The Farmies Season Comprehensive Part 2
Whats up guys, time for the season retrospective part 2! This time, I’m taking a look at the many, MANY defensemen who suited up for the Comets this year. To simplify the process and not make this TOO longwinded, I will avoid focusing on PTO’s that played less than 10 games who ended their season NOT contracted to the Comets.
For obvious reasons as well, I’m not gonna cover Luke Schenn’s stint in the AHL, as lets be real he’s never going to play for the Comets again, and likely will pick up a spot as Canucks 7th Dman, or continue his spot on a third pair with Quinn.
When I originally had started writing this, I felt like it was missing some flavor, so I went over my little workbook I’d been using the entire season to try and get some of the most important stats (I feel) were necessary to evaluate a players game.
Please Note, I am not a statistician or a “stats”/analytics guy by any sense…I just read a lot of athletic articles, lot of stats sites, and tried to apply what knowledge I had to the stats available to me given the absence of time-on-ice metrics available to viewers of the AHL. So hopefully I’ve made CORRECT SENSE of the simple data available to me.
Also another thing to just put out there because I feel like I’m going to get trapped in a lot of circular discussion when evaluating players seasons due to the MANY external and internal issues the plagued the Comets/Canucks seasons throughout 2018-19. A list that includes,
- 433 Man games lost due to injuries including several KEY players on the d-corps on receiving ends of season-ending injuries or injuries that took them out of commission for several months
- 289 man games lost due to call-up requirements for the Canucks, granted 73 of those are for Alex Biega (who I don’t think anyone expected to be relied upon as much as he was this season) but still…that’s a fuck load of games missed from KEY members of the squad.
- A bloated roster to start the season resulting in over 158 DIFFERENT line combinations being utilized over 76 games
- goalie problems throughout the entire Canucks organization resulting in lost draft picks, an 18 year old having his first NHL start, 3 ECHL PTO’s, too many contracts being given out in reactive trades to make up for said issues (cough MDP situation cough) not to mention the teams’ established AHL goaltender having an atrocious down year followed by a season-ending injury.
- A forward system that prioritized giving veterans and a select CORE of players to play in the bulk of the critical game scenarios like shorthanded and powerplay
I think I could list hundreds of more issues that contributed to a whack ass season when it comes to evaluation. So just preface all of my evaluations with the above things that I’ve placed into consideration when saying things like, “x player kicked ass on the blue line” when it’s like “relative to the shit show that was this season, x player s time on the blue line, he kicked ass!”
As much as I love getting stuck in circular logic and rambling, the reddit character limit kills me here hahah! So lets get into the stats info, all relatively straight forward but here goes just in case…
So to help everyone out I’ll just go left to right through my stats-sheet to explain the thought process to give everyone an idea of how everything is calculated, so it makes sense to YOU, and so I can also justify the logic in my head before I start getting paranoid about it 😀
- CRP – Current Rostered Player? – at the time I’ve had it just set to Y for yes because if it says N for No, or C as in (with the Canucks) then everything conditionally formats to shade the cells so I can ignore them easier…but since people want to read about our traded and forgotten players Ill keep it as Y
- Pos. – player position
- Name – duh
- GP – # of games played
- Shots – shots taken, stats taken from AHL.com
- G – goals scored – all game-states
- ESG – Even-strength goals scored – Counts all goals scored at 5v5/4v4/3v3 etc. etc.
- SHG – Shorthanded goals scored
- PPG – Powerplay goals scored
- ENG – Empty netter goals scored
- PSG – Goals scored on a penalty shot
- MAG – Goals scored while on a man advantage due to Utica goalie being pulled
all goals tracked in the Goal Tracker tab but verified with AHL.com tables and gameday reports
- PA – Primary assists –
- PAES – Primary Assists on Even Strength Goals
- PASHG – Primary Assists on Shorthanded goals
- PAPPG – Primary Assists on powerplay goals
- PAEN – Primary Assists on Empty Netter Goals
- PAMAg – Primary Assists on Goals Scored on a man advantage due to Utica goalie being pulled
- 2A – gonna save on character count and say, it’s the exact same shit as above but it’s the helper assist not the primary
- A – Total Assists
- PTS – Total Points
Some goalie stats in here but since we’re focusing on dmen I’ll skip
Wanted to get a better measurement of a players contributions on the ice in the absence of time-on-ice measures, and since everyone hates +/- as a stat, I deferred to a comment from Harman Dayal about 5v5 On-Ice Goal Differential being a better stat to look at. Being that I’ve tracked every goal for and against down to the period along with game states and goal types, this would be pretty easy to suss out. Granted it still isn’t the MOST accurate tell-tale stat as it doesn’t reflect the amount of time a player was on the ice for PRIOR to a goal being scored for or against, but it’s the best we got!
