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Komets strengthen center spot

Giosa joins Chaulk, Smith at position; defenseman signs


– Center Eric Giosa didn’t need a lot of convincing to join the Komets, who he skated against for two seasons with the Quad City Mallards.

“I’m really excited and proud to be joining the Komets’ family,” said the 27-year-old center, who had 28 goals and 70 points in 64 games last season. “They have so much history and all the championships they’ve won, it’s going to be amazing.”

Giosa had talked with Komets center Colin Chaulk about coming to Fort Wayne, and alternate captain Lincoln Kaleigh Schrock, Giosa’s captain in juniors, had mentioned through the years that Giosa should come to the Komets.

With the signing of Giosa, the Komets now have a talented group of centers – Chaulk, Giosa and Brett Smith.

“Absolutely, with all that talent that we will possess, it will be huge,” Giosa said. “And it’s not all about the offense, we all have those intangibles and to be able to play with those guys, with their championship experience, I’m looking forward to play with them and learning from them.”

General manager David Franke, who also re-signed defenseman Daniel Maggio, believes these centermen will boost the Komets in their inaugural ECHL season.

“Eric is a solid player, skater, playmaker, and he has speed and grit,” said Franke, whose team won the CHL title last season. “We think he will fit well. … This gives us a lot of flexibility.”

The Komets continue to negotiate with Chris Auger, Frankie DeAngelis, Jean-Michel Rizk, Brent Henley and Stephon Thorne, though Franke said they will not re-sign forward Bobby Chaumont or defenseman Jamie Milam.

Chaumont led the Komets in scoring during the regular season with 24 goals and 66 points, and he could play in Europe. Milam, who had 20 goals and 41 points, could play in Europe or the CHL.

The Komets also haven’t spoken much with forward Tom Mele.

Maggio, 21, who was sixth-round pick of the New York Rangers in 2009, spent 15 playoff games with the Komets, scoring two goals and five points.

“Daniel really played well for us in the playoffs, scored a couple of big goals, … and I think we will see more of his physical play this season,” said Franke, who will get Maggio a spot in an American Hockey League training camp.

“He has the potential to be one of our top four defensemen this season.”

The Komets still do not know when, or if, goalie Nick Boucher will be ready to play after injuring his hips last season.

But Giosa believes the Komets are off to a terrific beginning with their roster, which also includes Schrock and rookie defenseman Kyle Atkins.

“I’ve always respected the way the Komets have played, and I think my style fits their systems well,” Giosa said.