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Shafranov leaves K’s for World tourney


Komets left wing Konstantin Shafranov is leaving the team before the playoffs and won’t be returning.

He is leaving to play for Kazakhstan, for whom he’s played in the Olympics before, in the World Championships, which begin for his country in Germany on May 7.

“He’s going to be leaving for the World Championships,” general manager David Franke said Saturday night as the Komets prepared to play at Dayton. “It’s something we were totally aware of last summer, when we negotiated with him. He is leaving anywhere from (between) Tuesday and the end of the regular season.

“We’re allowing him to do it because he’s 42, and he’s not going to have this chance to play at the international level again. For everything he’s done for this organization through the years, there’s no way we could stand in his way.”

Shafranov had 19 goals and is third on the team with 55 points this season.

Shafranov has played seven seasons for the Komets, dating to 1995-96. That season, when he was selected as the old IHL’s top rookie, springboarded him to a five-game stint in the NHL with the St. Louis Blues.

“There’s no way he could be back for the playoffs,” said Franke, whose team has won back-to-back playoff championships.

The Komets aren’t limited in what sort of player they could add to their playoff roster. They will look for rookies and players whose teams in the higher-level American Hockey League and ECHL didn’t qualify for the postseason.

Franke said it’s not certain the Komets will make a move.

“We’re not really too concerned right now,” he said. “We’ve got to get Mitch Woods in the lineup more, and Brad MacMillan should be coming back next week (from a separated shoulder). We’re working on one possible move but we won’t know (for a few days) if we’re going to get a replacement for Shaf, and I’m not sure right now that we need one.”

The Komets have until April 19 to decide their playoff roster.