- OIGF – # of goals player was on-ice for – all on-ice counts were done using game reports and verified through my own goal streamables when available
- OIGA – # of goals against player was on ice for – all on-ice goals against counts were done using game reports and verified through my own goal streamables when available
- ESoiGF – # of Even-Strength Goals scored for while player was on-ice
- SHoiGF – # of Shorthanded goals scored for while player was on-ice
- PPoiGF – # of powerplay goals scored for while player was on-ice
- ENoiGF – # of Empty netter goals scored for while player was on-ice
- PSoiGF – # of penalty shot goals scored – essentially the same as PSG stat*
- MAoiGF – # of man-advantage goals scored with goalie pulled while player was on-ice
- ESoiGA – *same thing as the secondary assists thing, gotta stinge on character count – but same idea as the above stats but replace goals scored for with goals against.
- +/- – Plus Minus stats according to AHL.com
- S-+/- – *Plus Minus according to goals for and against players listed on ice by AHL.com’s OWN game reports
- oiGD – On-Ice Goal Differential at all game states
- 5v5oiGD – On-Ice Goal Differential at 5v5 – strictly counting the difference between the goals for and against the player was on ice for
- ESp – Even Strength Points as a % of the players total points
- ESpRel – Even strength points relative to teams total even strength points
- PPp – Powerplay points as a % of the players total points
- PPpRel – Players powerplay points relative to the teams total powerplay points
- ENP – Empty Netter points as a % of players total points
- ENpRel – Players empty netter points relative to teams total empty netter points
- Margin – just the difference between the players total powerplay points and their even strength points – the bigger the (-) the more points a player earned on the powerplay than at 5v5
- IVG – individual goals scored – i.e just a goalscorer recorded, no assisting player recorded
- IVC – individual goals created – i.e. the only assist recorded on the goal
- PPts – Primary points total – ignores secondary assists
- PPG – Points per game
- SH% – shooting percentage – goals/shots
- 3PG – Primary points per game
- INV% – Involvement % – Players points per game against the teams goals per game
- 2P% – % of players points that were earned off of secondary assists (kind of not as important for Dmen due to their positioning in offensive play – way more likely a puck shot from the blue line or a pass from the blue line touches two sticks before finding the back of the net
- 1Lg – # of games a player spent deployed on the 1st line
- 2Lg – # of games a player spent deployed on the 2nd line
- 3Lg – # of games a player spent deployed on the 3rd line
- 4Lg – # of games a player spent deployed on the 4th line
Kind of hard to track lines for d-men since they are deployed completely separately to forwards – but so I don’t have to type this up again when I start reviewing forwards, I’ll just include it anyway! It has to be said though, that naturally a game will have constant dynamic changes to lines based on how players are playing, injuries, # of PK’s, powerplays etc, so while these aren’t like 99.9% accurate to where a player was throughout the game as a whole, but they do capture the gist of where a player was expected to be playing in an injury-less, penalty-less, powerplay-less game.
- Pn – penalties taken
- GaPn – yes I know this abbreviation is a little suss… but it stands for Penalties Taken that lead to Goals Against
- GAPnD – Penalties taken that resulted in a goal against that put Utica at a goal deficit (either breaking a tie or opening the games scoring)
- GAPnL – Penalties taken that resulted in a goal against that forced the team into a deficit that eventually led to a loss
- Grit – Grit = # of Fighting majors
- Grit/60 – # of fighting majors per game played
McEneny by most stats counts had himself QUITE the season, coming into this year he had one year left on his deal, to prove-it to the org that he was a piece worth keeping around. Unfortunately for Evan, JB was in the media midway through the season, effectively writing Evan off as merely a depth piece, and unlikely to be called up at any point this season. A pretty shitty thing for Evan to hear in this final year, but despite the write-off, he was dominant on the blue line in the offensive zone, and spent the majority of his season stepping up huge in the absences of Juolevi, Sautner, Chatfield and countless others whom went down with injury or were called up instead of he.
