Left winger Tab Lardner, 31, the team’s leading goal scorer last season, was one of six players retained by the Komets, who submitted their protected-player list to the CHL office on Friday.
The forward who led the team with 28 goals in 52 games was protected by the Komets, as were forwards Artem Podshendyalov and Lincoln Kaleigh Schrock, and defensemen Dustin Molle, Frankie DeAngelis and Craig Cescon.
The Komets did not have to protect veteran forwards Colin Chaulk and P.C. Drouin and goaltender Nick Boucher, since they had previously signed contracts with the K’s.
There were a total of eight guys that we had the availability to protect, and we protected six, Komets general manager David Franke said.
Lardner had 14 assists to go with his 28 goals to finish with 42 points as a member of the Komets. He played 10 games with the Missouri Mavericks and had three goals and 10 points.
Podshendyalov had 18 points (8 goals, 10 assists), Schrock had 25 points (15-10), Molle had 6 points (1-5), DeAngelis had 44 points (11-33), and Cescon had 6 points (1-5).
Guy Dupuis and (Derek) Patrosso, they both retired, so we did not protect them, Franke said. (Matt) Krug and (Mike) Ratchuk, we couldn’t protect them because they were on American League contracts, so we really didn’t legitimately have claims to them from a protective list standpoint.
Among the players not protected were forwards Leo Thomas and Mathieu Curadeau, who had 33 and 27 points last season, respectively.
We think it’s time to have a new look on the hockey club, Franke said. Maybe a new look for the hockey club and maybe a new look for these guys that we didn’t qualify or protect. We went three or four years with about the same group of guys. We just thought it was time to get some new faces in; some new blood; some new spirit.
It’s nothing negative to the guys that we didn’t qualify or protect, it was just a decision we made that it was time to move on and start over again. Maybe 60 percent of the team will be new players this year.
Franke said that to retain several of last year’s players, the team would have to equal last season’s salaries, and the club was not prepared to do that.
If we bring them back, they’ll have to play for less money, Franke said.
The Komets will open training camp Oct. 10.