is getting outshined offensively by the rookies on the squad and might be seeing himself slip down the depth charts. He’s still a decent call-up option for the Canucks on the left-side. But for how long?

Grade: B+

 

Olli Juolevi

GP SH G 1A 2A PTS 5v5oiGD CF CA CF% FF FA FF% Satt Thru% CSH%
14 15 0 2 3 5 -1 204 202 50.2% 149 150 49.8% 42 36% 2.94%

 

Offense/Powerplay: As previously discussed with Brogan Rafferty, Olli Juolevi needed a babysitter on the powerplay because his footspeed was allowing opponents way too many short-handed scoring opportunities. Juolevi’s offense this season has generally been quite lackluster, just 36% of his shot attempts found their way on net. At even-strength, only seven of his 26 shot-attempts made it to the net. Given what we know now about his hip problems, perhaps this has been what’s holding his shot back from being as successful as it was last season. Last season, in 18 games played, Juolevi rattled off 34 shots on goal. This season he barely cracked a shot per-game.

Defense/Penalty Kill: I’ve written about Juolevi’s skating concerns ad nauseam. Frankly, there isn’t much more I can elaborate on with his stats. Juolevi’s ability to transition the puck through the neutral zone with crisp-passing led him to a pretty decent positive shot-attempt differential at even-strength. His ultra-low on-ice shooting % of 2.94% could indicate that he was due for some puck luck to go his way eventually.

Had he not been overplayed to the extent he was, OJ might have found his footing. Being used in premiere roles on the powerplay, penalty kill, while being the team’s 1st pairing/match-up guy was a disaster waiting to happen. I don’t know how, Ryan Johnson, a man who spent the last seven seasons in a “player development” role with the Canucks, could possibly think that a kid coming off a full knee reconstruction, should be given that kind of work-load.

Grade: C+

Honestly, OJ’s grade could likely be higher if his recovery had been managed better.

 

Jonah Gadjovich

GP SH G 1A 2A PTS 5v5oiGD oigf% SH% CF CA CF% FF FA FF%Satt Thru% CSV%
8 15 4 1 0 5 -4 71% 27% 71 58 55% 58 50 53.7% 24 63%

 

Offense: The comeback of the year for Canucks 2017 2nd round draft picks only seems to talk about Kole Lind. Y’all must’ve forgot ’bout the manchild himself. JG’s quietly posted a 55 CF%, a 53.7 FF%, 0.63 points-per-game, all while earning points on 71% of the goals scored while he was on the ice. Not bad for a guy whom most people wrote off the second he hit the ice last season. His skating has vastly improved, and his playmaking ability is pretty underrated for a guy expected to max out as a fourth-line grinder. His shooting% is pretty high, and his even-strength scoring doesn’t quite lineup with his CF%, but I think he’s got the work ethic to avoid being a liability on the ice.

Defense: JG’s tenacity on the puck and improved skating has led to much fewer goals against through his first eight games of the year. Ironically, he’s currently rocking a -4 even-strength goal differential, after getting caught on the ice for four of the Marlies eight goals against the Comets this past weekend.

Still needs more games under his belt to rate fairly, but relative to last season, I think his first-quarter showing has seen a marked improvement as a whole to his game.

Grade: B-

 

Josh Teves

GP SH G 1A 2A PTS 5v5oiGD SH% CF% FF%
16 8 0 0 1 1 +9 0% 44.6% 44.7%

 

Offense/Defense: Josh Teves is a bit of an anomaly on the stat sheet. Despite posting just one point in 16 games played, he’s rocking the team lead in even-strength goal differential.

Teves doesn’t have a great shot, and he doesn’t impress defensively. His best attribute is his ability to skate and to carry the puck from one end of the ice to the other. His zone-entires are quite good. He can’t do much when he gains them, however. The most impressive offense I saw from him recently, was when he put himself offside trying to walk the blue line for a shot, only to then draw a tripping call on a Marlies forward who pushed him over.

