Whats up r/canucks! How’s that offseason treating you? Since this looks to be a slow one, its about time I got around to reviewing those pesky Utica Comets forwards! Oh and I actually maxxed out the character limit on this so will have to put the guys still with us in the bulk, and then a “the ones we lost along the way” in the comments haha.
All the stats I’m pulling from were painstakingly pulled from a spreadsheet I put together on the season, which you can find here!
Again please note that there are a shit ton of asterisks when it comes to evaluating players seasons, since I don’t want to have to point out these issues in every players evaluation, let’s just go into each players examination knowing the following;
- A lack of quality goaltending for the bulk of the season badly inflated the teams goals against totals
- A truly insane number of long term injuries to those in the middle and bottom 6, forcing players in the top 6 to play WAY more than is probably beneficial
- Injuries to the Canucks themselves that forced the call-up of effectively the teams top center and d-core
- Glut of wingers on the team resulted in a baffling amount of line combinations up and down the lineup that resulted in a serious lack of chemistry being developed
- A defense oriented coach who absolutely had favorites which forced some players into incredibly marginal roles, leading to inflated/deflated offensive/defensive stats
OH and one other thing, please remember I’m evaluating these guys relative to each-other not like relative to the AHL as a whole or to NHL players…OK now that that’s out of the way lets get into evaluating how our forward group fare on the farm!
Better write this shit up quick before he gets traded somewhere! Boucher had himself his best year of pro hockey since his debut back in 2012 with the Albany Devils. The meme earlier this year was that Boucher as a new father had summoned the powers of dad-strength to see his shot increase in lethality. Nearly every time the puck touched his stick, he was taking shots on net. Boucher registered 227 shots on goals in 2018-19, 51 more than the next leading player in Zack MacEwen. Boucher was 4th amongst Utica’s forwards in GF% with 58%, (funnily enough of the 3 players above him, 2 were traded to different teams (Dahlen 2nd, Carcone 3rd). Boucher also led the team in primary points % and involvement %; Essentially he was gud.
There were times this season where Boucher looked quite lethargic and looked to be half-assing it, but he definitely stepped up his game to contribute offensively and defensively when he could. His skating has always been fine at the AHL level, but obviously theres quite the disconnect between his game at the AHL level and his game at the NHL level…so while it would’ve been nice to see him rocket some shots on the powerplay, I just don’t think he’ll be anything more than an AHL’er.
- Absolute snipe from a ridiculous angle
- picks the puck off the enemy D to create a rush the other way, and takes the non-selfish play to try setup MacEwen
- again, solid vision on his passing
- the slap pass was one of my favorites from him, great accuracy
- time and space on the right side were mostly capitalize on
- shooting machine – this is him capitalizing on his NINTH shot of the game
- had a tendency in games to just downright stop battling to bitch to refs
- footspeed at the AHL level was just OK, but it did get better
- Hockey IQ: loved this takeaway and slap pass off the boards directly to the opposing tendy to give the Comets a offensive zone start
- again, effort levels at times this season were questionable at best
One of the best parts of this season was watching MacEwen’s meteoric rise to a stint with the Canucks last season. Not just earning that stint, but busting his ass for it like no other I’ve seen. Skating, hustle, size, shooting, the kid has got all the right tools in the toolbox to make a serious run for an NHL roster spot. The question is do the Canucks even have space for him?
His defensive game is still a massive work in progress, but I have faith in his ability to pick up that aspect of the game. His improvement rate has been impressive, and no doubt the move from center to the wings can be credited with the success in his late blooming development.
MacEwen was 3rd on the team for points and was credited for points on 63% of the goals he was on ice for. He was however was tied with Carter Bancks amongst all forwards for the worst goal differential at even strength at -11. That’s 3rd amongst all Comets players (D included) for even strength goal differential. Again, these are pretty basic stats so they don’t factor a lot, but at the very least tell us that there’s still some work to do in the other areas of his gameplay!
But Yeah I don’t want to end the MacEwen talks like I’m trying to poo-poo the upside of MacEwen…Just remember there’s still room to grow, and fingers crossed he has a great summer training and proves he can find that level of success he found in 2018-19 again in 2019-20.
