FORT WAYNE – The Komets made their fifth trade in the last seven weeks Thursday – they got goaltender Ben Meisner from the Utah Grizzlies for forward Phil Mangan – and that put Cody Reichard squarely on the hot seat.
We’re not totally satisfied with our goaltending, Komets general manager David Franke said. We’re going to see if this Meisner can come in and help us out in goal. Overall, we’re not that thrilled with our goaltending. We think we need to get better there and hope Meiser can help us out there.
Meisner, 23, started this season in training camp with Chicago of the higher-level American Hockey League. With Utah, he was 2-8-0 with a 2.65 goals-against average and .900 save percentage. He played in college for American International from 2009 to 2013.
Mangan, 26, had three assists in 15 games with the Komets (10-9-5), who play host to the Toledo Walleye (8-13-3) tonight at Memorial Coliseum.
Coming into the season, the Komets felt goaltending would be their biggest strength. But John Muse was called up to Charlotte of the AHL after one game and is unlikely to return, while Reichard, 26, and from Celina, Ohio, has gone 2-4-3 with a 3.47 GAA and a .898 save percentage.
Reichard was called up to Iowa of the AHL last weekend but was returned to the Komets on Thursday. Franke didn’t explicitly say Reichard was in danger of being cut, but the numbers tell the story.
Andrey Makarov, 20, who was assigned to the Komets by the NHL’s Buffalo Sabres on Oct. 31, is 8-5-1 with a 2.70 GAA and a .916 save percentage and is in better position, based on his play, to stick around.
We’re going to go with three goaltenders for now, Franke said. One will go on reserve for the weekend’s games. Meisner won’t be activated until Saturday or Sunday, at the earliest. He has to fly in here and get a physical before he can play. But we will go down to two goaltenders soon. We’re not going to run with three for the rest of the season.
Without Mangan, the Komets are short at forward, and Franke said a new one could be added as early as today, though he declined to name him. (The Southern Professional Hockey League’s Bloomington Thunder reported Sy Nutkevitch has been called to Fort Wayne.) If he’s not activated on time – he, too, must pass a physical – then a defenseman such as Nathan Martine will move to forward for the game against Toledo.
We are working on bringing another guy in for the weekend, Franke said.
The Komets lost their last two games – 5-1 to defending-champion Reading on Dec. 20 and 2-1 in an overtime shootout to Reading on Saturday – and they are 2-2-1 in their last five games. Toledo has won three of its last five games.
Notes: Sunday’s game against Gwinnett will be a season-ticket exchange night. Ticket holders can trade unused tickets from previous games for entrance at the Coliseum box office.