Teves currently sits with the third-highest even-strength on-ice shooting percentage, at 8.8%. As well as the sixth-best even-strength on-ice save percentage, at 96.9%. His low involvement percentage indicates what the eye test says, and that his game primarily revolves around moving the puck up ice and holding the blue line. What his linemates do to score, however, is usually independent of Teves play.

Grade: C

 

Seamus Malone

GP SH G 1A 2A PTS 5v5oiGD SH% CF CA CF% FF FA FF% PDO CSH% CSV%
10 8 0 0 0 0 -1 0% 97 75 56.4% 77 56 57.9% 0.981 2.06% 96%

 

Offense: The stat line doesn’t look too great for Seamus Malone when it comes to points-production. Don’t let that fool you, though, as Seamus Malone has had a sneaky good game for the Comets this season. After missing his entire summer offseason training due to arm injury, Malone was thrown into the ringer to start the season by being moved to center full-time. His low involvement rate and shooting percentage indicates that he’s not much of a playmaker, but watching him play you can tell that his speed and puck control * does* lead to many shot-attempts for his linemates. Luck truly hasn’t been on his side this season. Malone has the second-lowest on-ice shooting percentage of all Comets players at 2.04%. Malone posted three goals in six games last season and has displayed a decent shot at the AHL level; the bounces, unfortunately, have not gone his way. Perhaps the tide will turn playing alongside Sven Baertschi and Reid Boucher? So long as he maintains his speed in transition, then eventually the point-production will come.

Defense: Malone isn’t the biggest guy, but he doesn’t shy away from puck battles in the defensive zone. Spends a bit too much time chasing the puck out of position, but otherwise, he’s fine defensively.

Powerplay/Penalty Kill: Malone hasn’t seen much time on either special teams. He was put out on the PK briefly and was doing fine, unfortunately in his limited time on the PK, his opponents did score once, leading him to have a pretty low powerplay suppression percentage.

Overall, I think Malone has taken great strides in his game to start this season and has looked his most impressive in his last three games. Since getting moved to the 1st line center position Malone has elevated his game quite considerably, and his impressive shot-attempt differential is evidence of his skill. Fingers crossed the bounces start going his way.

Grade: B+

 

Dyson Stevenson

GP SH G 1A 2A PTS 5v5oiGD SH% CF CA CF% FF FA FF% CSH% CSV%
17 9 1 0 2 3 0 11% 111 103 51.9% 74 78 48.7% 2.70% 97.1%

 

Offense/Defense: When I think back to last seasons’ ECHL call-up epidemic, I don’t recall a single forward call-up who impressed or who made a difference. After a pretty unimpressive pre-season showing, I was ready to write Stevenson off as just another one of those guys. He’s since turned his game on its head, and been a quality addition to the Comets fourth-line this season.

Stevenson has consistently been an aggressive forechecker, engaged on every shift, and finding a way to the net where he’s generated shot-attempts for his line. Chalk it up to being the result of playing with Vincent Arseneau.

His defensive game obviously isn’t much more than bully guys off the puck, steal, and get it to the other end. But it works, and he’s not actively hurting the Comets when he’s on the ice. Certainly is nice to have a fourth-line who can consistently hem opponents into their own zone with sustained shot pressure.

Grade: B

 

Jalen Chatfield

GP SH G 1A 2A PTS 5v5oiGD SH% CF CA CF% FF FA FF% CSH% CSV% OIGF%
18 20 0 1 0 1 -6 0% 246 292 45.7% 196 232 45.8% 4.47% 94.2% 7%

 

Chatfield leads the Comets in a lot of categories, unfortunately, none for the positive.

Offensively, Chatfield is a complete nonfactor. He misses the net just as many times as he hits it. He is eclipsed only by Wacey Hamilton for the team-worst on-ice goal differential, holding steady at -9 in all-situations, and -6 at even strength. Like Josh Teves before him, Chatfield has a spectacularly low contribution percentage, having only earned one point out of the 15 goals scored with him on the ice. He leads all Comets defensemen holding the team’s 2nd worst even-strength shot-attempt differential at -46.

