FORT WAYNE – Time is running out for the Komets to tweak their roster in hopes of making the playoffs.
Heading into Sunday night, they were seven points out of the eighth and final playoff spot with 12 games remaining, starting with Friday’s match against the defending-champion Florida Everblades.
Before the Everblades – and former Komets defenseman Brent Henley – arrive at Memorial Coliseum, two important deadlines will have passed.
At 11: 59 p.m. Wednesday, there is the Recall/Reassignment Deadline. Any player called up to the NHL or American Hockey League from the Komets after that point must be reassigned to Fort Wayne if he comes back to the ECHL. In other words, if Anaheim or Norfolk decide Fort Wayne isn’t the appropriate Double-A spot for their prospects, that would be their last chance to pull them out.
At 3 p.m. Thursday, the ECHL’s trade deadline will pass. Despite their troubles this season, the Komets have made only two trades, both of little consequence.
On Dec. 21, the Komets traded future considerations to Wheeling for defenseman Tim Priamo, who never played a game for Fort Wayne. And on Feb. 20, Henley was dealt for cash.
The Komets have made big free-agent signings this season – including Thomas Beauregard, Matt Syroczynski and Jamie Milam – but if they want to swap players, it will have to come this week.
Here’s a look at what the Komets need to improve on:
The Komets have been snakebitten when it comes to finishing off scoring chances – they have 20 goals in their past 11 games – so a goal scorer would be nice. Those are also the hardest to find, unless you mind sacrificing defense.
Speaking of which, Norfolk helped matters on defense last Friday by sending down Gabe Guentzel and Nick Schaus, who has scored in back-to-back games, including the overtime winner Saturday at Charleston, S.C. But the mistake-prone Komets could use another steady blue-liner in case Norfolk takes them or Ryan Hegarty back.
The Komets’ power play ranks last in the 23-team ECHL with an efficiency of 12.2 percent. They have only 27 power-play goals, seven fewer than any other team and 39 fewer than Colorado and its top power-play unit.
Despite the wish list, the Komets may not have much to deal and their best hope for adding players may be from amateurs coming out of college or juniors. There is no games-played requirement for them to be put on the playoff roster, but the Komets may not even make it that far despite their recent 3-1-1 surge.