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Roster Moves

The Utica Comets depth continues to grow as the team announced today that the parent Canucks have assigned center Adam Gaudette to the team. The club also announced that rookie defender Mitch Eliot is on his way back to Kalamazoo in order to get some minutes after Ashton Sautner was returned to Utica.

Eliot has yet to get into a game for the Comets as they have some pretty solid options ahead of him at the moment. The rookie defender has already gone down to KZOO for a one-game stint that saw him held pointless, although he was credited with five shots on goal.

I wrote about this when Eliot was sent down the first time, but this is a nice change of pace from what we saw last season when players like Jonah Gadjovich and Petrus Palmu struggled to find minutes early at the AHL level. I’m glad that the team is taking this approach this season and getting their players minutes with the Wings if they aren’t getting into action with the Comets.

Gaudette, for his part, has seen just three games of action with the Canucks this season, picking up one assist for his efforts. Like the Eliot situation in Utica, if the Canucks can’t find some minutes in Vancouver for Gaudette, it makes sense to get him to Utica for some game action.

In his 14 games with Utica last year, Gaudette put up five goals and six assists to give himself 11 points. One of those goals and two of his helpers came with the man advantage, so maybe Adam can help get the Comets anemic power play going. The team has gone a woeful 3/22 on the power play, giving them a sorry looking 13.6% success rate with the extra man.

The Comets have been without the services of center Tyler Graovac since partway through their opening game and have been using wingers Lukas Jasek and Francis Perron in the middle in his stead. Adding Gaudette to the mix will allow one of those players to potentially move back to the wing.

So, who could Gaudette end up playing with while he’s in Utica? Well, there are plenty of options, but the coaching staff will want to be careful not to mess around with the chemistry that has already developed.

If the team wants to keep the lines more or less how they’ve been, in order to not upset chemistry, Gaudette would likely end up on a line between Vincent Arseneau and someone like Wacey Hamilton until others are healthy. I don’t see that as an ideal fit.

If the team is okay with breaking up an existing line that has already seen success, maybe Gaudette ends up between Sven Baertschi and Nikolay Goldobin in order to take advantage of having NHL wingers. That would move Lukas Jasek off of that line and allow him to possibly help out another line.

If the team wants to keep that unit of Sven-Jasek-Goldy together, they could instead opt to try Gaudette between Bailey and MacEwen. That would see Perron bumped from that line and possibly moved to the wing. Perron and Jasek are both natural wingers and would, in theory, be more productive in their natural roles, so the Gaudette addition could really strengthen this lineup.

Potential Lineup For Friday

24 Reid Boucher (A) – 19 Carter Camper – 13 Kole Lind

47 Sven Baertschi – 88 Adam Gaudette – 77 Goldibin

95 Justin Bailey – Francis Perron – 15 Zack MacEwen (A)

18 Vincent Arseneau – 36 Wacey Hamilton (A) – 9 Lukas Jasek

48 Olli Juolevi – 6 Ashton Sautner (A)

55 Guillaume Brisebois – 25 Brogan Rafferty

4 Josh Teves – 5 Jalen Chatfield

31 Zane McIntyre

63 Michael DiPietro

This alignment keeps the forward groups mostly intact, with Jasek moving to a new role on more of a checking line. It also puts Ashton Sautner back with Olli Juolevi and Jalen Chatfield with Josh Teves as the pairs were on opening night before the Sautner recall.

I think this could be an effective alignment for this roster, although it isn’t the only one. Another option would be to swap Jasek and Perron as it would allow Jasek to stay in the middle, where he has looked better than Perron, at least to my eye.

24 Reid Boucher (A) – 19 Carter Camper – 13 Kole Lind

47 Sven Baertschi – 9 Lukas Jasek – 77 Nikolay Goldobin

95 Justin Bailey – 88 Adam Gaudette – 15 Zack MacEwen (A)

27 Francis Perron – 36 Wacey Hamilton (A) – 18 Vincent Arseneau

48 Olli Juolevi – 5 Jalen Chatfield

55 Guillaume Brisebois – 25 Brogan Rafferty

4 Josh Teves – 6 Ashton Sautner (A)

31 Zane McIntyre

64 Michael DiPietro

The alignment above would allow for even more balance as it pairs Juolevi and Chatfield together, along with Teves and Sautner on another group. In my mind, that gives the coaching staff three pairings who could match up against anyone in the league.

Up front, it balances the offence even more, but believe it or not, this isn’t even the best lineup that the Comets can ice if they manage to get to full health with this group.

A Healthy Comets Lineup

24 Reid Boucher (A) – 19 Carter Camper – 13 Kole Lind

47 Sven Baertschi – 9 Lukas Jasek – 77 Nikolay Goldobin

95 Justin Bailey – 88 Adam Gaudette – 15 Zack MacEwen (A)

27 Francis Perron – 44 Tyler Graovac – 21 Jonah Gadjovich

48 Olli Juolevi – 5 Jalen Chatfield

55 Guillaume Brisebois – 25 Brogan Rafferty

4 Josh Teves – 6 Ashton Sautner (A)

31 Zane McIntyre

63 Michael DiPietro

The above roster makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside. The team would be able to roll that lineup out with no worries about the vet rule either. They would still have the remaining players available to them as depth as well.

  1. Dylan Blujus: RD – Three points in three games this year. AHL deal.
  2. Carter Bancks: W/C – Two points in two games this year. AHL deal.
  3. Wacey Hamilton: C/W – Two points in four games this year. AHL deal.
  4. Vincent Arseneau: LW/RW – Two points in five games this year. AHL deal.
  5. Seamus Malone: W/C – Zero points in two games this year. AHL deal.
  6. Dyson Stevenson: W/C – Zero points in two games this year. AHL deal.
  7. Stefan LeBlanc: LD – Zero points in zero games this year. AHL deal.
  8. Mitch Eliot: RD – Zero points in zero games this year. NHL deal.
  9. Richard Bachman: G – Backed up for three games, zero starts. NHL deal.

The team also has forwards Dylan Sadowy, David Pope, and Tanner Sorenson plying their trade in Kalamazoo, along with defenders Arron Thow and Zach Frye. Matt PetGrave, another left-shot defender is also with the organization while suiting up for the Brampton Beast of the ECHL.

Depth… it’s a good thing, folks.

The Comets will be back in action against the Binghamton Devils on Friday, October 25th at 7:00 pm Eastern/4:00 pm Pacific. As always, CanucksArmy will have your pre and post-game reading.

 


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