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Utica Comets add depth for 2022-23 season

Ben Birnell
Sports writer
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Posted 6/24/22

The Utica Comets have added some more depth to the roster for their 10th American Hockey League season.

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Utica Comets add depth for 2022-23 season


The Utica Comets have added some more depth to the roster for their 10th American Hockey League season.

On Friday, the team announced five more players have been signed to AHL contracts heading into their second season as the affiliate of the New Jersey Devils.

Forward Nick Hutchison is signed to a one-way standard player contract while defenseman Jarrod Gourley, forwards Sebastian Vidmar and Nick Rivera and goaltender Isaac Poulter each signed two-way standard player contracts. Other details of the contracts were not released.

A one-way contract means Hutchison would earn the same salary amount if he plays in the AHL or ECHL. The two-way contract means there are separate salaries if a player is in the AHL or ECHL.

Gourley and Rivera had short stints with Utica last season while Vidmar was part of the organization’s pipeline as a member of ECHL affiliate Adirondack.

The most recent additions make nine players signed to AHL contracts. They join last season’s team captain Ryan Schmelzer, fellow forward Sam Laberge and goaltender Mareks Mitens, who the team announced were re-signed to AHL contracts earlier in the week. Garrett Van Wyhe, who joined Utica late last season is also signed to an AHL contract.

Here’s a look at the most recent signings:

• Hutchison, 27, most notably is a former Canisius College teammate of Schmelzer. The Long Island native split 32 games with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton and Manitoba last season while on a professional tryout contract. The 6-foot-3, 201-pound forward had seven points in 27 regular-season games with Manitoba.

• Gourley, 22, played four games with Utica last season, totaling a goal after finishing his college hockey career at Division I Arizona State during the spring. The 6-foot-2, 212-pound defenseman also played 10 games with Adirondack.

• Rivera, 26, played nine games for the Comets last season with one assist. The 5-foot-10, 190-pound forward had 13 goals in 42 games with Adirondack last summer.

• Vidmar, 28, had 21 goals and 43 points in 50 games with Adirondack last season. The 6-foot-3, 203-pound forward played four seasons at Schenectady-based Union College before turning pro at the end of 2018-19.

• Poulter, 20, is set to begin his pro career after playing last season in the Western Hockey League with Swift Current. He had a 3.00 goals against average with a .911 save percentage in 49 games. The 6-foot-2, 174-pound goaltender played 137 games for Swift Current with a 35-87-12 record. He likely is an option for Adirondack to start the season.

The Comets announced their home opener for 2022-23 regular season will be Monday, Oct. 17. The opponent has yet to be announced. The date is the 35th anniversary of the first Utica Devils game played at home when Utica and New Jersey previously had an affiliation. The AHL previously announced the regular-season is scheduled to begin Friday, Oct. 14, meaning the Comets could begin the season on the road. The full AHL schedule is usually released in July.


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