His physical play, speed, and tenacity on the puck makes him an “intangibles” dream. Statistically speaking, Chatfield lags behind all when it comes to negating shot-attempts and creating shot-attempts for his team when he’s on the ice. Cull has moved Chatfield around the pairings the most of any Comets defender, and I think that’s because most guys can’t make up for Chatfield’s lack of offensive instincts or his defensive lapses. Only Josh Teves posted a positive CF% while paired alongside Chatfield, and it was only by the slimmest margin. Every other defender saw their CF% drop dramatically while paired with Chatfield.

I’ll stop because there’s no point in going so hard on one guy for his shortcomings because, as I joked before, those intangibles are what make him a unique prospect in the pipeline. Likely, that grit factor and physical-play are why he’s being called up over a guy like Rafferty.

Literally, no other defensive prospect in the Canuck’s pipeline plays a hard-nosed, physical game like Chatfield. His skate speed and effort on a shift-to-shift basis will always make him a reliable guy for Cull on the penalty kill, but at even-strength, it’s just not working. He’s like the Jake Virtanen of defense in that he has all the tools that makes for a successful hockey player but no toolbox to match.

Yes, I’m aware he was called up to the Canucks. Like I said, the intangibles are hard to pass up. A guy who sacrifices the body and hustles on every shift? Of course, they’ll give him a look. I’ll never be the type who says a player on the Comets doesn’t deserve a call-up. A player is worth exactly what a team thinks he is, and if he can hustle his way to the NHL for that sweet, juicy paycheque, then props to them for doing so!

Grade: D

 

Mitch Eliot

GP SH G 1A 2A PTS 5v5oiGD SH% CF CA CF% FF FA FF% CSH% CSV% OIGF%
11 25 2 1 2 5 -1 5% 113 111 50.4% 78 89 46.7% 2.65% 96.4% 100%

 

Offense: Despite his rotating slate of d-partners, Eliot has proven to be a considerable asset to the Comets third pairing. In his eleven game stint this season, Eliot has posted the third-best CF% amongst defensemen. He just needs to work on his aim. 21% of his shots this season have missed the net, 21% have been blocked, with the remaining 58% finding their way to the net. At a mere 2.65%, The Comets even-strength shooting percentage is fourth-lowest with Eliot on the ice. Going in his favor is his Goals-For %, which sits tied for first on the squad, having earned a point on all five goals scored with him present on the ice. He’s still green, but he’s been impressive in his limited showings this season.

Defense: Defensively, Eliot looks to be running into the same problem that the Comets rookies ran into last year. Dealing with the size and speed of opponents appears to be Eliot’s biggest weakness. Many times this season, Eliot has engaged in battles along the boards or in the crease only to get easily pushed aside by his opponents. The kid has great hustle and effort to get to those battles and engage in them, but he isn’t quite strong on his skates yet to be successful in that department. Eliot ranks 12th on the team for even-strength save-percentage with him present on the ice.

Need Eliot to stand out a bit more in the defensive zone, and look a little stronger on his skates. Otherwise, his offensive contributions as a rookie have been terrific. Hopefully, he retains his role on the 2nd powerplay unit in spite of their lack of scoring with him at the helm. He’s got a decent shot from the point; it just needs more ice-time to get refined.

Grade: B-

 

Carter Bancks

GP SH G 1A 2A PTS 5v5oiGD SH% CF CA CF% FF FA FF% Satt Thru%
18 15 4 4 0 8 +4 27% 171 164 51% 123 133 47.6% 30 50%

 

Offense: In just 18 games, Carter Bancks is already on track to double his previous seasons point-totals. The Comets Captain hasn’t lost a step and has been a valuable asset to this Comets team as their premier penalty killer. Bancks’ best success this season has come playing with Vincent Arseneau, Francis Perron, and Dyson Stevenson.

Considering how hard I complained last season about the Comets signing Bancks to a two-year deal, I have to eat my own words given his relatively solid start to the season. Given his role on the team as a fourth line minute chewer, who wasn’t expected to produce much. Bancks eight points, five of which tied the game or broke the tie, have come as a great surprise. I do think that playing alongside someone as tenacious as Vincent Arseneau has lead to Bancks having a positive CORSI-FOR, but we certainly can’t blame him for who he’s paired alongside!

