By signing two young defensemen Tuesday, the Fort Wayne Komets showed the first signs of how different next season's team will be.
Simon Danis-Pepin is 6-foot-7, 240 pounds, and Nik Pokulok is 6-5, 225 pounds. Just from their measurements, they sound like a pro wrestling tag team, and Komets coach Gary Graham likes that because he wants them to control the front of the Komets' net.
"The biggest area of concern for me in the defensive zone was our net front coverage, and Nick and Simon are big, physical guys who can bang in the corners, shove guys in front and they are good with their sticks, too. They can also skate and move well, too. They add well to what we're trying to do which is get bigger and faster.''
The Komets also re-signed defenseman Jeremy Gates who is a "puny'' 6-2, 200 pounds but made an impression last year in 17 games as a rookie.
Danis-Pepin was a second-round draft pick by the Chicago Blackhawks who has bounced between the ECHL and the American Hockey League. Nik Pokulok played six regular-season games last year with Stockton and 23 in the playoffs as the Thunder reached the ECHL finals.
"I've told them both they need to be working on their footwork in the offseason,'' Graham said. "I want to be an up-ice uptempo team, and our defensemen are going to have to be able to get up ice and keep pace. They need to be really ready to go.''
The signings give the Komets six forwards and four defensemen. The season opens Oct. 19.