Although an asterisk needs to be slapped on this as McEneny wasn’t always the powerplay QB, but after Juolevi’s season ended he was pretty much defacto PP1QB…and such, a testament to his steady play on the blue line, as the Comets went from earning 0.85 powerplay goals per game to 0.56 powerplay goals per game AFTER he went down with injury.
McEneny DOES have faults…his skating has definitely hit a wall due to the knee injuries over his career; He isn’t a total slug out there, his transition game from the D-zone through neutral ice is pretty solid all things considered, but his speed/burst ability just isn’t there and I think that inability to catch guys on rushe the opposite way is what lead to him having a D-leading 5v5 goal differential of -16.
I truly hope that if McEneny IS able to make a full recovery AND that the team at the very least gives him a tryout at this summer training camp to suss out how his knee is doing. I think he absolutely earned a look with his play this season…and with the retirement of Sifers, the team absolutely needs a veteran d-man who can ACTUALLY hit the net from the blue line.
- error recovery – here he loses the blue line, but prevents the breakaway opportunity
- good hands
- good vision and control on the powerplay
- again, McEneny one of the few remaining D-men this season who could hit the net from the blue line
- despite his skating deficiencies he still showed great hand-eye which helped him break up dozens of plays like this to negate odd-man rushes against
- Underrated passing and puck mover
Well the grizzled vet couldn’t have picked a better (or worse) season to end his career on; Loved in the locker room, adored by the greater Utica community for his on-ice and off-ice efforts for local Veterans, Sifers spent the bulk of his season trading around D-partners but still managed to find ways to contribute both offensively and defensively. Sifers was a huge component of the Comets penalty killing groups this season, countless times the guy would be double or even triple shifted for the full 2 minute kill; on many occasions too, even if he fucked up his coverage or caused a powerplay goal against, he was always the first guy to skate to the goalie and tell them the goal was on him. Based on all the Comets well-wishes for Sifers retirement, you can tell he was a beloved figure in the locker room and will likely be a very tough replacement for the Trent Cull style of hockey.
I think had their not been an overwhelming number of veterans in the roster, Sifers probably would’ve played all 76 games this season. Also its pretty crazy to me that in 70 games, Cull never put Sifers out for the powerplay, even though he was the only guy in the back half who could hit the net from the blue line with a slapper. That alone makes his 12 points at even-strength, his 1 shorthanded goal, and his single assist on an empty netter even more impressive, as they all came in situations where the team was either at a disadvantage, or at even strength which is arguably where you want your players to be able to produce the most.
On the other side of his prowess on the powerplay though, the guy was pretty brutal at taking penalties, and without him on the ice for the penalty kill, of the 23 penalties he took, 8 resulted in goals against, 3 of those which directly lead to goals that broke ties or gave the Comets opponents the win.
- Stepping up into the play for a shot on goal
- same as above but this time he scores
- Blocks a hard shot but toughs it out on one leg to box out his opponent and tie up his man at the front of the net
- I’m dead serious, besides McEneny and Juolevi, we don’t have a plethora of D-men who can hit the net from the blue line
Well Graham may have been one of the most frustrating players to watch this season; easily THE absolute fastest player on the team, the guy can fucking WHEEL across the ice, but his ability to play defense was always severely lacking, and it showed…at even strength his goal differential was second worst amongst d-men at -14. Prior to OJ48’s season ending injury, Graham was relegated to the bench to start the season, getting scratched 13 times out of the first 17 games. At the time of OJ’s injury, Jalen Chatfield ALSO went down with a broken foot, and honestly had it not been for those two injuries, I don’t think he’d have played at all for the team. The guy definitely has some flash too his game, and it was great watching him cut across the entire offensive zone before taking a shot or making a pass….but the dude simply isn’t an AHL defender; Cull even tried him several times at Forward but his defensive game at forward was somehow worse than his defensive game as a d-man. I was kind of hoping some of the stats I put together would help me change his mind…but even with his skating ability, its hard to ignore the reckless penalty taking and his lack of competence in his own end. A decent player if we’re desperate, but IMO he was getting outplayed by the PTO’s that had to fill in during injurygeddon.