- silky mitts
- board battle into generating a shot in tight through traffic
- the most disgusting backcheck I’ve ever seen look where he is at the start of this play and how far ahead the forward is when he receives the pass
- puck control game strong
- again his ability to move the puck up the ice is sooo good using that length to shift the puck behind the defender then quick skates to burn past them
- seriously, the footspeed burst agility is nuts that speed alone can get him far in the NHL
- Horvat-like with his hustle to deny the icing
- Captain-like attitude
- seriously, give me a kid with this speed in the NHL any day over the guys coasting
- Gonna run out of characters in this post from showing this kids highlights but his flash, and speed to get around defenders is just sooo slick
- this is the hustle I want on my hockey teams im invested in, a guy at the end of a 3 minute shift, hustling down the wing to gain the zone and drive to the net to try and tie the game
- grit/60 through the roof
Ohhhh baby, Jazzy Jasek, my favorite prospect to watch this season; After spending his D+1 in the Czech U20 league, then his D+2 in the 2nd tier Czech mens league I don’t think anyone expected this guy to come into NA hockey the way Jasek did. After a fairly successful first season in the Czech elite league, Jazzy J came into the end of last season on a burner, 3 goals and 4 assists in just 6 games with all but 2 coming at even strength. The kid just kind of lit it up, out of nowhere.
At 5’11” 165 lbs, he isn’t the biggest player on the ice, but he’s incredibly effective in the areas where you’d expect success to come from someone with a BIG body or a big frame. His work in the corners was an absolute treat to watch all season. I think I said it in my hit on TSN1040 (shameless plug) pleasedontlistentoitthoughimsoembarassing, but Jasek throughout this season was the kind of effective two player that I THINK Travis Green wanted Nikolay Goldobin to be.
An effective two-way winger, Jasek shined along the boards and his defensive game and decent skating are what led to him having the lowest presence on ice for goals against at even strength. The only players with less goals against at even strength were Kole Lind and Brendan Woods, who were EXCLUSIVELY deployed in a 3rd/4th line capacity and thus had marginal minutes…wheras Lukas Jasek almost exclusively was deployed on the first line with Kero and Boucher or on the 2nd line with a hodge podge of linemates.
Speaking of teammates, Jasek led the team in a rather bizarre stat, in that he had the largest variety of line combination featured on than any other player on the team. Jasek had 4 different line combos spent in 5 games as a centerman, 9 line combos across 23 games on the left side and 20 different line combos in 35 games as a right winger.
All this just speaks to the absolute perfect utility winger he Is; effective in all positions in both ends of the ice, with the stats to back up his play. Truly, I hope he works on his shot and his skate speed over the summer, I think his rather weak shot is probably the only thing that will prevent him from getting a call up to the show. His skating is solid at the AHL level, but like MacEwen, he needs that distinct EDGE in a specific skill to warrant a call up stint with the big club. Kind of like Reid Boucher having just a mammoth shot but still not being able to get a call-up…Zack MacEwen having the hands and the skating….Lukas Jasek has the utility, the passing and the vision, but he just lacks that bonafide trait that can get him some time in the NHL.
In a season dominated by the talk of Dahlen, Palmu and the disappointing seasons of Lind and Gadjovich, I felt that Lukas Jasek was sort of the forgotten soldier here despite having himself, statistically, a wildly successful NA pro debut. I didn’t even mention the outright stats that he excelled in, his 5v5 on-ice Goal Differential was the best amongst Comets forwards with a +4, 75% of his 28 points came at even-strength.
- decent hands
- two-way game on display here; breaks up a pass, skates through to the neutral zone to create a scoring chance
- strong base on the boards to set up the dman for a shot
- again through netural ice the guy was a zone entry machine
- another example of zone entry ability and play creation
- blocks the shot to create a rush the other way and still crashes the net for the follow up chance
- another takeaway creating a rush that leads to a goal
- his passing vision is solid, had some fantastic cross-ice passes all year
- he does have SOME shot strength, like this slapper that went off the bar
- again all my streamable feed is, is Jasek with CLEAN zone entries where the only way he’s stopped is outright interference
- again his base cant be questioned, as he holds the puck away from the 6’4” 227 pound Eric Tangradi
- again his control on the boards
- his work from the left was a perfectly fine and adequate replacement to Dahlen
- seriously, the passing game is mint
- can pick a corner with his shot in tight real gud
- just watch this shift of his that encapsulates his game pretty well, board control, and movement all over the ice to cover on the defensive side WHILE still trying to create plays for his linemates Kero and Boucher…loved his game all year.
The equivalent of the sea of Granlund with the Canucks, Cam Darcy was a bit of an enigma to me…a guy with lightning fast skates who took awful penalties constantly but could come in clutch at seemingly any moment; a guy who I honestly thought would’ve ended up much lower on the point totals column, but actually ended up 8th on team scoring last season. Outside of the skating and the solo-playdriving, there just truly wasn’t much else to his game besides that.
