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Utica Comets Thread 2021-22


Chimaira_Devil_#9
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Posted (edited)
26 minutes ago, DevsMan84 said:

Holtz and Foote just disappeared towards the end of the season.  Daws and Schmid have been very so-so since they returned as well.

Overall the Comets successful season I think is partly a charade.  They had a really blazing hot start and great first have of the season.  The second half of the season was very meh and I believe they were barely a .500 team in that span.

The good part is that it looks like Zetterlund is finally ready to make the jump to getting a NHL roster spot and Okhotyiuk looks solid (I would put him above Bahl at this point).

One thing about the Utica team is that they have their fair share of AAAA-types (we've known that from the beginning of the season)...it's not like they were ever chock-full of future stars, no matter how hot that they were coming out of the gates...but at the same time, as we also know, the AHL is not where those guys tend to spend much (if any at all) time anyway.  The AHL is more of a place to develop potential second-liners who need seasoning, and mostly third and fourth-liners (or often lower-pair defensemen).  Does anyone envision Luke Hughes playing more than a handful of games with the Comets, at most?  Mercer skipped the AHL entirely.  

The Comets probably could've had a better and more consistent overall season if the team was kept intact, but as was previously mentioned, the parent club will always take priority (and they should), so if Daws gets a callup, then sorry Utica, you're stuck with a guy like Mitens to take his place.  And yeah, the very good news is that it looks like the Devils might be able to graduate some players from there very soon.  If Holtz, Zetterlund, and Okhotyuk all manage to come up and stick and do a solid job in their roles, none of us will care much about the 2021-22 Comets season ending on a bit of a thud.  Or the fact that many of their players won't have much of a future with the Devils.    

Edited by Colorado Rockies 1976
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3 hours ago, Colorado Rockies 1976 said:

It's not like the Comets got slammed either...two OT losses, third loss was basically a one-goal loss + empty netter.  And of course we know the team had to deal with the big club grabbing players as needed...of course, that's what the AHL club is for, and that's how it goes.  Curious to see if Dineen and/or Brylin nab an assistant gig off this season.

Starting to have my doubts about Holtz again...wouldn't surprise me that much if we have to add another year to his development trajectory...as in, maybe he's not able to fully stick until 2023-24 (he'll be 21 years old then, will turn 22 during), and spends a good chunk of 2022-23 in Utica again.  I know it was only 9 games for him up here, but there wasn't much on display that screamed "Future Star".  The lack of speed and meh skating is concerning.  

Yeah it was a competitive series , and Rochester have some great players Krebs, Peterka and Raustolinen should all be vying for a spot in the NHL next year without question. 

I think the nature of the defeat last night was very Devilesque. Blowing a lead in the third period, so its a familiar feeling. I think Brylin will land wherever most of our Russians are located. If Shak and Nikita ate both still in Utica then that's where he will be. 

 Holtz needs to come into camp with some improvements to his skating. I can't imagine the development team are not already drawing him up a programme for the summer. 

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36 minutes ago, Chimaira_Devil_#9 said:

Yeah it was a competitive series , and Rochester have some great players Krebs, Peterka and Raustolinen should all be vying for a spot in the NHL next year without question. 

I think the nature of the defeat last night was very Devilesque. Blowing a lead in the third period, so its a familiar feeling. I think Brylin will land wherever most of our Russians are located. If Shak and Nikita ate both still in Utica then that's where he will be. 

 Holtz needs to come into camp with some improvements to his skating. I can't imagine the development team are not already drawing him up a programme for the summer. 

My one concern with that is skating seems to be a skill that players either have or don't have.  I can't think of any player off the top of my head who went from a terrible skater to even a decent one over the course of their career.

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7 minutes ago, DevsMan84 said:

My one concern with that is skating seems to be a skill that players either have or don't have.  I can't think of any player off the top of my head who went from a terrible skater to even a decent one over the course of their career.

I can: Jesper Boqvist.

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Now isn’t the time to worry about Holtz IMO. Sure he went cold toward the end of the season and into the playoffs, but he still finished at essentially a 1 p/g pace. That’s in his first full professional season in North America, after scoring at under a 0.5 p/g pace in the SHL (and even lighter production in the AHL during the games he had that season). That’s some great progress for him, and definitely something to be encouraged by. I would say it far outweighs a cold streak (common for many goal scorers) to finish the season. I think there’s a very good chance he makes the Devils to start next season. 

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1 hour ago, DevsMan84 said:

My one concern with that is skating seems to be a skill that players either have or don't have.  I can't think of any player off the top of my head who went from a terrible skater to even a decent one over the course of their career.

Bobby Nystrom

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3 hours ago, DevsMan84 said:

My one concern with that is skating seems to be a skill that players either have or don't have.  I can't think of any player off the top of my head who went from a terrible skater to even a decent one over the course of their career.

