The Utica Comets defenseman is an integral part of the team.
The Cars once sang “I guess you’re just what I needed”, and the Utica Comets could say the same about Reilly Walsh.
The twenty-two-year-old is a big part of the phenomenal early season start the Comets have enjoyed thus far. Drafted in the third round of the 2017 NHL Entry Draft by the New Jersey Devils, Walsh had a standout three-year college career at Harvard University prior to turning professional. He was drafted on the strength of his offensive skills from the blue line, which was also his calling card in getting to Harvard. In 2017, First Star Scouting had this to say about the young defender:
“Offensive minded defenseman with great goal-scoring instincts, Walsh possesses great vision in the offensive zone and is able to identify when to sneak down from the point to finish offensive opportunities”.
Walsh cultivated those skills while playing for Harvard, and has done nothing but build on them as a professional. In his first professional season with the Binghamton Devils of the American Hockey League, he notched five goals and ten assists in thirty-three games played (the 2020-21 season was abbreviated due to the Covid pandemic). This season as a Utica Comet, the right-shot defenseman is becoming a star.
The Utica Comets sport an impressive defensive corps, and Reilly Walsh is the undisputed offensive leader amongst those defensemen. In eighteen games played, he has racked up an impressive four goals and nine assists to average .72 points per game – with two of his goals being game-winners. Walsh not only leads the Comets defensemen in points but he is also tied for eighth overall in the American Hockey League in scoring amongst defensemen. Five (one goal and four assists) of his thirteen points have come while the Comets are on the power play. His twenty-eight shots on goal are tied for the fifth-most on the entire Utica roster.
Consistency has been a staple of Walsh’s play this season. He has yet to miss any of the eighteen games the Comets have played thus far and coach Kevin Dineen has not hesitated to put him on the ice for any big situation Utica has faced this season. The Utica Comets have the best record in the AHL in large part due to the fact they have been getting contributions from everyone in their lineup, and Reilly Walsh continues to be one of the pillars of the team’s success.