- playing aggressively up in the forecheck to create offense
- serious, the speed is so good
- slick skates and shot on goal
- seriously though he is a forward trapped in a dmans role but when he gets that forward spot he freezes
- slick breakaway denial with his hand-eye
The most contentious of contentious prospects maybe in the history of ever….no I joke…but boy does this kid have a lot of people ecstatic to see him fail. To be completely honest, I’ll own up to it, I was unfairly critical of his season as it unfolded, but all things considered…the kid was coming back to NA after coming off surgery and a pretty shit training camp. The kid was solid though….obviously his skating needed serious work, but his passing and shot are fucking legit as hell. He was dynamite on the powerplay with Dahlen and MacEwen. His 5v5 on-ice goal differential was pretty bad, but I attribute that to his skating which was a known work-in-progress, several times in the season he was just beat HARD on backchecking to his own end…but I didn’t see too many flubs or mistakes under pressure…
Overall I’m excited to see what he can do off a quality training camp and offseason of rehab. I think if he gets his skating in order he might surprise us all coming out of camp. I know everyone here wants to throw out the “durrr all his points were on the powerplay! He’s baddddd” type of narrative, but I will just chime in to say, of the 21 goals he was on the ice-for this season, OJ48 was a direct contributor to 62% of those goals. And irregardless of where those goals came from, OJ48 ended the season 6th in points per game…. Yes, the team should’ve gone BPA over drafting for need in 2016, but that doesn’t mean this kid is done….he’s got A LOT of potential and I think with the right d-partner, and off-season prep, this kid gonna surprise!
- backchecking speed off his giveaways not quite there
- he can actually hit the goalie from the blue line off a one-timer
- brilliant ankle breaking play to disrupt the odd man rush
- looks great on the powerplay man good shot and movement to create space and openings
- This streamable actually pisses me off because we traded Dahlen for legit nothing, such crisp passing
- but yeah, footspeed definitely a WIP
Stefan LeBlanc for those that don’t know was acquired in the beginning of February in exchange for the struggling Tanner MacMaster. LeBlanc at the time of acquisition had been fluctuating between time on the Toronto Marlies and their ECHL affiliate, Newfoundland Growlers. The team was desperate for some depth dmen after injury took Dylan Blujus out of commission, and Guillaume Brisebois getting called up to the Canucks. Not a big offensive contributor, picking up 6 assists in 25 games played; primarily he sat in the penalty kill/shutdown role with Jaime Sifers as he logged a tonne of time on the PK.
I genuinely don’t have much on LeBlanc, being that he’s very much a defensive defenseman I don’t have too many highlights on the guy, but that isn’t to say he was unnoticeable or usless or anything, the guy was effective in his role, and was a solid addition to the teams struggling d-corps to close out the season. Given the uncertainty of McEneny’s return, I wouldn’t be shocked if the Comets brought him back for another year. His 5v5 on-ice goal diff was pretty bad, but at the time he came onto this team when EVERYTHING was bad so maybe with an actual goaltender backing him up his even-strength game might look a bit better.
Breeeeeezebahhhhhh…. I feel like I HAVE a lot to say about the 2015 3rd rounder. Easily the Canucks best two-way defenceman in the pipeline (whether that’s a good thing or not, I don’t know). Brisebois had himself a pretty decent year offensively as he was almost on pace for the same point totals he made in his debut last season. He found most of his points this season at 5-on-5 with only 1 of his points came from powerplay time. When he’s having an “on” night, BB55 is a tenacious skater who has no hesitations in stepping up to provide offense from the blue line at any occasion. Confidence obviously was his biggest issue when up with the Canucks this season, but when he found a bit of it, you could definitely see shades of his own game coming through.
Earlier in the season, prior to Brisebois’ call-up I was a bit hesitant to stoke the hype fires or get peoples hopes up because when I see the kinds of plays/misplays that Brisebois has at the AHL level, I cant help but think he, at best, would be just another Derrick Pouliot type of player, one who makes the wrong pass under pressure in his own end, but on the opposite side, given the perfect opportunity, can step in and provide a clean zone-entry and offense that pays off. Were it not for his skating and transition game, I think Brise’ hit-or-miss style wouldn’t get him anywhere past the AHL, but I do think there’s some quality to be found in his game that we don’t really have in the pipeline. He’s got some good size on him too, just needs some meat on him to not get knocked around/pushed over so much (something that happens a lot at the AHL level).