Darcy was found all over the lineup, playing center across all 4 lines with a wide variety of linemates, he ended his season with the 4th worst even strength goal differential amongst forwards, but led the team in individual goals scored (i.e solo drives to the net that resulted in goals assisted by no one). Yeah not much else to say, good luck to him as he joins the St. Louis Blues farm squad. I don’t really know how to evaluate his season with the Comets to be honest…because it just felt like as a centerman, he didn’t offer much in terms of playmaking, he wasn’t reliable to be on the PK it was literally just, bursts of speed and occasional play setups.
I guess because he didn’t offer much playmaking despite being a centermen I have to grade him on that alone and I certainly wasn’t much.
- weak penalties
- oh he also had a tendency to also get high-sticked and draw penalties…like A LOT
- his ability to score clutch goals though was pretty funny
- he was definitely a 1v5 kind of player, more likely to create his own chances than succeed with others
- this is more likely a Jasek passing highlight, but the clutch goals thing
- but see his solo drive game is solid and here he drew the penalty so like I said, at TIMES he can be effective on the ice
Ok, someone who while not contractually obligated to the Comets, but NOT contractually signed anywhere else either! It’s Brendan Woods!
Brendan was the teams defacto 3rd/4th line center for the majority of the season but a guy who could slide up to the 2nd line in a pinch so long he was paired with someone like Zach MacEwen . The fact that he WAS being drawn up to the second line though speaks to the major lack of center depth the team had this past season. Woods wasn’t particularily gifted in play creation, or offense generation…he couldn’t gain the zone as well as some of the young rookie wingers the team had, but he was big, could skate fast, could stand up for his guys…the absolute prototypical “locker-room grit guy” that Jim Benning and co love and adore.
Don’t have much to say on the guy, I liked his tenacity and skating, but its hard to give praise to centers when they cannot produce with YOUNG dynamic goalscorers when they’re paired with them.
I believe Woods was one of the guys Jim Benning and Ryan Johnson said they’d like to have return next season so it’s quite plainly obvious why they’d want him back…I’m not opposed since its not like the team is getting any new rookie influx this season so they should have the space to accommodate a player like him.
- Led the team in grit/60
- decent shot when allotted the time and space
- decent motor to charge the net
- not the silkiest of mitts, but he still scored!
- solid skates, like I said
- found most of his goal scoring success from the inside of the circle
- was really not TOO hot in his own end though
Perhaps one of the most discussed, “what happened to” players of the 2018-19 season for the Vancouver Canucks was Kole Lind…everybodys favorite Jimbo meme “why is nobody taking Kole Lind”…did we find out WHY this season?
Nah….lets be real, Lind is in his D+2 making his PRO debut…from the 2017 draft, all the non-overager players making their pro-debut this season were almost exclusively from the first round. The D+2 guys taken after the 1st round, theres actually only 29 of them. And of those, only 9 players actually played a full season in the AHL. The leader in points of those making their debut was Drake Batherson, who seems like an anomaly as a 4th round draft pick who had a monsterous year in Belleville; earning himself a 20 game stint with Ottawa also.
Amongst those taken in the 2nd round, there was only 1 guy who outperformed Lind and Gadjovich in games played and points, and that was the Vegas Golden Knights Nic Hague, who was taken just 1 spot after Kole Lind @ 34thOA. Oh Vegas’ Golden Knights also ended up in the Calder Finals, so theres something to be said about quality of teammates there as well.
I’ll basically mooch off one of my comments earlier about those evaluating Lind…as it stands, Lind played exactly as you’d expect a kid making the jump from junior would…Aggressive in the offensive zone, a bit slow defensively, a little lost in the hectic plays through the neutral zone and the offensive zone, but he generally played with good intentions and had the right idea for his positioning, if only his skating could match his hockey IQ.
Truthfully, there were MANY times this season where Lind had breakaway opportunities through the neutral zone but outright did not have strength on his skates for agility bursts and would outright eat shit on the ice trying to break away from the pack.
