Utica Comets Sign Two Players To One-Year Deals

The Utica Comets have announced that they have signed defenseman Jackson van de Leest and forward Andre Ghantous to one-year, two-way deals for the 2024-25 season; both players spent time with the Comets last season. Ghantous joined the Adirondack Thunder in March after spending five seasons at Western Michigan University, where he put up 53 goals and 103 assists for 156 points in 170 games, including nine goals and 23 assists for 32 points in 34 games in his final year of eligibility. He would be nominated for the Hobey Baker Award. The 25-year-old forward burst onto the scene right away for the Thunder, putting up two goals and five assists in his first three games with Adirondack, which earned him a call-up to the Comets. Ghantous would finish the year with three goals and 10 assists for 13 points in 10 games with the Thunder, along with two goals and six assists for eight points in 14 games during the Kelly Cup Playoffs. He would pick up his first career AHL goal in a multi-point game vs Providence Bruins and would finish the season with a goal and an assist in three games in Utica. There’s no doubt that Ghantous should see a good chunk of time next season in the AHL.

The 6’7 defenseman joined the Thunder in mid-February after he had spent the previous two seasons in USports at Dalhousie University, where he put up four goals and 13 assists for 17 points in 57 games. He would play in 14 games with Adirondack during the regular season, putting up two assists and adding three assists in 15 games during the Kelly Cup Playoffs. The BC native would spend six games with the Comets, where he put up just one assist. There’s a lot to like about van de Leest; despite being 6’7, he won’t be known for his physicality but can play a solid two-way game and will use his size to his advantage. The 23-year-old defenseman was also invited to the New Jersey Devils Development Camp. These two signings could work out very well for the Comets next season.


Armand Klisivitch

Inside The Rink ECHL Manager | Senior Editor Credentialed Reporter for the Adirondack Thunder & Worcester Railers.

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