Fort Wayne Komets sign former Kelly Cup-winning goaltender

Lukas Hafner

The Fort Wayne Komets decided some of their goaltending situation with the signing of Kelly Cup champion Lukas Hafner on Monday. He was part of the last two Colorado Eagles championship teams and was in net for the 2017 title.

“He’s played in some big games,” Komets General Manager David Franke said. “He only got 20 games this year but he’s a good goalie who really competes hard. He’s a good goalie we feel is ready to break out and maybe take over the No. 1 job.”

Asked what this means to the goaltenders who played in Fort Wayne last season, Franke said this means it’s unlikely Garrett Bartus will return, rookie Cam Lanigan won’t be fully recovered from surgery until Thanksgiving so he’s a question mark and the team continues to negotiate with Michael Houser.

In 2015-16 Hafner, 26, finished a four-year collegiate career with Western Michigan University and made his pro debut in 2015-16 appearing in five ECHL games with Alaska. He started 2016-17 in the Southern Professional Hockey League before leading Colorado to the playoff title with a 2.43 goals-against average and .903 save percentage while earning an ECHL-best 14 wins going 14-2 in 16 of 20 playoff games. Last year Hafner helped the Eagles to their second ECHL championship appearing in 20 regular season games (13-4-1) and two playoff games.

The Komets also signed forward Kevin Miller, 23, will be making his pro debut with the Komets after scoring 24 goals and 40 points in 114 games at Ohio State. Last season Miller scored eight goals and 12 points in 38 games while ranking 12th in the Big 10 with +13. The center registered a college career year in 2016-17 scoring 11 goals and 15 points in 38 games and was named co-recipient of the team’s Most Improved Player award.

Franke also said the Komets will play two exhibition games but can’t announce them until the ECHL makes the official announcement.

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