Bancks’ sky-high shooting percentage of 27%, is also a significant contributor to Bancks’ early-season success. So long as he’s getting paired with guys like Arseneau/Perron/Bailey/Stevenson who can set him up, then he’s going to keep scoring. Bancks has a lowkey decent snap-shot, and I think it’s caught many teams by surprise this season.

Defense/Penalty-Kill: Bancks tenacity and ferociousness to hound on loose pucks is what makes him such a great penalty-killer. Unlike his usual PK partner, Wacey Hamilton, Bancks has managed to stay disciplined for the most part. His 10 PIM’s ranks 13th on the squad.

He won’t be anything more than a PK specialist who can teach the kids a thing or two about hard work on every shift. And he’s slowed down a bit on his production. But he’s been a serviceable bottom of the lineup/PK specialist.

Grade: C+

 

Dylan Blujus

GP SH G 1A 2A PTS 5v5oiGD SH% CF CA CF% FF FA FF% Satt Thru%
10 13 3 1 1 5 +4 23% 105 145 42% 79 98 44.6% 29 45%

 

Offense: After three points in Blujus’ first three games, Blujus cooled off quite considerably. He currently rocks a 23% shooting percentage after his three goals on 13 shots. His early goals also came in games where the Comets were running up the score. His most recent goal was a pretty flukey knuckler from the blue line. Blujus isn’t exactly a potent goalscorer at the AHL level, but his three tallies lead all Comets defensemen.

Defense: Season hasn’t been too impressive defensively from Blujus so far. Compared to his most frequent linemates as well, it would appear that Blujus isn’t doing much to contribute shot-attempts either. With Josh Teves, they share a measly 40.2 CF%, and with Mitch Eliot, Blujus shares a much more positive 47.1 CF%. Without Eliot, Blujus CF% drops to 40.7%.

On the penalty kill, Blujus has been solid, however. Blujus has stepped up as the team’s premier PK-defenseman, posting a 14.5 short-handed CF%, while registering 11 blocked shots.

Blujus had been away for quite a while with a family matter, so perhaps his mediocre defensive play has something to do with that? Fingers crossed, it was nothing serious. But if it was, it might explain how a veteran d-man such as himself is getting carried by a rookie like Mitch Eliot.

He still has a lot of utility as a very stable puck mover from the back-end. An ability that doesn’t show up in my tracking. Many games without Blujus in the lineup showed how prone the young Comets d-corps could be to collapse when facing sustained pressure. Blujus is a solid calming presence on any D-pairing when he gets control of the puck under pressure.

Grade: C+

 

Carter Camper

GP SH G 1A 2A PTS 5v5oiGD SH% CF CA CF% FF FA FF% Satt Thru%
14 23 2 7 3 12 +5 9% 158 154 50.6% 120 125 49% 43 53%

 

Offense: It’s no coincidence that the Comets November losing slump coincided with Camper going down with injury. He’s quietly been one of the teams best players, albeit not exciting offensively. He’s like your anti-virus, you forget it’s there when it’s doing its job correctly, but when it drops the ball, you notice and get cheesed about it. In his 14 games played, he’s shown a consistent ability to control shot-attempts for the Comets no matter who he’s playing alongside. In his last two games against the Marlies, Camper posted CORSI-FOR percentages of 72.2% and 71.4%.

Defense: Kind of like his offensive abilities, he’s pretty invisible defensively. Not in a bad way, however. Camper has only been on-ice for five goals-against, good for third-lowest on the team.

Powerplay/Penalty Kill: Campers been used sparingly on the second powerplay unit and the penalty kill. Despite his decent playmaking ability at 5-on-5, he hasn’t been much of a factor on the powerplay.

Camper is a perfectly serviceable AHL centerman who has just the right combination of speed, playmaking, and defensive chops to elevate his teammates. Would like to see him contribute a bit more on the powerplay; otherwise, he’s had a great start as a Comet.