So yeah, bottom line is, while obviously, not a breakout season, but expecting some Petterson-like dynamo at the AHL level is quite unfair. He’ll obviously take a couple years to develop and there are obviously good indicators there that he can progress well. So temper the expectations and give the kid a break. He had a brutal injury this season that took him out of 21 games but when he came back he still played with an edge, was an instigator at the front of the net and was constantly trying to draw the penalty…an aspect I haven’t seen from ANY Canucks draft pick in the AHL or NHL otherwise
- got dominated via a suicide pass
- great takeaway late in a game to gain the zone and get a sharp angle shot
- when the kid did have the time and space he could absolutely snipe
- slick ass toe drag but an absolute robbery on the shot
- this is more down to the Penguins playing like shit but a snipe no less
- can definitely pick his corners
- what im talking about when I say he needs better strength on his skates for those breakaway bursts
- the tic-tac-toe heard round the world
- agitator role not something you see from a rookie
- elite penalty drawer, like for real the guy draws a shit tone
- good vision to set up his center for the scoring chance
- aint afraid to get scrappy
- even pulls a role reversal and steps in to defend his captain
Ok, onto the next “veteran who adds practically nothing.” With Carter Bancks, I’m genuinely not sure what the team gets…a guy who can PK, and who can skate at a pro hockey level. I’m still mystified that the brass thought that giving Bancks a TWO YEAR AHL DEAL as a non-producing winger. Like seriously, when I say non-producing im not just saying that to be funny. In 22 Comets calder cup playoff games, he has exactly 1 assist……ONE….singular. His career best year was 2015-16 when he got 14 goals and 25 assists, and has been trending downwards since in his production. His ability as a utility forward who can play all three positions, plus the injury woes are definitely what kept him as a mainstay…but he truly offers nothing offensively. He tied with MacEwen for the worst even-strength goal differential, which again, is another red flag for everyone here to NOT get too hyped for MacEwen as this guaranteed NHL’er okay….TEMPER CHILDREN…TEMPER THOSE EXPECTATIONS.
- one of his four goals this season
- grit/60 to defend Gaudsplan off a big hit
- this solid PK shift of his where he chews a healthy amount of time on his own
- about 99% sure he blocks this shot with his dick to hold the lead
- one of the few goals he did get is pretty non-chalant just wish there was more from a guy on a two year deal taking up a forward spot but its unfair to blame him for that
Alright…im going to have to preface this one, because lowkey…I actually loved watching Arseneau play haha. He wasn’t a strong skater by any stretch…proto-typical goon type hockey; Fight when ya need to, don’t get scored on, don’t get caught on the ice in your own end…that type of shit. But man there was something about his shot and the way he threw his body around that was just awesome. With 9 goals, he was actually 9th on the team in goals scored, 7th if you take out Dahlen and Archibald haha. All of them at even strength too.
But yeah he’s kind of what you’d WANT in a 4th line winger, a guy who can throw around the body and score if he really needs to. And he did. He managed to be on the ice for 13 goals at evens, and given he scored 9 of them, I’d say that’s a pretty decent contribution from the big guy. Their really isn’t much to behold stat wise from the guy, but I dunno…out of all the misery and sadness that was the Comets season, it was enjoyable to watch the Big Frenchman with the purple stick light it up on the 4th line haha. Plus he kept up with the rookies when paired with them and contributed on a few goals on their lines too so I appreciated his play.
- Quite a decent shot for a a guy contracted to basically be a meathead
- crushing hits
- remember NHL Hitz?
- lol him reverse hitting someone here is great haha
- he actually played pretty well when paired up with Gadjovich
- and Lind for that matter
- good grit/60
Well, it was a bit of a weird season for the 22 year old Braintree native…I KNOW…I looked it up too…but Braintree is an actual city name. It’s the place where some dude was getting’ Brain at a tree I guess? Like A LOT.
Peculiar in that, Gaudsplan spent just a mere 14 games with the Comets for 2018-19, exclusively in a 1st/2nd line capacity. The hockey Gaud spent surprisingly MOST of his time playing with his fellow rookies, Kole Lind, Petrus Palmu, Lukas Jasek and Johnathan Dahlen. Despite seemingly playing with young guns the entire time, Gaudette managed an impressive 0.79 points per game and a shooting % of 13%. Oh and 82% of his points this season were primary points which put him 7th among Comets forwards on the year.
In his sheltered time with the Canucks, I always felt like I didn’t get a good look at his play, or maybe he was just so margianilized playing with guys like Markus Granlund or Loui Eriksson that I just flat out didn’t ever really see what he could do…but during his brief time with the Comets this season it felt like I had a good understanding of what he was capable of
Reliable defensively, he posted one of the better GF%’s of the Comets forward group at 65%. (that’s the rate at which while on the ice he was either scoring goals for or getting scored on. Less than 50% = getting scored on more while on the ice than scoring goals for). Obviously that clip would dip further with more games played and icetime, but as it stands he was QUITE responsible defensively and honestly spent the majority of his time carving through neutral ice, gaining the zone and creating scoring chances…the guy can wheel and create chances off his skating, it’s a shame he hasn’t found that ability yet at the NHL level…maybe with more dynamic skaters on his line he can get some more confidence to do so? But as it stands he might need some more seasoning at the AHL level to raise his confidence level.
