Just got off the phone with Komets General Manager David Franke who has to start building his protected list for next week's IHL expansion draft for Dayton. Each team can protect 13 skaters and one goaltender, and as Franke understood the rules, pull a player back into protection once they have lost a player. The most a team can lose is three players.
Franke said the Komets or other IHL members will not release which players they choose to protect.
"You can't protect everybody, but you try to protect the people you think who will come back," Franke said. "There are probably a few guys on there with their sights set on Europe. It will be difficult. We had a championship team the last two years and a lot of these guys were part of both years."
Franke also said he has Komets coach Al Sims working on ranking Kalamazoo players for a dispersal draft which will be held after the expansion draft.
The IHL is expanding its roster to include up to eight veterans, but Franke said it's doubtful the Komets will be able to carry that many and stay under the league's salary cap.
"Knowing who are veterans are, it's gong to be tough to get eight of them in the lineup every night," he said. "I expect our team to again have a lot of rookies on it to offset the higher salaries of our veteran players. We're going to probably have at least six rookies in the lineup every night."
According to Franke, he said veterans Colin Chaulk, Guy Dupuis, Konstantin Shafranov, P.C. Drouin, Kevin Bertram and David Hukalo have all told him they'd like to return next season. Shafranov has told Franke he'd like to retire after next season and playing in the World Championships for Kazakhstan. Franke said he believes goaltender Sebastien Laplante is leaning toward retirement, and Rod Aldoff is undecided on his future.
Hukalo will have shoulder surgery on June 25, and Brad MacMillan may require more work on his injured hand. Franke said he's doubtful Justin Hodgman or Mathieu Curadeau will return next season. The Komets have talked to Keith Rodger and Sean O'Connor about signing for next season.