When Frankie DeAngelis was first brought to the Komets, three games into the 2009-10 season, coach Al Sims was skeptical he would even make the roster because of his size (5-foot-10, 185 pounds) and lack of pedigree coming out of American International University.
But hes become one of the best defensemen at the AA level of hockey.
Hes one kid whos continuing to go the right way, Sims said.
DeAngelis will be the only Fort Wayne representative at tonights Central Hockey League All-Star Game in Rapid City, S.D. Selected by reporters, coaches and communications staff, DeAngelis will play for the team of All-Stars taking on the defending-champion Rapid City Rush.
Absolutely, this is something special, said the 25-year-old native of Woodbridge, Ontario. Its something youll look back on and appreciate later on, down the line.
DeAngelis has seven goals and a team-leading 24 points in 30 games. Last season, he had nine goals and 41 points in 73 games for the Komets.
He was the Komets Most Improved Player last season and made the IHLs All-Rookie Team.
A year and a half ago, I was just trying to stay on the team and make simple plays. I guess its been going well so far and I just have to keep it up, DeAngelis said. I came in (early last season) and was just hit with all these plays and thought, Id better just not make the coach upset, make simple plays and help out with the offense. Thats what Ive been doing (all along) and its been OK.
DeAngelis has taken over for Guy Dupuis on the No. 1 power play, where he has a team-leading 16 points, including four goals.
Hes a much wiser player, a smarter player, more confident in himself and his abilities (this season), Sims said.
Hes an offensive guy and has to contribute offensively. Hes very smart on the power play, getting the shot through, and it gets him a lot of goals and assists. For him to be at the top of our scoring list, its kind of an indication of where Frankie has come from last year.
Sims also lauded DeAngelis improvement in the defensive zone; his minus-2 rating is second among Fort Wayne defensemen to Brandon Warners plus-2.
DeAngelis said hes not aiming to steal responsibility or ice time from players like Dupuis or Warner, though.
I wouldnt put that pressure on myself. We have a lot of really talented (defensemen), he said. I just want to be solid back there, create some offense, make that first pass and keep my feet moving all the time. Once my feet are going, I feel like Im playing a good game.
Note: Nick Boucher was selected as Central Hockey League Goaltender of the Week, after he stopped 61 of 63 shots and went 1-0-1.