I don't think players ever go from being below average skaters to top end, but players can work on their mechanics to get to the point where a bad skater can become NHL average. 

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1 hour ago, Chimaira_Devil_#9 said:

I don't think players ever go from being below average skaters to top end, but players can work on their mechanics to get to the point where a bad skater can become NHL average. 

Not to mention working with professional trainers and developing lower body strength. Holtz’ skating will be fine. There are plenty of all stars in the NHL that aren’t top end speed skaters (Tarasenko, Kopitar, Suzuki, Forsberg, etc…)

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Devils should not worry about Holtz trajectory. His season for his age was great. Season before he had hot start and after covid he slamps, when he was invited in Binghamton, he was not looking AHL ready. Next year even with questionable centers Ike DeLeo, who should play on the wing, and Schnarr, who is not creative guy at all, Holtz produce pretty enough. He needs to work on his skating and physique, but it’s ok for a guy of his age. Sometimes they need more time. And a Guy like him should spend more time with better players, when he was called up. Fourth line? Zacha? He needs partners who will make a part of his dirty work, because Holtz is Holtz and he is young and unexpirienced. Anyway he has his own knocks. And I would not call him “untouchable”. Especially when we have Bratt and Mercer on the right side of top-6. 

I was a Quinn guy(Sanderson/Raymond guy, but universe knows everything and we did have no shot at them), and, like Holt, Quinn spent very good season and even better, but he wasn’t good in play off. It’s not the time to burn hair on our head. 

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On 5/20/2022 at 12:53 PM, MadDog2020 said:

I can: Jesper Boqvist.

I don't recall him being a bad skater to begin with; or at least as bad as Holtz.

On 5/20/2022 at 2:40 PM, Jimmy Leeds said:

Bobby Nystrom

I am not comparing a player's skating in 2022 to that of one from 40 years ago.

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On 5/20/2022 at 5:29 PM, devlman said:

Not to mention working with professional trainers and developing lower body strength. Holtz’ skating will be fine. There are plenty of all stars in the NHL that aren’t top end speed skaters (Tarasenko, Kopitar, Suzuki, Forsberg, etc…)

Those players have more tools in their arsenal than their shot.  Holtz really doesn't have a ton else besides his shot and his skating really prevents him from even taking full advantage of that.

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Posted (edited)
41 minutes ago, DevsMan84 said:

Those players have more tools in their arsenal than their shot.  Holtz really doesn't have a ton else besides his shot and his skating really prevents him from even taking full advantage of that.

This is wrong. His passing is actually pretty good. Much better than I thought based off the scouting reports leading up to his draft. He only had one less assist than he did goals this year. He also has really good hands. Probably his nicest goal he’s scored so far was from the crease. 

This is from a THN article on Holtz:

This has also opened up Holtz’s underrated playmaking ability as well. He doesn’t always identify his teammates in good scoring positions, an area that still needs to be worked on by the young forward, but he does display the requisite skill to make passes that are a higher difficulty than expected out of a player known more for his goal-scoring exploits.

Edited by Nicomo
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I’ve heard that comment about Holtz’s skating quite a few times. I’m not sure where it’s coming from. He’s not a bad skater, and as Nicomo mentioned above, he is not a one dimensional sniper. I don’t think his skating will hold him back at the next level. Is he being confused with Foote?

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2 hours ago, DevsMan84 said:

Those players have more tools in their arsenal than their shot.  Holtz really doesn't have a ton else besides his shot and his skating really prevents him from even taking full advantage of that.

Another hard disagree on one of your unreasonably pessimistic assessments.

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1 hour ago, Nicomo said:

This is wrong. His passing is actually pretty good. Much better than I thought based off the scouting reports leading up to his draft. He only had one less assist than he did goals this year. He also has really good hands. Probably his nicest goal he’s scored so far was from the crease. 

This is from a THN article on Holtz:

This has also opened up Holtz’s underrated playmaking ability as well. He doesn’t always identify his teammates in good scoring positions, an area that still needs to be worked on by the young forward, but he does display the requisite skill to make passes that are a higher difficulty than expected out of a player known more for his goal-scoring exploits.

That sentence doesn't make sense.  He cannot identify teammates in good scoring positions (something kinda required of a good playmaker) but he can make difficult passes?  What good are difficult passes when he cannot identify the person in the better scoring position?

27 minutes ago, nessus said:

I’ve heard that comment about Holtz’s skating quite a few times. I’m not sure where it’s coming from. He’s not a bad skater, and as Nicomo mentioned above, he is not a one dimensional sniper. I don’t think his skating will hold him back at the next level. Is he being confused with Foote?