Grade: B+

 

Wacey Hamilton

GP SH G 1A 2A PTS 5v5oiGD CF CA CF% FF FA FF% PDO Satt Thru% CSV%
15 13 1 2 1 4 -9 149 151 49.7% 118 124 48.8% .941 23 57% 90.7%

 

Offense: I can’t count the number of two-on-one tap-in opportunities that have rolled over Hamilton’s stick the past two seasons. Hamilton has been on for five even-strength goals-for and 14 goals-against. The guy has a decent hustle, but once he’s in the defensive end, his brain freezes, and he watches opponents score.

Defense/Penalty Kill: Like Carter Bancks before him, Hamilton is Cull’s go-to PK guy, the only problem is, Hamilton takes a shit-ton of stupid penalties. Hamilton is currently fourth on the team in PIM’s, and not a single one of them is a fighting major or a game misconduct. Same thing with his even-strength game, even on the penalty kill, he completely freezes when the puck is around the crease, and he consistently watches play unfold around his goaltender. Powerplay suppression is down to 96% when Hamilton is on the ice.

Grade: D

 

Ashton Sautner

GP SH G 1A 2A PTS 5v5oiGD oigf% CF CA CF% FF FA FF% Satt Thru%
15 20 0 0 3 3 -2 0% 249 273 47.7% 190 205 48.1% 46 43%

 

Offense: Offense yet to be seen. Sautner, despite all of his ice-time, has only been on the ice for eight goals-for. His overall goal differential is tied with Wacey Hamilton for the worst on the team with -11. I’ve never been one to expect much offense out of Sautner, but this is a pretty brutal season for him, offense wise. If his pace keeps up, it will be the third straight season where his AHL production has dipped.

Defense: Still a perfectly responsible d-man in his own end, unexciting, but accountable. Them goals-against though, oof.

I’ve written about it multiple times this season, but I genuinely think the facial injuries have wrecked Sautner’s confidence on the ice. Many times this season I’ve seen him stop playing hockey to check his face after taking a bump. I absolutely don’t blame him for having a form of PTSD; we all have our tics and issues. But if its actively stopping him from being a good stay-at-home defender, then I’m concerned about his long-term outlook for this team.

Grade: C+

 

Quick-Hitters

I’ve moved the folks who’ve played less-than five games with the Comets this season, to the quick-hitter section. Most of these guys haven’t played enough to warrant a more in-depth critique.

 

Adam Gaudette

GP SH G 1A 2A PTS +/- CF CA CF% CF% Rel CSH% CSV% FF FA FF% FF% Rel FSH% FSV% PDO
2 4 1 0 0 1 -1 24 35 40.7% -7.9% 4.17% 94.3% 17 27 38.6% -9.3% 5.88% 92.6% 0.985

 

I said I would make this a quick hit, but I had to touch on Gaudette’s brief back-to-back weekend stint on the farm. His first game was a 5-1 stomp over Binghamton in which the Comets largely controlled the game at even-strength. His second game, however, was an absolute disaster for the Comets, where the Comets registered an abhorrent 34% CORSI-FOR (33% FENWICK-FOR). The Comets managed a win thanks to the impeccable goaltending performance from Michael Di Pietro in which he posted a 0.974 save-percentage and a 0.92 goals-against-average. Gaudette’s Farm numbers don’t really matter; guy’s killing it offensively for the Canucks right now, so on to the next.

 

Antoine Roussel

GP SH G 1A 2A PTS +/- CF CA CF% CF% Rel CSH% CSV% FF FA FF% FF% Rel FSH% FSV% PDO
2 1 0 0 1 1 +1 16 16 50% 1.7% 6.25% 100% 14 12 53.8%% 6.3% 7.14% 100% 1.063

 

Big surprise, the team controlled unblocked shot-attempts at even-strength slightly better with Roussel on the ice than without him! Roussel featured in two of the Comet’s most impressive performances this season. Ironically, the game immediately following his departure resulted in one of the Comet’s most pathetic performances this season.

