2016 Comets Player Tracker
by Brendan BurkeMay 19, 2016
Hockey fans, AHL fans specifically, are always thinking about the future. Before a season ends a topic of conversation is always “Is [favorite player] coming back next season?” While contract length and salaries are often widely reported for their NHL counterparts, it sometimes requires a little more digging to determine the status of players in the AHL.
Compiled are a list of players that spent considerable time with the Comets and where they stand headed into the 2016-17 season.
Keep in mind all of the players in the “Signed for 2016-17” category are signed by the Vancouver Canucks – and not specifically the Utica Comets. Therefore, all players in this category will have a chance to make the Canucks in training camp (a guy like Brendan Gaunce will get some serious consideration with the big club). There are also players on this list that may not stay with the Comets after training camp. Some players can be assigned to the ECHL or in some cases they can be reassigned to their junior team.
Signed for 2016-17
F Cole Cassels
F Brendan Gaunce
F Joseph LaBate
F Mackenzie Stewart
F Carter Bancks - Veteran - (Signed two-year AHL deal with Comets on 6/3.)
F Wacey Hamilton - Vet Exempt - (Signed two-year AHL deal with Comets on 6/3.)
F Curtis Valk
D Anton Cederholm
D Evan McEneny
D Ashton Sautner
D Jordan Subban
G Richard Bachman - Signed one year extension through 2017-18 on 7/13.
While we won’t see the free agent signings pick up until after July 1, there have been a few contracts inked already. Again, there are no guarantees here that they will be with the Comets but they are names you may want to familiarize yourself with.
New Contracts for 2016-17
F Yan-Pavel LaPlante
D Troy Stecher
G Thatcher Demko
G Michael Garteig
D Tom Nilsson
F Michael Chaput - Vet Exempt - (Signed two-way deal with Canucks on 7/1.)
F Borna Rendulic - (Signed two-way deal with Canucks on 7/1.)
F Jayson Megna - Vet Exempt - (Signed one-way deal with Canucks on 7/1).
D Chad Billins - (Signed two-way deal with Canucks on 7/1.)
F Michael Carcone - (Signed Entry Level Contract with Canucks on 7/15.)
F Cody Kunyk - (Signed AHL deal with Comets on 7/25.)
Restricted free agents (RFA) generally means it is up to the Canucks whether or not to bring back these players. For players on NHL rosters (and thus more expensive contracts) this can get complicated with qualifying offers and offer sheets but for the majority of players in the AHL there is usually not a bidding war. Players either resign with their team from the previous season or become an unrestricted free agent.
Restricted Free Agents
F Ludwig Blomstrand - Signed with Almtuna IS in Sweden for 2016-17.
F Alexandre Grenier - Signed with Vancouver on 7/19.
F Linden Vey - Veteran - Signed with Calgary on 7/5.
F Mike Zalewski - Signed with Vancouver on 7/13.
D Andrey Pedan - Signed with Vancouver on 7/19.
Unrestricted free agents are exactly that. They are free to sign with any team in the NHL, AHL or anywhere else in the world.
Unrestricted Free Agents
F Darren Archibald (AHL) - Veteran Exempt - Signed AHL deal with Utica on 7/6.
F Milos Bubela (ATO)
F Alex Friesen - Signed two-way deal with St. Louis/Chicago on 7/2.
F TJ Hensick (Carolina) - Veteran - Signed deal with LA Kings/Ontario on 7/2.
F Blair Jones - Veteran
F Kellen Jones (PTO) - Signed deal with Bridgeport on 7/5.
F Ronalds Kenins
F Brandon Marino (PTO) - Signed to an ECHL deal with Brampton on 6/29.
F Mike Pereira (PTO) -Signed to an ECHL deal with Reading on 7/6.
F Brandon Prust - Veteran
D Travis Ehrhardt (AHL) - Veteran Exempt
D Taylor Fedun - Veteran Exempt - Signed two-way deal with Buffalo/Rochester on 7/1.
D John Landry (AHL) - Veteran Exempt
D John Negrin (AHL) - Signed to an AHL deak with Comets 7/19.
D David Shields (PTO) - Signed to an AHL deal with Comets on 7/11.
G Joe Cannata - Signed two-way deal with Washington/Hershey on 7/1.
G Clay Witt (AHL)
All NHL contracts run through June 30, which means that no team other than the Canucks can sign these players for next season before July 1. The only exception here would be TJ Hensick because his contract is still held by the Carolina Hurricanes.
Players that were on AHL contracts last season can sign with any NHL club at any time however they would not be able to sign with an AHL team (other than the Comets) until July 1.
For player listed on ATO/PTO contracts they can sign with any AHL or NHL team at any point.
There are likely to be a player or two resigned from the unrestricted list prior to July 1 but the Comets roster won’t really start to take shape until early July. Stay tuned.