Have you seen him play?  He doesn't fall over but he is slow and is often behind the rest of his linemates.  I am far from the only one who has seen that out of him.

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6 minutes ago, devlman said:

Another hard disagree on one of your unreasonably pessimistic assessments.

I apologize for thinking that our 7th overall in 2020 looked worse in his NHL games compared to a guy drafted about 10 spots behind him and tailed off considerably in the second half of the AHL.

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24 minutes ago, DevsMan84 said:

I apologize for thinking that our 7th overall in 2020 looked worse in his NHL games compared to a guy drafted about 10 spots behind him and tailed off considerably in the second half of the AHL.

Is that what we’ve been discussing?

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Posted (edited)
32 minutes ago, DevsMan84 said:

That sentence doesn't make sense.  He cannot identify teammates in good scoring positions (something kinda required of a good playmaker) but he can make difficult passes?  What good are difficult passes when he cannot identify the person in the better scoring position?

It makes perfect sense. They are saying he needs to work on his recognition. That’s something that can be helped with coaching. And he can improve his processing, but as stated - he already has the hands/touch/accuracy to be able to make the difficult passes. 

Edited by Nicomo
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I'm not giving up on Holtz by any stretch, but I'm giving up on the idea of him jumping into the NHL and making an instant impact, even with a solid start in his first pro season here...right now he's a guy who's good enough to have some success in the AHL (and as long as he's down there I would expect him to put up numbers), but I think as far as the NHL goes, he's going to need a lot of refinement.  That's not to say it can't be done, just that I think he's going to need at least a couple of years before he starts to settle in.  If he proves me wrong, awesome.  If he becomes a consistently productive player 3 years or so from now, also great...not everyone develops quickly.

It was one game out of nine, and I'm not going to pretend that nine games are definitive, but in the final game, he looked like he was going to have an opportunity to skate in alone for a good scoring opportunity...and then was easily caught from behind and nullified.  Just seems like he doesn't have much speed or explosiveness.

The above being said, he might eventually be more like a MLB pitcher whose fastball only tops out in the low 90s, but knows how to pitch and has ways of being effective.  Some guys learn that knack of knowing where to be and finding ways to make up for shortcomings in their games.  I definitely don't think it's fair to assume that Holtz can't possibly improve his knowledge of the game or can't find ways to better his skillset (not saying that DM84 is doing that), but needing to put that much effort into improving his all-around game (and becoming a hardcore student of the game) is going to take time and he'll probably look pretty bad at times as that process unfolds.  Hopefully by his Age 22 or 23 season, it all starts to come together.   

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Posted (edited)
41 minutes ago, Colorado Rockies 1976 said:

I'm not giving up on Holtz by any stretch, but I'm giving up on the idea of him jumping into the NHL and making an instant impact, even with a solid start in his first pro season here...right now he's a guy who's good enough to have some success in the AHL (and as long as he's down there I would expect him to put up numbers), but I think as far as the NHL goes, he's going to need a lot of refinement.  That's not to say it can't be done, just that I think he's going to need at least a couple of years before he starts to settle in.  If he proves me wrong, awesome.  If he becomes a consistently productive player 3 years or so from now, also great...not everyone develops quickly.

It was one game out of nine, and I'm not going to pretend that nine games are definitive, but in the final game, he looked like he was going to have an opportunity to skate in alone for a good scoring opportunity...and then was easily caught from behind and nullified.  Just seems like he doesn't have much speed or explosiveness.

The above being said, he might eventually be more like a MLB pitcher whose fastball only tops out in the low 90s, but knows how to pitch and has ways of being effective.  Some guys learn that knack of knowing where to be and finding ways to make up for shortcomings in their games.  I definitely don't think it's fair to assume that Holtz can't possibly improve his knowledge of the game or can't find ways to better his skillset (not saying that DM84 is doing that), but needing to put that much effort into improving his all-around game (and becoming a hardcore student of the game) is going to take time and he'll probably look pretty bad at times as that process unfolds.  Hopefully by his Age 22 or 23 season, it all starts to come together.   

THREE years from now? LOL WHAT? Just because he was caught from behind on a play in a brand new league where he’s adjusting to the pace? 

He had a very good first year as a pro. Expect to see him playing and producing in the NHL as soon as next season. His skating is fine and his awareness is excellent.

Edited by devlman
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Posted (edited)
20 minutes ago, devlman said:

THREE years from now? LOL WHAT? Just because he was caught from behind on a play in a brand new league where he’s adjusting to the pace? 

He had a very good first year as a pro. Expect to see him playing and producing in the NHL as soon as next season. His skating is fine and his awareness is excellent.