 

Oscar Fantenberg

GP SH G 1A 2A PTS +/- CF CA CF% CF% Rel CSH% CSV% FF FA FF% FF% Rel FSH% FSV% PDO Satt Thru%
2 9 0 0 0 0 +1 39 29 57.4% 9.3% 5.13% 96.6% 28 19 59.6% 12.3% 7.14% 94.7% 1.017 16 56%

 

Fantenberg was pretty much miles above his AHL counterparts on D. Fanty spent the entirety of his two-game stint as Olli Juolevi’s crutch. OJ saw his best CF% while he was playing alongside Fantenberg, which honestly, should come as a surprise to no one. Fantenberg ended his Comets stint 2nd on the Comets defense for Thru%, with 56% of his shot-attempts hitting the net. He didn’t wind up on the scoresheet, but he did for the Canucks so, who cares!

 

Stefan LeBlanc

GP SH G 1A 2A PTS +/- CF CA CF% CF% Rel CSH% CSV% FF FA FF% FF% Rel FSH% FSV% PDO EsSatt EsThru%
3 3 1 0 0 1 -1 41 36 53.2% 5.1% 4.88% 91.7% 28 28 50% 2.5% 7.14% 89.3% 0.965 6 50%

 

LeBlanc has struggled to find ample ice-time this season. The left side is pretty loaded for NHL contracted LD, so it’s been because of injuries that he’s found his opportunities. Hard to get noticed when you’re primarily known as a stay-at-home D. In limited viewings, LeBlanc has been adequate. Strong on the puck, and relatively physical. He’s been on for two goals-for and four against, and when he’s on the ice, the team does do a better job at controlling shot-attempts. LeBlanc just isn’t one of the ones contributing to his linemates CF. Despite a positive CF% through three games played, LeBlanc himself has only contributed six even-strength shot attempts to the cause. Might not be his style to chip in offensively, but if he wants to usurp someone like Dylan Blujus or Ashton Sautner as the reliable defensive-defenseman on the left-side, he’ll have to at least chip in a bit more.

 

Tanner Sorenson

GP SH G 1A 2A PTS +/- CF CA CF% CF% Rel CSH% CSV% FF FA FF% FF% Rel FSH% FSV% PDO
2 1 0 1 0 1 +1 16 14 53.3% 5% 6.25% 100% 11 13 45.8% -1.8% 9.09% 100% 1.063

 

Sorenson has been a worthy addition to the Comets fourth line during the Comets current run of injury woes. All anyone can really ask of their AHL fourth-liners is that they chew minutes, battle hard, play physical, and try to avoid getting scored on by their opponents. In Sorenson’s first game with the Comets, he posted a pretty nutty 76.9% CORSI-FOR as he went on to notch his first career AHL point. His second game, however, saw him post a 35.3% CORSI-FOR after he and his linemates got hemmed in by a surging Marlies squad. Can’t fault him for the brutal stats from Sunday, as pretty much every Comet in the lineup played a part in that embarrassing collapse. In two short games, Sorenson’s been a feisty, aggressive forward with a Biega-like worth-ethic on every shift. With bodies returning to the lineup off injury, he’s most likely due for the KWings, but good to know this team has ECHL call-ups who can slide into the lineup effectively, unlike last year.

 

Tyler Graovac

GP SH G 1A 2A PTS +/- 5v5oiGD SH% CF% FF% PDO
6 11 1 0 0 1 -6 -3 9% 49.7% 45.8% 0.962

 

Throwing Graovac in here because he was spectacularly uninspiring in his six-game run with the Comets. I’m impressed he’s managed two goals with the Canucks because after posting a -5 goal differential, I didn’t expect anything positive. That first game of his he looked like a huge waste of a contract. Good for him for capitalizing on his opportunity! Shame about the injury.

 

In Conclusion:

Thanks to anyone who actually read through the entire thing. This was a pretty daunting task to try and accomplish. Hope everyone enjoyed it, or at least came away learning something new about the Canucks players on the farm!

 

The Workbook

Feel free to use this as a reference tool! Any writers are free to reference the data collected. Just do me a solid and give me credit in your works-cited. I don’t think you can download copies yourselves, but if anyone wants a copy to tinker around with, let me know, and I’ll get a download link to you!

 

As always if you enjoyed this, you can read more at my blogsite at Cometsharvest.wordpress.com, or you can catch my other stuff over at thesinbin.net