FORT WAYNE – When the Komets begin play in the ECHL, they should have plenty of offense and no shortage of leaders.
On Tuesday, they added to their stable of accomplished snipers with the signing of right wing Brandon Marino, the CHL’s MVP last season, and defenseman Tyler Butler, yet another player with experience as a team captain.
Marino, who was unavailable for comment, led the CHL in goals (41) and was second in points (90) in 65 games last season. He led the CHL in power-play goals (13) and was second in power-play assists (22). He also scored three short-handed goals.
Marino, 26, had 65 goals and 175 points in 200 regular-season and playoff games in three seasons with Quad City, and he will be reunited with his center, Eric Giosa, who signed with the Komets last week.
The core offensive group the Komets have signed – captain Colin Chaulk, alternate captain Brett Smith, Marino and Giosa – combined for 111 goals and 282 points last season. The Komets had 228 goals and 608 points last season.
Brandon will thrive playing with the players we have on our team, hopefully produce as much as he has in Quad City. I’m sure he will, said Komets general manager David Franke, who added that Marino will go to training camp with a team in the higher-level American Hockey League.
He brings some high-octane offense and, as you can see so far with putting the team together up front, we’re really going after offensive-oriented players and guys who can play both ways. We want to make sure we have enough offense because it was at times, last season, difficult to score goals.
Butler, 33, had 10 goals, 20 points and 111 penalty minutes in 66 games last season with Arizona of the CHL. He was Arizona’s captain last season and was also the captain of Tulsa in 2009-10.
I couldn’t be more excited, Butler said. It’ll be an honor for me to put on that jersey with the tradition and the way the whole community surrounds the Komets. It will be special to put the jersey on.
He said the Komets’ move to the ECHL will be bolstered by the leadership. In addition to Chaulk, who has led the Komets to six championships since 2003, they have Smith, who captained Bossier-Shreveport to the CHL title in 2011, and a three-year alternate captain in Lincoln Kaleigh Schrock.
That’s something that I don’t think can hurt a hockey club. It will obviously be Chaulker’s team. He’s been the guy for so many years, said Butler, who took the third of four available veteran spots. It will be nice to go into a situation with those guys leading the way. They’re championship guys and proven it time and time again. I’ll ease in with them and be myself.
The Komets have signed three veterans players – Chaulk, Smith and Butler – and are allowed one more in the ECHL. Goalies aren’t included.
Defenseman Brent Henley, if re-signed, would fill the remaining veteran spot.
Notes: The game originally scheduled for March 29 at Cincinnati has been moved to Kalamazoo. Also, Kalamazoo decided to go back to 7:30 p.m. starts for Friday and Saturday home games, after originally posting 7 p.m.