Here's the deal on everybody I could think of:
So far, the Komets have signed Guy Dupuis, goaltender Kevin St. Pierre, forward David Hukalo and defenseman Kevin Hanson. General Manager David Franke said the Komets are also in strong negotiations with defenseman Mike Dombkiewicz and forward Jonathan Goodwin. Franke thinks there's a good chance both players could be signed by the end of the week.
“I really like the Komets' offer,'' Goodwin said. “I've been in contact with a few teams, and I have to call a few coaches back. What the Komets offered me is very fair, and I like Pat Bingham.''
Kelly Miller has not signed yet in part because he'd take up one of the Komets' seven veteran spots. Other players might look sexier statistically than Miller, who was a third-liner for most of last season. Miller brings a ton of intangibles, and desperately wants to play in Fort Wayne again.
“We would love to have him, but the whole deal is whether we take up a veteran spot with him,'' Franke said. “We'll have to wait and see.''
As for the other players from last year, Franke said the Komets are waiting to see how defenseman A.J. Bozoian recovers from hernia and minor knee surgery. It's 50-50, Franke said, whether forward Andrew Luciuk will return. The Komets want to see the results of his back surgery. There's also an issue with amount of salary.
“I've been talking to a lot of teams, I guess, so it's kind of up in the air right now,'' Luciuk said. “Some of the teams are closer to home.''
Luciuk played in Fort Wayne last year while his wife remained in Prince George, British Columbia.
The Komets made a qualifying offer to Ryan Jorde, but Franke thinks it's doubtful the defenseman will sign. The two sides have not talked recently. Forward Darren Rumble has reportedly retired, forward David Carpentier signed with New Mexico of the Central Hockey League and defenseman Mark Lindsay signed with Youngstown of the CHL. Despite repeated calls, Franke said the Komets have not heard back from forward Jamie Milam.
As for the players the Komets picked in the United Hockey League's expansion drafts, the team is talking to defenseman Mario Larocque and will know more early in August, forward Drew Omicioli is expected to sign in and defenseman Brad MacMillan signed with Columbia in the East Coast Hockey League. Franke said it's 50-50 whether the Komets sign forward Jim Duhart or Matt Elich, though they continue to talk to both as the Komets are also doing with goaltender Kevin Reiter.
Franke also said the Komets are looking into possible American Hockey League affiliations with Bridgeport and Hershey as an incentive for younger players to sign and possibly move up.