5:15 PM: Sportsnet’s Jeff Marek reports that Comtois’ contract with the Wolves contains an NHL out, meaning Comtois will be free to join any NHL team that wants him on an NHL deal.
2:45 PM: Former Anaheim Ducks forward Max Comtois has signed an AHL contract with the Chicago Wolves, according to a report from Inside AHL Hockey’s Tony Androckitis.
If made official, the deal would land Comtois with the AHL’s only independent franchise. The Wolves are exclusively focused on capturing their second Calder Cup championship in three seasons, meaning Comtois is entering a bit of a different team environment compared to other AHL franchises, teams that may place more of a priority on producing NHL players for their big-league affiliates.
As a result, Comtois joins an AHL club stocked with quite a bit of talent up front. Cole Schneider, Rocco Grimaldi, Cory Conacher, and Chris Terry are all in the team’s forward corps and all have extensive experience as quality AHL scorers. The team also has some intriguing younger forwards, such as former high-flying WHL scorer Connor McClennon and 2017 35th overall pick Isaac Ratcliffe.
This will likely mean that although Comtois will face stiff competition for a scoring-line role in Chicago, it also means that Comtois will have some truly high-end players to play with assuming he can seize one of those starring roles.
Comtois, 24, only has 35 games of AHL experience, but has had success at the NHL level before, namely when he scored 16 goals and 33 points in 55 games in 2020-21. Having such experienced AHLers alongside him will likely aid Comtois as he adjusts to life in the AHL.
While Comtois must surely be disappointed to have not earned an NHL deal off the back of his PTO with the Vegas Golden Knights, he’s landing in a strong situation with the Wolves. And for the Wolves, an already talent-filled group of forwards adds one more significant name.
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