UTICA, N.Y. (WUTR/WFXV/WPNY) – While the American Hockey League season hasn’t officially ended, the Utica Comets are already preparing for their future, re-signing Captain Ryan Schmelzer, Mareks Mitens, and Samuel Laberge to minor league contracts.

Schmelzer is the most tenured of the three signees, having served as team captain in the 2021-22 season. He put up 32 points including 18 goals in 64 games during the regular season. Laberge is the other forward set to return, playing in 53 games after a call-up early in the season from the Adirondack Thunder. Laberge was fourth on the Comets in both penalty minutes and fights, including two postseason fights to give him a total of six on the year. Mareks Mitens is the lone defensive player to receive a new contract, another early-season call-up to Utica from Adirondack after Nico Daws and Akira Schmid were each spending stints with the New Jersey Devils as injury replacements. Mitens has a .888 save percentage and 3.31 GAA in 17 games with the Comets.

The Comets announced that Schmelzer has signed a two-year deal, meaning he will be around for the 2022-23 and 23-24 seasons while there were no announcements on the length of the contracts signed by Mitens and Laberge.