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Komets make deal with Alaska for center

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For more on the Komets, follow Blake Sebring on Twitter at www.twitter.com/blakesebring and at his blog www.tailingthekomets.com.

Hughes could fill a top-line spot and help power play

Tuesday, July 30, 2013 - 5:24 am

Komets coach Gary Graham took a quick trip to Toronto over the weekend to scout a free agent camp. He also brought home an interesting souvenir.

The Komets announced Monday they have acquired center Bobby Hughes from Alaska for future considerations, which will be revealed soon. Hughes, 25, scored 15 goals and 39 points in 59 games with the Aces last season. He was particularly effective during the playoffs, scoring nine goals and 17 points in 11 games.

``He can score, he can set up plays,'' Graham said. ``He is tremendous on the power play, and that's where he's going to help us big-time. We didn't have that consistent half-wall guy last year, and he has great patience and can see the seams well. He's going to be a good No. 1 or No. 2 center for us.''

After a rough first half last season, Hughes was better in the second half of the regular season with 10 goals and 26 points and a plus-8 rating in 35 games.

``The first half I got hurt and I wasn't in very good shape,'' Hughes said. ``It took me awhile to get back up to speed.''

While attending the free agent camp, Graham met with Hughes and his agent over the weekend. The coach also said he met with some other players he has been recruiting, and the Komets may make some other announcements later this week.

``I want to work my way up the ladder, and there's a lot more hockey around the Midwest,'' Hughes said. ``I'm really excited about coming to Fort Wayne.''

He's also excited about seeing more of his sister Hayley, who is getting her doctorate in Psychology at Purdue.

Hughes was a spectacular scorer in juniors while playing for Kingston. He scored 35 goals and 75 points in 56 games in 2005-06 and 40 goals and 96 points in 59 games in 2006-07. After being drafted by Carolina in the fourth round of the 2006 NHL draft, he played 58 games over the next three seasons in the American Hockey League.

He also split time in the ECHL with Florida and Utah and in the Central Hockey League with Wichita before playing 10 games in Germany in 2012-13.

``We liked having Bobby here, and by all indication he loved it in Alaska,'' Aces coach and former Komet Rob Murray said in a release. ``However, some things changed for him this summer, and he needed to be closer to his home in Toronto. So he asked if we could move him to a team out East, and we tried to respect his situation. We thank him for his efforts last year, and wish him the best of luck in his career.''

The signing of Hughes gives the Komets 10 forwards and six defensemen under contract.