Fort Wayne Komets’ forward Artur Tyanulin is an atypical player

Fort Wayne Komets forward Artur Tyanulin has provided offense and creativity to his team. (By Blake Sebring of

Usually, when a small, fast and highly skilled Russian forward joins the Komets, it’s easy to fit them into a stereotype. They often get caught cheating into the offensive zone, they don’t follow the team systems so their linemates never know where they are going and they are usually one of the last players crossing the red line heading the other way to play defense. They can be super-productive as far as scoring points, but their play often allows just as many at the other end.

Which is why young Komets forward Artur Tyanulin has been so exciting to watch.

“He’s not only gifted offensively, but he’s probably been one of our best defensive forwards,” Komets coach Gary Graham said. “We’ve shown countless clips of him working his tail off to get back on the backcheck. He’s created a lot of his offense by working hard without the puck. For a young guy, a first-year pro guy, that’s a skill he has and it’s really a testament to the coaching he got the last couple of years in Ottawa because you can tell he’s got some good habits without the puck for a skill guy.”

Tyanulin came to North American from Kazan two years ago to play in the Ontario Hockey League with the Ottawa 67s. He scored 24 goals and 85 points in 67 games last season before signing as a free agent with Tuscon of the AHL who sent him to the Komets. After a recent call-up back to Tucson, Tyanulin will play in his first home game back on Saturday against Quad City.

“He’s got a better personality than most guys do who come over here for the first time,” winger Shawn Szydlowski said. “Obviously, since he played in the OHL, he’s adjusted to North America a little bit better.”

Part of that is Tyanulin’s sense of humor which his teammates love him for. As an example, after practice a few weeks ago, the boys were having fun translating between Tyanulin’s Russian accent and the French one of Gabriel Desjardins. No one could understand anything but everyone was laughing.

During a recent game against Utah, the Grizzlies seemed to be offended by what Tyanulin was saying.

“I don’t know if they understood him when he’s talking, because we barely understand him when he’s talking,” captain Jamie Schaafsma said. “He’s a funny guy, and we love having him here. He’s fun off the ice, too, and we’ve really enjoyed having him around.”

On the ice, Tyanulin has been explosive, scoring five goals and 13 points in eleven games.

“He’s one of those guys who can create things out of nothing,” Schaafsma said. “He works hard, goes into the dirty areas and I like his compete level.”

The Komets are hoping that Tyanulin just keeps getting better. He’s only age 20, playing in his first professional season and should continue to grow.

“He’s just getting into this and he’s producing already,” Szydlowski said. “He enjoys the game and because of that he has the confidence to do what he does on the ice. We definitely like him.”