I think the best compliment I can make of Gaudette’s time with the Comets is that he wasn’t ACTIVELY bringing down his linemates…something which can’t be said about some of the forward crop that spent time with the team. He looked to have been creating some serious chemistry with Kole Lind, and unfortunately after Lind’s injury and Gaudettes call-up, I think that lost chemistry actually caused Lind to lose a bit of confidence in his game and thus regressed quite a bit, mid-season. But alas this is about Gaudette so I’ll just end with the fact that Gaudette was actually MORE effective at scoring scoles at 5-on-5 than he was on the powerplay speaks to his ability as a difference making centerman. Really hoping the Canucks either ship out some dead assets and make a permanent spot just to see if he can sink or swim, or they leave him down for a full season in the AHL to fully round out his game instead of this awkward half and half stage, where he’s playing two different coaches systems.
I’d arguably give him an A+, but he was kind of inconsistent with his production, his 11 points came from just 6 of his 14 games played. So he definitely needs to find some consistency a bit in his production…though I will say in two of those games he didn’t get a point in he had 7 and 6 registered shots…so it wasn’t for a lack of trying.
- Saw this once or twice in the NHL where he hits the breaks to earn just a bit more space from he and the defender to get a shot on goal
- enjoyed this move to gain the puck at neutral ice then dangle through a few players to establish a scoring chance for the team
- the hitting of the brakes after gaining the zone is almost like a specialty. I dig it
- awful angle, but sick toe drag to powerplay goal
- again, his transition game at the AHL level is slick
- he isn’t perfect though, and has had some gaffes like this giveaway
- solid netfront tip
- wicked ass shot from the top of the circle
Another one of the 2-year AHL deal guys that the brass signed last summer. I can kind of understand where they were coming from…they needed centers…but why hitch your horse to a guy who is at best a Loui Eriksson of the AHL….a decent enough penalty killer, but an absolute penalty taking machine. 33 PIM’s, with one for fighting in 23 games played; that’s like 1 every 2nd game…which if you’re the coaches most reliable PK centermen, then why are you constantly taking stupid penalties?
Hamilton was a bit of a chore to watch, he had solid skating, but absolutely awful goal scoring instincts. Though he did churn out 26 shots in 23 games, so he was trying, but his shot was weak af. The most positives I can say is he could occasionally chip in offense at even strength. He still got scored on more often than he scored while at even strength…but he could at least TRY.
The guy had hustle I’ll give him that so I can see what the management group is trying to say, like if you hustle, skate hard and constantly put in effort (even if you cant score for shit) we’ll do right by you and provide opportunity. The guy also had a pretty brutal concussion to deal with to start the season that I think he got from the Canucks pre-season training camp. That then turned into a neck injury that took him out of basically the entire month of March. So a rough year for the veteran, but he toughed it out and provided at least SOME highlights.
Rough year where he didn’t really produce; hard worker, but his liability to take more penalties than DEFEND penalties meant that he was basically just a body who could MAYBE pinch some offense here and there.
- his lone goal on the season that was a COMPLETE freebie haha
- his one fight to pump his grit/60 up
- Hamilton chewing a tonne of PK time himself
- example of his fourth line crew doing work only for Hamilton to TAKE a penalty
- lack of goalscoring instincts after the rookies give him a doozy to work with
Ay another member of the Comets rookie influx!
According to the late great Jason Botchford, Gadjovich had been playing through a pretty nasty injury through summer training camp that bled into the beginning of the season…and a majority of the healthy scratches were to allow him some recovery time. Which kind of makes sense because he was off and on healthy scratched for the month of October and into November, then after early February was basically an established starter, with his only games missed being due to breaking his hand in a fight lol.
yes…his season wasn’t great as a whole…his production wasn’t too hot, but the guy wasn’t drafted to be a goalscoring playmaking offsenive dynamo…they basically signed him because he was big, could skate, and could possible be an effective producer in the bottom 6. He scored one less goal than Kole Lind and earned all but 1 point at even strength and his 5v5 goal differential was also only a -2; Which is better than his other 4th line counterparts who played similar roles; Hamilton -1, Bancks -11, Arseneau +1. So honestly not too bad for the guy.
I dunno, re-read what I wrote about Kole Lind and then apply it here about Gadj…except remember that Lind was drafted to be an offensive goalscorer and Gadjovich was basically drafted to become a high-energy sandpaper type of guy who could score on your 3rd or 4th line. So give the two a break. They’re still young and I posit that the strides Gadjovich specifically made in his final month of play were VERY encouraging…his skating appeared to do a complete 180, his positioning was solid, he was dominating the o-zone with puck control, he was the cause of SEVERAL opening goals for the Comets to wrap up their season…all-in-all it was like his game clicked a bit towards the end there and I feel ok in saying that he’s going to have a solid sophomore season. He’s obviously still a ways away from ever earning a call-up, but the improvement signs were great!
A hard D in the first half as his skating was just completely not AHL level, but a solid B- in the backhalf of the season to round it out.