All in all, I think Brisebois could be a worthy call-up next season, the left side if kind of a nightmare to break into at this point, with Edler (possibly), Hughes, Hutton (possibly), Sautner (possibly) and Juolevi. The kid would absolutely have to build up his strength on his skates and his skating even further to make a show at camp to try and jump the line, but most importantly, and Travis Green talked about this… his confidence. We saw some glimpses of it in the short time at the end of the season, but he absolutely needs to believe in himself to get HIS game going first before JUST trying to be “additional NHL Left Defenseman.”
I could arguably give him a B+ or something since he is legitimately one of 2 young players that Cull actually relies on for penalty killing, but as a two-way d-man I’d like to see some more offense creation, a better shot, and less giveaways in his own end.
- stepping into the play for offense, held his shot a wee bit too long here though
- same game as above, putting in work playing REAL deep
- then the contrast, the same game earlier, Brise just full on freezing up on a dzone start
- just a flat out bad pass creates a 2-on-1 that ALMOST ends in a goal against
- [Pouliot like]( https://streamable.com/em1tq
- but again the offensive instincts DO pay off for him at times, really just needs to work on a stronger shot
- just cause I don’t want to seem TOO negative he does have good moments in his own end!
- knows how to get away with holding too!
- actual evidence of a u22 player on a Trent Cull PK
- I have A LOT of these streamables, not really a good thing
Wellp, lets start with the obligatory HIS FUCKING FACCCEEEEEEE… Sautner had himself quite the season, almost earned himself a spot on the roster out of training camp, a strong start to his season only to have everything fall apart due to that piece of garbage Eric Tangradi; that would not deter him however, as strong play in his return would lead to a call-up to the Canucks and fortunately (for him) missing the last 22 (miserable) games of the Comets season.
Similar to Brisebois in that, he is a solid 2 way defensemen who can provide offense in a pinch. Where he differs from the Breeze is that he doesn’t have nearly as many defensive lapses or errant passes that lead to turnovers against, he does have a few here and there like all defensemen, but its not nearly as obvious; also he’s actually strong on his skates and is thus infinitely more likely to not get out-muscled on back-checks or knocked over in battles along the boards. Sautner was one of the few Comets d-men to post a positive 5v5 Goal Differential; a stat made more impressive when you see that his time on the Comets this season saw him in front of Thatcher Demko in 7 games, Richard Bachman in 3 games, and then ECHL/PTO’s for every single other game.
Like I said for Brisebois, there’s a fuckton of competition on the left side heading into camp this summer so he’s going to have to bring a better game than he showed at last summer’s camp that almost earned him a spot. So fingers crossed for the guy as I do like what he brings, and he could absolutely be serviceable in a third pairing role, just some bigger steps in his offensive game would need to be taken at the NHL level to earn a full time shot.
- The goal in his first game back after having his face caved in
- Solid back check and active stick to disrupt his larger check along the boards
- Sautner takes a shot in the dick in one of his post-face-wrecking but gathers the strength to pick up a loose puck and wheel it away from the play
- Sautner with a quick burst to break up a HUGE breakaway chance for Joseph Blandisi
Blujus, a transplant from the Tampa Bay Lightning organization made his debut for the squad last season, posting up 16 points in 45 games played. This season was (as it was for literally everyone on this team) a rough one. Blujus missed 23 games due to injury and spent 10 games as a healthy scratch. Despite his rather lackluster 8 points in 43 games played this season, he LED the team in 5v5 On-Ice Goal Differential with a +12… maybe its easier to rack up your goal differential when you spend the 2nd most time of all d-men in the penalty box, cant get scored on at 5v5 if you’re either on the bench or in the box!
A big body on the teams right side, Blujus uses his size to negate shooting lanes, and is a frequent shot blocker for the team. Arguably one of the teams most reliable defensemen this season I’m sure the team has access to much better underlying data than I do, but I seldomly found myself catching mistakes or errors from Blujus besides the penalty taking.
