UTICA – Adam Comrie says he would play goalie if need be.
The 27-year-old was joking, but the versatile Comrie has been ready, willing and able to play any role for the Utica Comets this season.
Usually a defenseman, Comrie has spent the majority of his 19 AHL games with the Comets playing forward.
That ability to adapt has led teammates as well as opposing players to ponder what could be next for Comrie.
“There are guys on the ice that ask, ‘What are you going to play goalie next?’ … If I was good enough to play goalie and win a game, I would do it,” Comrie said with a laugh after spending Tuesday’s practice as a defenseman. “I like just playing, just being out there. I think it is a lot of fun being able to play those positions and … learn how to play them.”
Comrie said he can’t decide if he enjoys playing defense or forward most. He says his comfort level on the ice has served him well this season.
“I think there’s a little less pressure on me playing forward,” Comrie said. “I think playing forward has also helped me learn the game better as an all-around player. It has been fun.”
Comrie’s eight professional seasons have featured a few stops along the way. He’s played with four ECHL teams as well as a total of five AHL organizations – including 55 games last season with the Syracuse Crunch when he played forward. That team also included Comets head coach Trent Cull, who was then an assistant.
The 6-foot-4, 221-pound Comrie has four goals and four assists with the Comets, while also being a member of the team’s power-play unit. Cull said Comrie fits in well with the team.
“It’s great for him to jump in and play in different situations for us,” said Cull, whose team's record of 13-1-2-0 in 2018 is among the best in the American Hockey League. “It’s really nice for us because then you have that guy that has the ability to play D or forward.”
Comrie is among the handful of players added who have helped the Comets thrive this season. Despite using a total of 44 players this season through an abundance of call-ups and injuries, the Comets are red-hot – with help from a their current team-best 12-game point streak (10-0-2-0).
Heading into Wednesday’s home game against Syracuse, the Comets (26-14-6-3) and Crunch (28-17-2-3) are tied for third place in the North Division with 61 points.
“No matter who have, we’re getting the job done and having fun doing it,” Comrie said. “Winning is fun, obviously. And it’s great to do it with basically a different group of guys every night. That’s a big thing, especially this time of year, to get on a roll and creating a lot of chemistry. I think it is great that we have the ability to do that because that’s super rare.”
Comrie said he’s enjoying his time in Utica. He is signed to an AHL deal that will keep him with the Comets for the rest of the season.
“Everywhere you go, there are awesome people and they know who you are,” Comrie said.
Holm recalled; Utica adds defenseman
Philip Holm has had a strong season for the Comets. The big Swedish defenseman was rewarded with a recall from the Vancouver Canucks on Tuesday. In another move, the Comets added defenseman Frankie Simonelli to PTO.
The 6-foot-1, 190-pound Holm is the latest recall from Utica over the last week, joining forwards Darren Archibald, Reid Boucher and Nikolay Goldobin. Defenseman Chris Tanev is on injured reserve on Vancouver’s website.
The 26-year-old lefthanded Holm leads Comets’ defensemen with 11 goals and 18 assists in 42 games. His points rank sixth among AHL defensemen while his seven power-play goals are second.
“I’m super excited for Philip,” Cull said. “I hope he has a chance to play. He’s been really good for us, specifically on the power play. … I’m happy for all these guys when they get the chance. That’s the icing on the cake for our job.”
The 25-year-old Simonelli is the latest to join the Comets from the ECHL. In 46 games this season with South Carolina, he leads the team’s defensemen with 30 points (eight goals and 22 assists). Simonelli has played in 64 AHL games with Providence and Bakersfield, with three goals and nine assists.
The 5-foot-10, 200-pound Simonelli was teammates with Comets forwards Joe LaBate and Brendan Woods at the University of Wisconsin. He was teammates in South Carolina with Andrew Cherniwchan, who is also on a PTO with Utica.
After missing the last two games, Joe LaBate (illness) practiced Tuesday. The physical forward is available for Wednesday, Cull said.
Forward Griffen Molino was in a red no-contact jersey Tuesday. He’s day-to-day and not available for Wednesday, according to Cull.
“We’ll see how he progresses,” Cull said.
Defenseman Jalen Chatfield (out since Feb. 2 with an upper-body injury) and captain Carter Bancks (out since Dec. 30 with a lower-body injury) were each spotted in workout clothes Tuesday. They remain week-to-week.
“(Bancks) is moving in the right direction,” Cull said. “Any time you can have any of these guys come back is a good thing.”
Brendan Woods (out since Jan. 10) is also unavailable. Jayson Megna (out since Dec. 22 with an upper-body injury) is also not available.