- Clutch goal to tie the game late in the 3rd period after getting to the net
- Steals a puck from a cluster of bodies to spring Hamilton on a breakaway and then Hamilton….does nothing so yeah maybe a quality centerman might do Jonah some good
- grit/60 at his age pretty impressive already
- great pass to center, crashes the net and a little grit/60
- crashes the net and it pays off as he nets a through the legs backhander goal
- the Gadj of the start of the season wouldn’t have the wheels to attempt a drive down the wing to cut towards the net
- again the skating really came around this play itself to gain the zone for the Comets resulted in the Comets getting the opening goal off a shot from Arseneau who came on the ice to replace a changing Gadjovich
- he’s got a good ability to get those netfront rebounds in the goal
- great steal to deny a cross-ice feed then gains the zone for a shot on goal then crashes the net
- pretty decent passing too
- one of the upsides to his late surge was his ability to recover on his own errors and create
- the netfront too good
- still learning the reads on the play though
- his zone entries even after defensive starts got up there in quality too
- solid hustle
- cant deny his compete really liked his game when he started putting it together
A late NCAA free agent pick up, Seamus Malone spent four years with the Universit of Wisconsi, netting himself 33 goals and 71 assists in 143 games played. I didn’t really know what to expect from Malone upon his debut, but he showed a promising game immediately upon arrival. Malone added a MUCH needed goal scoring touch to a Comets lineup that was just absolutely atrocious at getting pucks on net.
Malone is listed as a center and he played two games for the Comets in that role, but they immediately flipped him to the wings to try him out there instead to decent success. It wasn’t exactly a big sample size, but in his 6 game stint he posted a positive GF% while being effective at even strength and on the powerplay while playing in three different positions at Forward…gotta like when a guy can come in immediately and have an impact like that; ESPECIALLY given just how shitty the Comets were doing prior to his arrival.
All in all I liked what I saw and look forward to seeing what he can do next season after a training camp with the Canucks. Also he broke his arm to end his AHL debut season which is the probably the most Canuck way to go about it.
- Decent skates and pass to try set up Kero at the front of the net
- shootout goal
- you can see his centerman instincts while playing on the wing as he takes a pass and immediately cuts quick through center to set up his streaking D man
- solid skates and active stick to fly through neutral ice and set up Arseneau
- and of course his goal in his pro debut game
- solid pass to setup his center crashing the net
You see, I have all the time in the world to discuss the upsides and positives of Palmu’s game…but I think the R/Canucks crowd has soured on the negativity of the Benning regime, so I wont get into it. I think he had a different linemate every single game he played and the lack of chemistry with anyone NOT named Jonah Gadjovich lends credence to the idea that Trent Cull just outright didn’t like Palmu’s playstyle, nor knew what to do with him, given how inundated he was with Top 6 wingers
Me personally, I thought despite his size and his lack of agility burst, I thought his edgework was clean, his passing was crisp, his playmaking was slick and his hustle and effort were fully committed… that’s kind of why I find it hard to believe the whole, “GUYS ARE LAZY” narrative…he basically did everything the coach wanted him to do…play 4th line, grinder, hard along the boards, gritty hockey….which is like the antithesis of how Liiga ROOKIE OF THE YEAR Petrus Palmu found his successes. So spare me your comments about him just being bad…I think he could
Is he going to be a first liner NHL’er, probably not…But he does have potential to be at the very least DECENT at the AHL level, which is what this organization should want…an AHL farm team full of guys they drafted who at the very least are competent and decent. Not sure what shipping these guys out for nothing, or not re-signing does for the supposed, “draft guru” management with the “draft and develop” strategy.
Not as bad of a player as people think, but obviously skating and agility need work to succeed at the AHL level at the very least…no clue if he ever returns to be honest, probably has to earn a spot out of training camp because I cant imagine he’d want to play for Cull again
The fact that he left for Liiga AND Dahlen supposedly “wanted out” bodes horribly for the Canucks farm teama management group, and the fact that no internal review or audit was done absolutely baffles me. The fact that JB flew to Utica for a triple header weekend and upon arrival declared there to be nothing wrong is just a complete head scratcher.
- Laying a hit on a 6’1” player
- active stick and aggressive forecheck
- great pass to Brisebois at the bottom of the circle from the boards
- bank pass off the boards to set up Gardiner
- loved this turning pass to spring Dylan Blujus on a breakaway to tie the game
- this pass also to Blujus along the blue line was slick
- slow backcheck and misses a wild centering feed
- he’s one of the few Comet players this year who’s backhand passes didn’t piss me off
The Ones We Lost Along the Way
A literal NHL quality centerman who could contribute major minutes in ALL situations effectively; I genuinely have to wonder why during the injurygeddon of the Canucks, they didn’t keep Gaudette down in Utica to get 1st line center minutes in all situations while letting Kero handle the role that Gaudette struggled with.
