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Utica Comets season preview

...a look at the season ahead for the Comets

by Cory Hergott @CoryHergott / Freelance writer

The Utica Comets roster is starting to take shape for the 2019/20 season. With their first game on Saturday, October 5th now is a good time to take a look at who could be there on opening night.

The parent Canucks recently designated Nikolay Goldobin, Sven Baertschi, and Alex Biega for assignment to Utica after the trio cleared waivers, while defender Guillaume Brisebois has also joined the Comets.

Here's Utica's roster for opening night. Note: Biega, Baertschi and Goldobin are not expected to arrive in Utica until next week, according to coach Trent Cull.

Goaltenders

The team has a nice blend of youth and experience to lean on in the crease. The veterans McIntyre and Bachman can help bring along the youngsters in DiPietro and Kielly.

  • Zane McIntyre - 27-years-old
  • Richard Bachman - 32-years-old
  • Michael DiPietro - 20-years-old
  • Jake Kielly - 23-years-old (Assigned to Kalamazoo Wings, ECHL)

Defensemen

The organization's addition of defensive depth at the NHL level has shifted veteran Alex Biega down to Utica for the time being. The former Comets captain will be a welcomed addition to what looks like a quick, young blueline.

  • Olli Juolevi: LD - 21-years-old
  • Ashton Sautner: LD - 25-years-old
  • Guillaume Brisebois: LD - 22-years-old
  • Josh Teves: LD - 24-years-old
  • Stefan LeBlanc: LD - 23-years-old, (AHL deal)
  • Alex Biega: RD - 31-years-old, (AHL veteran status)
  • Jalen Chatfield: RD - 23-years-old
  • Brogan Rafferty: RD - 24-years-old
  • Mitch Eliot: RD - 21-years-old
  • Dylan Blujus: RD - 25-years-old, (AHL deal)
  • Matt PetGrave: LD - 27-years-old, AHL deal, assigned to Brampton Beast, ECHL)
  • Aaron Thow: LD - 24-years-old, (AHL deal, assigned to Kalamazoo Wings, ECHL)
  • Zach Frye: LD - 25-years-old, (AHL deal, assigned to Kalamazoo Wings, ECHL)

Forwards

Up front, this is as deep as the Comets roster has looked in recent memory, giving the coaching staff a solid blend of quick, skilled players to go along with some size and defensive awareness. Trent Cull and his crew will be able to insulate the young prospects with some higher-end veterans who can help them along at the AHL level.

Some players have already been assigned to the ECHL to serve as depth, while there will be some decisions to be made on others as the Canucks and Comets sort out their current injury situations.

AHL teams can dress up to five players in a game who carry AHL veteran status, plus one who is considered AHL veteran exempt. The team currently has seven players: Carter Bancks, Wacey Hamilton, Carter Camper, Tyler Graovac, Sven Baertschi, Reid Boucher, and defender Alex Biega, who are considered AHL veterans, while Nikolay Goldobin and Justin Bailey count as veteran exempt. There could be some line juggling until injuries and/or call-ups hit the club.

With four goaltenders, 13 defensemen, and 18 forwards available to them, Utica's coaching staff will have some pretty solid depth at the ready. The AHL is known for being a league that uses a lot of players throughout the season as bodies are called up to the NHL level or lost to injuries. The depth that has been added this season should go a long way in insulating the club for those inevitable needs.

  • Reid Boucher: LW/RW - 26-years-old, (AHL veteran status)
  • Zack MacEwen: RW - 23-years-old
  • Boston Leier: LW - 26-years-old (PTO)
  • Francis Perron: LW - 23-years-old
  • Justin Bailey: RW - 24-years-old, (AHL veteran exempt status)
  • Lukas Jasek: LW/RW/C - 22-years-old
  • Kole Lind: RW/LW - 20-years-old
  • Jonah Gadjovich: LW/RW - 20-years-old
  • Nikolay Goldobin: LW/RW - 24-years-old, (AHL veteran exempt status)
  • Sven Baertschi: LW - 27-years-old, AHL veteran status)
  • Carter Camper: C - 31-years-old, (AHL deal, AHL veteran status)
  • Tyler Graovac: C - 26-years-old, (AHL veteran status)
  • Carter Bancks: LW/RW/C - 30-years-old, (AHL deal, AHL veteran status)
  • Wacey Hamilton: LW/RW/C - 29-years-old, (AHL deal, AHL veteran status)
  • Vincent Arseneau: LW/RW - 27-years-old, (AHL deal)
  • Dyson Stevenson: LW/RW/C - 26-years-old, (AHL deal)
  • Seamus Malone: LW/RW/C - 23-years-old, (AHL deal)
  • Dylan Sadowy: LW/RW - 23-years-old, (AHL deal, assigned to Kalamazoo Wings, ECHL)
  • Tanner Sorenson: C - 26-years-old, (AHL deal, assigned to Kalamazoo Wings, ECHL)

There is no roster limit in the American League, so the Comets can carry as many players as they feel necessary to help them get through the season. There could still be some moves made in terms of depth players shuffling up or down, but what you see is more or less what the Utica Comets roster will look like for opening night on Saturday.

Stay tuned as we will be bringing you bi-weekly Utica Comets updates throughout the 2019/20 season.

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