Since the season ended, the Fort Wayne Komets have said they aren't bringing many players back for next year. Now they've proved it.
The Komets protected only nine players on the season-ending roster which the ECHL announced Monday. That's the second-fewest protected players in the league, only behind Gwinnett's seven. Most teams protected between 15 and 20 players for the list, which was limited to non-NHL-affiliated players.
``Considering how we ended up, guys we left off we didn't have any interest in bringing back,'' Komets General Manager David Franke said. ``Why keep them tied up with us? We just let them go as free agents. The players that are on our list, they are the only players that we really have interest in having back from last year's team, other than possibly some of the Anaheim, Norfolk kids.''
The Komets protected Daniel Maggio, Mathieu Gagnon, Jeremy Gates, Matt Firman, Jean-Michel Rizk, John Dunbar, Chris Auger, Brandon Marino and Kaleigh Schrock. Only Marino and Schrock are veterans. Among those left off were Eric Giosa, Matt Syroczynski, Charlie Effinger, Thomas Beauregard, Mike Hoban, Tyler Butler, Jamie Milam and Nick Wheeler.
Franke said Syroczynski has decided to retire after he and his wife recently welcomed their first child, a daughter.
The next ECHL deadline is June 30 when teams are allowed to only protect eight players. Any players they have signed by that time do not count against the eight-man roster, and Franke said he expects at least two players to be signed by then.
In fact, Franke said the Komets are waiting on approval from the league for two contracts.
The Komets are also talking with fast-skating forward Mike Vaskivuo. The Most Valuable Player for the 2012 Central Hockey League playoffs, Vaskivuo played in France last year and may consider returning to Europe, Franke said.
Franke also said the teams are reviewing the ECHL schedule for next season which should be published soon.