In fact, the more I think about it, the more I’m kinda lost on letting Kero go at all, when he was on an incredibly cheap deal and arguably fits the mold of a Travis Green type of two-way player that this team desperately wants its players to be. Creative playmaking, wicked shot, fantastic hustle. Not a guy you break the org over, but a guy that you probably shouldn’t let go for nothing.
- aggressive forechecking
- good puck vision to tie the game at 1 while being tied up
- great puck control along the boards between he and Lukas Jasek
- solid net front presence, practically all his goals came from the front of the net
- one timer was slick too
Well, what is there to really say about Gaunce…a solid 2 way player at the AHL level, his footspeed was always going to hold him back at the NHL level, and while I thought that this year MIGHT have been his breakout year, It appears that the Canucks brass had seen enough and were ready to move on after his brief stint early on in the season.
I actually thought he was having some breakthrough offensive season in the AHL when I saw that his last full season in the AHL on a MUCH better Comets squad in 2015-16 saw Gaunce get 38 points in 46 games, wheras in this season it took him 14 additional games to reach his career high…so what I thought was his breakthrough for like…the MAJORITY of the season, ended up being spectacularily less impressive lol.
I still liked Gaunce’s game; the patented penalty kill breakaway that he ALWAYS got himself was funny, especially knowing that he led the Comets in shorthanded goals and assists for; so it was like, if he got himself a shorthanded chance you almost KNEW it was going to work haha…so I appreciate him for that.
- Slick tic-tac-toe with Lind and Dahlen
- the patented shorthandy
- his spinoramas/60 was off the charts
- beauty of a chip pass to Gaudette
- see, im not joking, shorthanded Gaunce is unstoppable
- what is with him and bizarre looking goals
- decent backcheck to break up the scoring chance
Used almost exclusively on the 1st and 2nd lines this past season, Dahlen found himself as the defecto boardman for the 1st Unit Powerplay, and ironically, after losing Juolevi, Dahlen AND McEneny, IN A COMPLETELY UNRELATED EVENT, the Comets powerplay completely collapsed in effectiveness…but that’s neither here nor there..
One of the major arguments against Dahlen this season was his inability to produce at even strength, which Is certainly not wrong…Dahlen was on the ice for exactly 22 goals scored at even strength, players that I have routinely made fun of for NOT producing AT ALL had better presence rates at even strength for goals scored, including Carter Bancks (who had a grand total of 15 points but was on the ice for 24 goals scored at evens) and Brendan Woods who was on the ice for 20 goals scored at even strength despite almost exclusively playing 3rd and 4th line minutes. In fact Dahlen lead ALL forwards in powerplay points %, earning 59% of his points off the time spent on the man advantage.
It is worth noting that Dahlen had 23 different line combos he was apart of, meaning nearly every 2nd game he was playing with someone new. Although Lukas Jasek played in something like 33 different line combinations and made it work succesfully so might be tought to give him the out on that one.
I dunno, I feel like the Dahlen debate has been done to death by now, yah it sucks to bail on him THIS early; according to some player agents (paraphrasing JD Burke), the stories NOT told about what was going on in Utica make it seem like a complete and total nightmare, so I genuinely don’t know what to believe anymore…I can’t imagine Dahlen was up his ass that much and thought he deserved an NHL spot already, he was pretty humble in his interview while in San Jose…I’m sure some truth will come to light upon the next regime changes for the Canucks and Comets brass, but until then, its just tiring to speculate over what happened to a player who was up until this year, like THE major prospect waiting in the wings to play with the club.
- Silky mitts
- great patience on drives to the net
- crisp passing through traffic
- like, we criticize his reliance on the powerplay to produce, but fuck his passing through traffic from the left side was awesome
- good vision to capitalize on loose pucks at the front of the net
- the no-look pass was best done by him
- speed was decent enough for a first year NA player
- pretty sick slapshot too
- let it be known that it was never a case of Dahlen being lazy or anything, his skating like most of the rookies was a WIP, but the kid DID put in work on the forecheck
Pyatt was pretty much as advertised. A decent defensive winger who could produce in a pinch on the top lines…he wasn’t lighting it up by any stretch, but he was stable, which is all you can really expect from a 32 year old winger getting cemented to the minors. His 19 points came in just 13 of his 37 games played with the Comets so I do wish there was a bit more consistency with his game…but to be fair there was hardly any consistency to anyones games in the final 16 games of the season so its whatever.
- shorthanded goal!