To reach his potential (or what we hope his potential is), yeah, I do think it's going to take him some time...for one, he's still pretty damned young...he's only 20, and he started off his first pro season as a 19-year-old.  I didn't see anything that suggests that he's going to light up the NHL during his first full season there.  If he plays 65+ games, scores 15+ goals and appears to be getting more and more comfortable throughout the year in 2022-23, I'd consider that a plenty solid first step.  If he builds off that (but still needs more work), I'd be fine with his second year too.  If he's looking like a near-finished product in his third year...yeah, I'd be happy with that.  Is that so outrageous?  Guys sometimes need time.  I can find plenty of examples of players who needed 2-3 years to develop as NHLers (some even more).  

I get making too much out of what amounts to a minuscule sample, but again, I didn't see anything that had me thinking that Holtz is going to just waltz into the NHL and start rolling as soon as next season...and he did cool off some as his AHL season wound down.  Just one fan's take.  I'd love to be wrong.  

Edited by Colorado Rockies 1976
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Posted (edited)
16 minutes ago, Colorado Rockies 1976 said:

To reach his potential (or what we hope his potential is), yeah, I do think it's going to take him some time...for one, he's still pretty damned young...he's only 20, and he started off his first pro season as a 19-year-old.  I didn't see anything that suggests that he's going to light up the NHL during his first full season there.  If he plays 65+ games, scores 15+ goals and appears to be getting more and more comfortable throughout the year in 2022-23, I'd consider that a plenty solid first step.  If he builds off that (but still needs more work), I'd be fine with his second year too.  If he's looking like a near-finished product in his third year...yeah, I'd be happy with that.  Is that so outrageous?  Guys sometimes need time.  I can find plenty of examples of players who needed 2-3 years to develop as NHLers (some even more).  

I get making too much out of what amounts to a minuscule sample, but again, I didn't see anything that had me thinking that Holtz is going to just waltz into the NHL and start rolling as soon as next season...and he did cool off some as his AHL season wound down.  Just one fan's take.  I'd love to be wrong.  

Oh well yeah players don’t generally peak until their mid to late 20’s.

I wouldn’t read too much into the cooling down bit. As was mentioned, this was his first NA pro season, he probably got worn down, and some of his help got promoted to the big club. Scorers are also streaky at times. This is why he spent this year in the AHL - to develop and learn how to deal with this exact type of adversity. His production suggests he’ll be a fast learner. Nothing to worry about.

Edited by devlman
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Posted (edited)
42 minutes ago, devlman said:

Oh well yeah players don’t generally peak until their mid to late 20’s.

I wouldn’t read too much into the cooling down bit. As was mentioned, this was his first NA pro season, he probably got worn down, and some of his help got promoted to the big club. Scorers are also streaky at times. This is why he spent this year in the AHL - to develop and learn how to deal with this exact type of adversity. His production suggests he’ll be a fast learner. Nothing to worry about.

He also spent this first year in the AHL because he wasn't quite ready for the NHL, which is fine...I do suspect that he'll be given every chance to make the team out of preseason this fall...I don't think the plan ever called for him to spend much time with the big club in 2021-22 unless he absolutely wowed in preseason.  It won't surprise me if he's sent back down at least once next season...like I said, if he plays well enough to get 65+ NHL games, and has made progress, I'll consider that a good starting point (hell, even 50+ wouldn't be half-bad)...I'm not expecting eye-popping numbers from him.  If he averaged about 0.5 PPG in his first full year as an NHLer, and is able to generate more and more scoring chances as he goes (even if they're not all finding the net, but you can see the promise), I'll take it.  I'm just looking for steady improvement, and for him to look like he's able to hold his own.  

I'm not making too too much out of his cooling off in the AHL last year...it's more taking his entire first pro season into account.  Yes, he did have a very good first year in the AHL, but it is only the AHL...lots of guys who put up nice numbers down there who can't do it in the NHL...it's definitely way too early to suggest that this would be the case with Holtz, and I'm not doing that...just saying that it's not crazy to think some nice AHL numbers won't necessarily translate quickly, as Holtz transitions to a much tougher league...just look at how Daws and Schmid fared in Utica, compared to here.  As much as we're all getting sick of "Be patient", I think it applies in Holtz's case.        

Edited by Colorado Rockies 1976
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In the NHL, Holtz played 6 games in November, 1 game in January and 2 games in April.  He looked pretty much the same in all of them so I don't think him getting worn down is a reason.

I am by no means giving up on Holtz.  After seeing him play in person in the AHL, watching a few streams of him playing in the AHL and watching him in those 9 games in the NHL I am less excited about him than I was before the season started.  It wasn't until I saw him in person where I could see the entire ice in both the AHL games and the one NHL game I saw him in where his skating was just not good.  Skating is such a big part of today's NHL that it is concerning for me about his future.

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