Two young players who impressed during short American Hockey League stints will join the Utica Comets next season.
Forward Tanner MacMaster — who showed his skills with the Comets at end of the 2017-18 season — and defenseman Jagger Dirk have been signed to one-year American Hockey League contracts. Other terms of the deals were not disclosed.
The signing of the 22-year-old MacMaster was expected after he impressed during a short stint with the Comets toward the end of the regular season and in the team's first-round playoff series against the Toronto Marlies. MacMaster, who played left wing mostly with Zack MacEwen and Michael Chaput, also worked his way onto the Comets' second power-play unit.
In 13 regular-season games, the speedy MacMaster had two goals and five assists. MacMaster, who is listed at 6-foot, 185 pounds, added a goal and three assists in five playoff games.
“I’m just trying to bring my game I was playing in NCAA and then transition it here," MacMaster said. "I think it worked well. I’ve had a lot of opportunity, so I’m thankful for that.”
MacMaster, who joined the Comets on an amateur tryout contract in mid-March showed his poise and playmaking abilities in jumping into professional hockey after ending his four-year at Quinnipiac University.
Both Comets General Manager Ryan Johnson and coach Trent Cull praised MacMaster's smart play during his time with the team.
“He’s a really smart player,” Johnson told the Observer-Dispatch. “I’m excited with what we can do on a development side.”
The 25-year-old lefthanded Dirk joins the Comets after showing potential in seven regular-season games with the Binghamton Devils while on an ATO contract at the end of last season. His stint included a games against the Comets on April 15 in Utica.
The undrafted Dirk — who is from Penticton, British Columbia — is the son of former Vancouver Canucks defenseman Robert Dirk, who played 402 NHL games.
Jagger Dirk played the last four seasons with St. Francis Xavier University in Nova Scotia where the 6-foot, 199-pound defenseman, totaled 15 goals and 58 assists.
The additions give the Comets three players signed to AHL deals for next season, joining veteran defenseman Jaime Sifers, who signed a two-year deal with Utica last July. Various other players who spent time with the Comets this past season are under contract with the parent Canucks.