The Fort Wayne Komets started building for the 2017-18 season by announcing the signings defensemen Jason Binkley and Ryan Lowney and forward Mason Baptista on Monday. The Komets also announced their 20-man end-of-season roster which was due the ECHL last Friday.
The end-of-season roster was limited to 20 players and left off were forward Mike Embach and defenseman Kyle Fullmer. Each team can reserve the rights to eight players by offering them a qualifying offer by June 30. The three players signed already do not have to count against that list. Players on qualifying offers cannot be traded.
The qualifying offer remains open until Aug. 1 when the team may sign the qualified player to any salary or elect to take no further action. Teams who extend qualifying offers to a non-veteran player retain their rights for one playing season. After Aug. 1, veterans who do not accept the qualifying offer become restricted free agents, meaning the team that made the qualifying offer has a seven-day window to match any offer from another team. If a veteran with a qualifying offer has not signed an contract by Aug. 31, they become an unrestricted free agent.
Baptista, 27, has scored 20 goals and 39 points in 71 regular-season games over with the Komets the past two seasons, scoring 16 goals and 30 points last year in 56 games.
Binkley, 25, played 67 games last year with the Komets, scoring seven goals and 44 points which ranked 10th among ECHL defensemen.
Lowney, Binkley's college defensive partner at Ferris State, played 14 regular-season games with the Komets at the end of last season, scoring a goal and six points before playing in eight playoff games.
The 2017-18 season stars Oct. 13 in Fort Wayne against Toledo.