I think all Comets contracted players get taken to summer camp, so in theory if the guy can improve on his skating speed, he might be able to get his name out there as a depth RD call up. Given how likely the Canucks are to experience crippling injuries on their blue line, it wouldn’t be far-fetched to possibly see Blujus called up in a pinch.
If he didn’t take so many penalties he’d definitely be in the underrated A category
- 2 shot blocks on a PK that he surprisingly didn’t create!
- Can drive to the net for offense when given space
- Solid back checking
- misses a bouncing puck at center ice that nearly leads to a goal against
- grit/60 is ok
- capable of recovering on passing errors
- gets robbed on a scoring chance after reacting well to the unfolding play
- Blujus in OT of the final game of the season boxes out Cal Foote to create a massive scoring chance
Twas an interesting season for the 2017 undrafted free agent, 40 games missed due to injury, 34 starts and a BRIEF stint up with the Canucks early on in the season. Truth be told, through the first 27 games of the season I was incredibly high on Chatfield being a sleeper breakout player for the Canucks at camp this summer….after the back half of the season though, I’m not too sure anymore.
I have to preface with, Chatfield’s injury that took him out of commission for nearly all of December and January was a foot injury that according to one of the Canucks athletic trainers, is one of THE hardest breaks to recover from as it so easily prone to re-injury. So, a part of me HAS to think that his rather unimpressive back half of the season is a result of Chatfield playing to avoid re-aggravating his injury, or even playing THROUGH his injury to not find himself sliding down the depth charts. A bold move from the young defenseman if either is true…but if not true and he (like all the Comets players) simply just outright struggled in the back half of the season with all the injuriers to major players is even more concerning.
I do like a lot of Chatfields game when he’s on…he skates like a power forward, and can enter the zone and create solid passing plays driving to the net like he was Virtanen, but when he’s OFF, oh boy is he off…between looking lethargic or disengaged, there are just times where Chatty outright looks like he’s passing out on the ice, with numerous giveaways and turnovers in their own end that lead directly to goals against. Chatfield had one of the worst 5v5 On-Ice Goal Differentials, holding at -12 on the season, the two players with worse Differentials were McENeny and Graham who played 24 and 18 more games than Chatfield respectively. A bit of a terrifying stat that would be made up if Chatfield was a potent producer, but his 6 points in 34 games put him at 13th amongst defensemen for points-per-game…so I genuinely have to dial back my earlier assessment of Chatfields upside this summer and question if it was injuries or not, because the stats overall indicate that his game at even strength is leading to way more goals against than goals for the team.
I might debate this one as the injury MIGHT have played a big role in the back half of his season, but even with his power forward skating and hard hitting style, the underlying numbers and lack of offense make it hard to say this season was a success.
- driving the play forward with hard skating
- playing aggressive with big hits, but slow to react to the puck in play
- not really on him as he was falling down, but this pairing was atrocious
- a weak pass gets picked off but fortunately Chatfield breaks up the eventual centering feed
- again a good play driver, as he plays give and go with Lukas Jasek
- another give and go play he steps up to join
- see, his lack of offensive stats ARE pretty underwhelming but that isn’t to say its not for lack of trying, the guy is ALWAYS joining the rush or creating the rush but so sledomly did it ever capitalize
- still can definitely have solid defensive plays as he blocks the passing lane at the front of the net here
- under pressure at the blue line he had a tendency to just throw it away
- again under pressure
- brain just outright AFK
Saucerman was probably the biggest thing to happen to Utica this season…so much so in fact, he’s apart of their twitter header image, and was the premier picture on their “year in review.” Like, you’d think the guy was their contracted captain or something based on how much his image has been used in their marketing. I just assumed after you’re released from your PTO you’re fair game (which was the case when they returned him to the Idaho Steelheads for the Kelly Cup playoffs).
My personal, Saucermania was actually way more based on the stats and eyetest than the typical “HE HAS A BIG BEARD, THEREFORE I LOVE HIS PLAY!” that most of the Utica casuals, and marketing squad would have you believe. Despite only playing 24 games on a 2nd/3rd pairing role, utilizing time on the PK AND the powerplay (seldomly in later games), Saucerman was actually…kind of legit. With 4 points in those 24 games, including a goal in his debut, every single one came at even strength, but more importantly, the guy was a major driver of offense at even strength, being on the ice for 21 goals for in 24 games is pretty legit. Beating out Stefan LeBlanc AND Jalen Chatfield in that category; He ended his time with the Comets with the 2nd highest 5v5 On-Ice Goal Differential for defencemen with a +7.
