FORT WAYNE – The Komets continue to wheel and deal.
On Thursday, they made their fourth trade in the last five weeks, sending forward Bobby Hughes, defenseman Rob Kwiet and the rights to forward Brett Lyon to Gwinnett, in exchange for forward Mike Embach and defenseman Nathan Martine.
Embach, 25, had six goals and 12 points in 16 games this season with Gwinnett and Cincinnati. Last season, the 5-foot-10, 185-pounder had 18 goals and 34 points in 55 games with Cincinnati.
Embach is a guy I watched a lot of last year, when I was scouting the ECHL playoffs for the Komets, said coach Gary Graham, whose team is 8-8-4 heading into Saturday’s game at Kalamazoo, Mich.
I’d seen him a couple times and he broke out. He’s an energy guy and not afraid to go to the body. He also gives us a presence in the locker room. I know guys who have spoke highly about his character and how he is in the locker room. We can always use guys like that with positivity and who can lead by example.
Martine, 25, had one assist in 16 games with Gwinnett this season.
He’s a defensive defenseman, Graham said. He’s got a big (6-2, 211 pounds) frame and competes. He’s a good, hard-working, honest hockey player.
Hughes, 26, had been one of the Komets’ biggest offseason acquisitions – they got him from Alaska for Jean-Michel Rizk – and he had five goals and nine points in 12 games but was left in Fort Wayne for the three-game road trip last weekend, in which the Komets went 1-1-1.
Graham conceded that he and Hughes didn’t always see eye to eye.
When times are tough, you see how guys handle it. The way that I like to handle it when things are going tough isn’t the same way Bobby likes to handle it, Graham said. I’m a big guy on creating a positive work environment. You have to believe in what you’re doing. He’s a heck of a hockey player, but it wasn’t the best fit here in Fort Wayne. He’ll be a great addition in Gwinnett and will do great there.
Kwiet, 25, had seven assists in 20 games with the Komets.
Lyon, who was acquired from Bakersfield for cash Nov. 19, played three games before leaving the Komets over a disagreement regarding his role with the team.
The Komets have also recently traded captain Nick Tuzzolino to Elmira for defenseman Jordon Southorn, and acquired forward Kenton Miller from Utah for cash.
Notes: The Komets’ first Holiday Teddy Bear Toss is Sunday at Memorial Coliseum, when the Komets play host to Evansville. Fans are encouraged to bring new or gently used teddy bears or other stuffed animals to be thrown onto the ice after the first Komet goal. The Disorderly Bear Den of Good Bears of the World will distribute each teddy bear and stuffed animal to abused, traumatized or at-risk children and lonely adults.