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Komets stay away from trades at deadline

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Team facing critical weekend series with Florida

Friday, March 8, 2013 - 3:10 am

The Fort Wayne Komets didn't make a move at the ECHL trade deadline Thursday. Still, Komets General Manager David Franke thinks his team has the muscle to make a playoff run. He believes the recent additions of Jeff Deslauriers, Nick Schaus, Jeremy Gates, Jamie Milam and Matt Syroczynski have helped the team improve.

``I think we have the team that can get the job done to get into the playoffs,'' Franke said. ``we've added various players in an effort to upgrade the team which I think we have improved.''

Franke said he was encouraged by the team's performance last weekend in South Carolina where the Komets won three of a possible four points.

``I thought the two games we played in Carolina were two of the best games we played all year,'' he said. ``The effort was there and the passion was there. They were like playoff games. If we come out with that kind of an effort, we'll be OK.

"There's no question Jeff Deslauriers has been a huge help for us the short time that he's been here. We just need to support him more. Get more goals and not make his job so hard every night.''

Komets coach Al Sims and player/assistant coach Colin Chaulk reworked the forward lines this week to try getting more scoring. The Komets will also pair defensemen Schaus and Milam on the No. 1 power-play unit.

That's partly because Norfolk recalled defenseman Gabe Guentzel on Wednesday. Guentzel has played the five games necessary to be eligible for the Komets' playoff roster, and his spot in the lineup will be taken by rookie Scott Kishel, who is coming off injured reserve after a hip injury.

``We're at a point right now where we have some extra defensemen, and that hasn't been the case in a while,'' Franke said. ``If we add players, it's either going to be from the CHL or juniors or American or Canadian university teams.''

If the Komets add any of those players, they must count against the roster limit and the salary cap. In the past, when playing in the International Hockey League or the Central Hockey League, the Komets were able to add amateur players without them counting against either.

The Komets also do not expect defenseman Daniel Maggio to return from Lake Erie of the AHL, and the return of goaltender Kenny Reiter from Bridgeport of the AHL is doubtful. Both continue to play well in the AHL.

Franke said goaltender Marco Cousineau and forward John Dunbar can come off injured reserve next week.

The Komets are nine points out of a playoff spot with 12 games remaining in the regular season. They open a critical two-game series with Florida at Memorial Coliseum tonight, and must win both games. The games also mark the return of former Komets defenseman Brent Henley, who was recently traded to the Everblades.