I really liked his game this season; kind of like Tyler Motte, I never really notice a players size if they play bigger than they are…I was pretty shocked to see Motte was only 5’10” because the guy plays with the tenacity of someone much bigger…likewise, I was genuinely shocked to see Saucerman was only 5’9”, because the guy plays a very physical, hard-hitting style of play that you just wouldn’t expect from a guy smaller than Troy Stecher.
Maybe the beard just makes people ignore the fact that he plays solid hockey…in 136 regular season games in the ECHL, Saucerman has 88 points, and 23 points in 55 playoff games. Across 5 AHL teams, and 41 games played the sauce has racked up a pretty impressive 9 points and a +/- of +17. I’m not saying this guy is NHL caliber, give him a contract type of shit…but sometimes players need to be given a real shot to blossom. I wouldn’t be opposed to seeing Blujus, Chatfield and Rafferty filling out the right side of our D-core with Saucerman as a 7th D. We absolutely need players who can drive offense; the stats and the gameplay show that he can both defend well at even strength and on the PK while actually generating offense. So why not put him with a Brisebois, a Juolevi, a Sautner to try and boost their contributions at even strength.
Not even homer glasses or anything, I’ve been all for Saucerman getting a regular spot in the lineup over guys like Craig Wyszomirski, Matt Petgrave, Cliff Watson etc etc etc but I think his PTO status kept him to only a certain amount of games… would hope the team gives him a chance, because he was one of the few D-men who looked genuinely solid playing on the ice with Adam Gaudette and the other young guns.
- did I forget to mention that Sauce can hit the net from the blue line
- escaping his much larger check to allow the pressure Comets to clear and change
- poke check to deny a zone entry
- breaking up the odd man rush with the stick
- Saucerman steps up to help along the boards, fish the puck and set up on the blueline, his fellow PTO compadre has his controller disconnect and immediately loses possession for the squad
- breaks up the passing play at the front of the net AND behind the net
- guy has a good active stick, as he denies the cross-ice breakaway pass
- pretty sick toe-drag
- his goal in his Comets debut was a slick shot too
After the season was said and done, and with Jaime Sifers retirement, this is what GMJB and GMRJ are working with when plotting out the 2019-20 season. I’m including Saucerman because the Utica org is acting like he’s still on their roster.
|Van||Quinn Hughes||Chris Tanev|
|Van||Alex Edler(UFA)||Troy Stecher|
|Van||Ben Hutton(RFA)||Alex Biega|
|Van||Olli Juolevi||Luke Schenn(UFA)|
|Van||Guillaume Brisebois||Mitch Eliot|
|Van||Ashton Sautner||Jalen Chatfield|
|Van||Josh Teves (RFA)||Brogan Rafferty(RFA)|
|Utica||Stefan LeBlanc||Dylan Blujus|
|Utica||Jagger Dirk||Jesse Graham|
|Utica||Brandon Anselmini||Colton Saucerman(PTO)|
The above is in absolutely no particular order, but it shows that theres quite a lot for the management group to figure out…between the serious injuries to Tanev and McEneny this season, the surprise of Luke Schenn, the contract situations of Hutton, Edler plus the several NCAA RFAS’s and AHL expiring deals… theres lots to figure out, but with the management decisions this past season, I genuinely don’t know what the plan is.
Again I wholeheartedly apologize for the lateness of this post…organizing a house purchase, move, working full time, the general mania of life, its been really hard to set aside time and stare at excel sheets and try to analyze an absolute disaster of a season for the Comets.
I would absolutely hope that I can try and get a review of the Comets forward group done but with my closing date and move-in date happening this upcoming week, and the fact that im downgrading to some AWFUL internet service, I cant guarantee it comes anytime soon. For now, any questions on the spreadsheet, the stats, the opinions I have on some of the players, just throw em down in the comments and I’ll be damn glad to answer and talk shop!
As always, if you enjoyed this content, you can catch up on old issues of the Farmies (tentatively schedule for a name rebrand due to the untimely passing of Botchford, I just don’t think it’s right to use a piece of wordplay on everything he accomplished) at my blogsite here