It looks as if three of the Fort Wayne Komets' players will have tryouts in the higher-level American Hockey League before they get to the Summit City.
Fort Wayne general manager David Franke said the team is in the process of finalizing an arrangement for Evgeny Saidachev to attend training camp with the AHL's Worcester Sharks, the top minor-league affiliate of the San Jose Sharks. Recently re-signed Rick Varone, meanwhile, will go to camp with Lake Erie, an affiliate of the Colorado Avalanche.
And the Komets are still working on finding a spot for Travis Whitehead. A possible landing spot could be Norfolk, Tampa Bay's minor-league team, which has had frequent interest in Fort Wayne players.
Varone is a guy I could see sticking in the AHL for a spell, if he's able to round out his game a bit more. Remember last season, he started off strong then cooled off a little bit but still got an All-Rookie Team nod. He even admitted recently to me that he needs to make sure he impacts each and every game a little bit more, whether it's by scoring or improving his defensive play.
Saidachev has tremendous upside. He showed flashes when he was last in Fort Wayne, two seasons ago, tallying 11 goals and 26 points in 54 games. But he only played 12 games last season in the Central Hockey League. He needs to prove his durability.
I haven't seen Whitehead play yet -- he was at Buffalo State last season -- so it's hard for me to speak on him much. He had huge numbers in juniors, though, before playing college hockey.
- The Komets will not be re-signing Olivier Legault. So fans will have to make due with Brad MacMillan, Mitch Woods, Blair Stayzer and Kevin Bertram for their fisticuffs entertainment, as if those guys aren't enough. While there has been much speculation on the street that Legault will be traded -- perhaps to Dayton? -- Franke made it sound as if the phone hasn't exactly been ringing off the hook. The Komets retain his IHL rights for 90 days once the regular season begins. But it's all a moot point, I think. I've heard Legault is going to sign with Kalamazoo of the ECHL. It makes sense. Kalamazoo's coach, Nick Bootland, has seen what Legault can do from when the Wings were in the IHL.
- And the Komets are finalizing plans with their own lower-level affiliate, Evansville of the All-American Hockey League, and it will result in a forward, a defenseman and a goaltender being in the Komets' training camp.
- Finally, McMillen Arena has announced some of its plans for skating programs, including hockey (adults and kids), for this fall. I posted it in the comments section underneath this post.