- even with 6 goals, I’d still say his shot lacked strength
- slotted in nicely when playing with the rookies though
- decent takeaway to deny an offensive try
- decent enough shot when he has the angle
Does anyone really want me to talk about 20 games of Carcone? I dunno, he been gone for so long now, kind of no point, Toronto flipped him and Connor Brown to get rid of Zaitsev so I mean, I guess Canucks won the trade? Leivo signed to a pretty decent deal so yeah…ill just throw up some highlights of Carcone to appease the Sens fans who find this in a google search.
GRADE: B (possibly B+ if Leivo nets more than 30 points next season)
- first highlight is from him on the Marlies where he absolute dummied our goalie with this snipe
- or when he pulled a spinorama to embarrass one of our D PTO’s
- a retread of a move he tried earlier this season that paid off
- his footspeed is fantastic
- a bit lost in his own end at times
- one of the few guys who could skate and play with MacEwen
I cant be bothered, a known commodity for the Canucks who just never really did much with his opportunities at the NHL level. Not much else to say about him…a legend in the city of Utica, the trade must’ve been tough for the Utica resident fans to accept (even if Archie didn’t really do MUCH for the squad besides be the first reserve call up for the Canucks).
GRADE: A …. For Archie… nah I dunno…he was barely with the team and he appeared to be half-assing it most of the time so likely a C+
- oh this is the game I called him out for a half assed backcheck effort like look at MacEwen, starting behind the Binghamton net to get back to his own blue line while Archie is just like slowly coasting from the bottom half of the circle to the Comets blue line.
- like this was definitely the year to MOVE ON from the Archibald #1 callup stuff
- this goal was fucking nuts though
Not much to say, the guy had a pretty rough season…he featured in 29 games for the Comets this season; Looked good early on with Michael Carcone, had an injury bout in late November, and then started featuring heavily on the healthy scratch rotation until he was traded in early February. Basically pulled a Goldy where he looked decent, then one game in the presser was all it took to just derail his season hardcore.
- cross ice pass to Boucher
- pretty awful cross ice pass along the blue line
- dumb penalty
- good stick work on the backcheck to negate the zone entry for Binghamton
The PTO’s We Lost Along the Way
Part of the ill-fabled group of ECHL call-ups and PTO’s that had to round out the lineup in the wake of injury-geddon; I don’t think I have any tape on Cameranesi, but I do recall being thoroughly unimpressed by his time with the Comets. His stats back that up too as a guy who was above his depth while in the AHL. A -5 even strength goal differential while playing at most unessential 4th line minutes isn’t a great look. Incredibly he did net the team 1 goal and 3 assists, I just don’t know if I can find the tape of it.
That’s it lol.
Another of the ECHL call-ups to fill the massive void during the injury wake; Gardiner plugged some holes but that was about it. For a guy that once put up 43 goals in the WHL in his D+2, and a guy that netted 53 points in the ECHL, I guess I just expected a bit more of a dynamic shot. Usually those ECHL guys at the very least can SCORE, and transition THAT to the AHL but their skating/D game is garbage….but Gardiner was literally just a body. Oh well, he’s signed with the German elite league so best of luck to him in his future.
- whiffs on the open net on a 2-on-1
- this was a great solo effort by him to score a goal and increase the team’s lead
- actually a pretty slick cross-ice feed to Darcy who promptly whiffs
- An absolutely HUGE save on a shot from Darren Archibald
There was once a UFC fighter named Kyle Thomas, and the joke was he was just like an auto-generated fighter you’d expect from the UFC video game because he was that forgettable. So its weird that Kyle Thomas of the Kalamazoo Wings could have that same impression on me; Forgettable player in a VERY forgettable stretch of Comets hockey.
Just gonna rattle these off quickly because they really offered nothing in VERY short stints with the Comets
- Mitch Vanderlaan – an NCAA tryout player who was quite unimpactful, weak skating and generally looked QUITE lost on the ice for the bulk of his ice time…doubt he gets an AHL contract or renewed tryout.
- Mike Szymatula – was actually on the ice for a goal at even strength which I found surprising given I have zero tape on him. Frogettable player who will spend next season playing for the Polish elite league.
- Dyson Stevenson – as the new owner of a Dyson vacuum (purchased with airmiles) I was hoping this guy would clean up the competition…but instead he sucked…. I got nothing.
Fingers crossed the management group puts a bit more faith in their young guns next season…gimme Gadj and Jasek on the powerplay; gimme Lind out on the final minute of play; gimme all the kids out at once with no dmen, I don’t care, just trust them to learn the game from their play not from sitting in the pressbox…at the very least it’ll make reviewing the Comets next season more rewarding to the fans in the arena and us dorks on r/canucks.
Anyways I hope you all have a great summer of your own, pray nothing else stupid happens to this club while we’re trying to unwind during summer!