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Canucks Prospects Update: Comets soaring

...prospects playing big roles as Comets fight for the playoffs

by Ryan Biech @ryanbiech / Freelance writer

With all the injuries occurring in Vancouver, the Utica Comets have felt the effects with Adam Gaudette, Zack MacEwen, Thatcher Demko, and Guillaume Brisebois getting the call up to the big club.

But this just means that other players are getting an opportunity to play bigger roles for the Comets as they continue to battle for a playoff spot.

Here's a breakdown on how the Canucks prospects in Utica have fared over the last few weeks:

Jonah Gadjovich had himself a game Wednesday night. The 2017 2nd round pick made his presence known in multiple ways picking up his second goal of the season on a redirect and dropping the mitts for the second time this season. The gritty winger has been looking more comfortable with each passing week and should be hoping to take advantage of the opportunity in front of him.

Kole Lind continues to see his role grow as the season goes along. He continues to generate shots in every game and is displaying that tenacious play that set him apart in the WHL last season. Although the production isn't quite there yet, if he keeps doing what he is doing, it shouldn't be too long until the points follow.

Jonathan Dahlen is currently on a five-game point streak and is looking every bit the player that won the Allsvenskan Forward of the Year and Most Valuable Player last season. For Dahlen, it has been about being an effective 200-foot player on a nightly basis and it appears that it's starting to click for the Swedish forward.

Lukas Jasek, a 2015 6th round pick, missed a few games in previous weeks due to illness and injuries, but has started to get back to the game that sets him apart. He is quick on his feet, battles along the board, and has some underrated puck skills. He's played all over the lineup, but always makes his presence felt. He has two points in the last three games that he has suited up for.

Brendan Gaunce has been an offensive catalyst for the Comets with points in four of his last five games. Primarily playing the wing for Utica, Gaunce is a regular on the first power-play unit and has really clicked with players like Dahlen.

Reid Boucher and Tanner Kero continue to be the offensive leaders for the Comets. With MacEwen in Vancouver right now, Kero's 45 points lead the next player (Gaunce) by 13 points and Boucher has a three-point lead on Kero. Both players create offence anytime they are on the ice and provide veteran leadership in the Comets top six.

On the back-end, Evan McEneny is far and away the offensive leader for the defence. He has a 15-point lead on Jesse Graham for defencemen scoring on the Comets. McEneny was a bit of a prospect this season missing most of last year with a knee injury, but he has really asserted himself with his two-way play and powerplay abilities.

Jalen Chatfield returned from injury on January 25th and took a few games to get his feet back under him, but the four games over the last week have really allowed him to get back to his game. He isn't known for his offensive game, but his defensive play is what stands out and makes him intriguing. If an opponent tries to beat him by the boards, you better believe he is shutting that down with a crunching hit and that's if he hasn't already used his long reach to dislodge the pick during their zone entry.

Another defender not known for his offence, Ashton Sautner, continues to show why he earned those five games with the Canucks last season. Sautner is poised with the puck and seems to always make the good first pass out of the zone. It allows the Comets to attack with speed, which for quite a few of the forwards, is their best way to generate offence.

The top four teams from each AHL division will make the playoffs and the Comets currently have a five-point lead on Belleville while still having a game in hand on the Senators. The Cleveland Monsters sit eight points back of the Comets and have played two fewer games than Utica.

The race is on!

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