The Komets announced Tuesday that IHL Goaltender of the Year for 2008-09 Nick Boucher will return for 2009-10 along with fellow defending champions David Hukalo, Konstantin Shafranov and Keith Rodger.
Boucher, 28, back-stopped the Komets to their third consecutive regular season title last year while leading IHL netminders for the second straight season with a 2.43 goals-against-average and posting a 32-14-7 record in 54 games. Boucher then completed the year successfully defending his Turner Cup championship with Fort Wayne by again topping IHL goalies in the post-season with a 1.75 goals-against-average and .938 save percentage.
In addition to being named IHL Goalie of the Year, Boucher also was named a 2008-09 IHL First Team All-Star and was voted by fellow teammates as the Most Valuable Komet for 2008-09. The Leduc, Alberta native was named IHL Goaltender of the Week five times last year and Goaltender of the Month for March. Boucher will be entering his seventh pro year and third with Fort Wayne.
Hukalo, 31 years old today, posted a career best 23 goals, 39 assists and 62 points in 70 games last year before leading the Komets in post-season play with a career high eight goals, six assists and 14 points in 11 games to be named the IHL's Playoff MVP while successfully defending his second straight Turner Cup championship.
The veteran right wing is a two-time winner of the league's Best Defensive Forward award (2006-07, 2007-08) and will be starting his seventh pro season in October and sixth with the Komets.
Shafranov, 40, will also be in search of his third consecutive regular season and playoff titles with the Komets. The veteran left wing first appeared with the Komets during the 1995-96 season topping IHL rookies with 46 goals and 74 points, earning the IHL Rookie of the Year award before being signed by St. Louis NHL in 1996 and skating six games with the Blues and 62 AHL games with Worcestor in 1996-97. Shafranov returned to Fort Wayne for 1997-98 and registered a career best 52 assists and 80 points. Shafranov also appeared in 20 UHL games with the Komets during 1999-00 before returning to Russia for seven seasons in the Russian Elite league. The Kazakhstan native returned to Fort Wayne in 2007 and has appeared the last two seasons with the Komets. Shafranov skated with the Komets to the IHL Huber Trophy last season registering 28 goals and 63 points in 60 games. 2009-10 will be Shafranov's sixth regular season stint with Fort Wayne and 19th of his career.
Rodger, 24, made his pro debut in Fort Wayne last year skating 11 games at the end of the season after completing four seasons at American International College NCAA.
The rookie defenseman netted his first pro points scoring two goals in 11 playoff games. The 6-foot, 190-pound blue-liner hails from Parshall, Colorado.