Tailing the Komets: Daniel Maggio coming back to Fort Wayne

He's played the last five years mostly in the AHL

The Fort Wayne Komets’ defense is getting a lot better and bigger in a hurry.

The Komets received defenseman Curtis Leonard back from Chicago of the American Hockey League on Monday, but they are getting a huge surprise today with the addition of former Komet Daniel Maggio. As a rookie during the 2012 playoffs, Maggio helped the Komets win the Central Hockey League title. He came back the next year to play 43 games but was called up to Lake Erie of the AHL and played the next five years mostly in the AHL.

“He will get a physical tomorrow, sign his contract and he’ll be back with the Komets,” General Manager David Franke said when asked about Maggio. “I’m always in contact with him, and he wanted to come back and be a Komet. So he’ll be in the lineup Saturday night if the league approves the contract and everything.”

Maggio, 26, was at Monday’s 4-1 exhibition game win over Kalamazoo. He’s 6-foot-3, 210 pounds, and Leonard is 6-3, 201.

“I’m back just because of my history here,” he said. “I started my pro career in Fort Wayne, and it’s always been in my heart to come back here. Everyone was offering, but I made the call myself. I know the Frankes from being here, and they know what I’m capable of. They know what I can do because of the opportunity they gave me.”

After going to training camp with Calgary and then its AHL farm team in Stockton, Maggio was released on Friday. Several teams offered him AHL-ECHL two-way contracts, but Maggio wanted to be a free agent so he could potentially negotiate with any AHL team, and he wants to go back to playing defense. After he moved on from the Komets, AHL teams turned him into a forward to try taking advantage of his toughness. The Komets have promised him he’ll play on their blue line.

“This is a fresh start for me, and I believe defense is my position,” he said. “Clearly, I can play both, but I’m more comfortable on the back end and I think I can be more effective there.”

As a rookie with the 2012-13 Komets, their first in the ECHL, Maggio had five goals and 18 points in 43 games and led the team with 147 penalty minutes. He’s mostly been used as an extra forward in the AHL, earning penalty minute totals of 112, 197, 215, 116 and 85, usually leading his team. With 233 career games, Maggio does not count as an ECHL veteran.

“I feel like I had a good camp in Calgary and Stockton,” Maggio said. “My confidence is up, but it’s going to help coming back here, seeing some familiar faces and winning some games. I’m ready to go.”

So is Leonard who had four goals and 17 points in 65 games with the Komets last year when he was plus-30. He was the Wolves’ eighth defenseman and may eventually be heading back to the AHL in the near future.

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


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