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  • File photo Gerard Gallant stands behind the Komets' bench in 1998, when he was getting his feet wet as a coach. Last season, he was the Vegas Golden Knights' coach and led them to the Stanley Cup Finals. 

Tuesday, August 07, 2018 7:10 pm

Komets close to affiliation with Golden Knights

JUSTIN A. COHN | The Journal Gazette

It’s Vegas or bust for the Komets.

General manager David Franke confirmed that the Komets are a signature away from inking an affiliation agreement with the NHL’s Vegas Golden Knights, who fell to the Washington Capitals in the Stanley Cup Finals this season, and that the Nashville Predators are no longer in the conversation for aligning with Fort Wayne for the coming ECHL season.

“Nashville is out of the picture now. We’re only talking to Vegas at this time,” Franke said, adding he’s confident a partnership with the second-year Golden Knights is imminent.

A source confirmed to The Journal Gazette the Predators are going to be a secondary affiliate with the Atlanta Gladiators.

The Komets were affiliated with the Arizona Coyotes last season, landing them players such as all-star Artur Tyanulin, goaltender Michael Houser and Trevor Cheek, but it ended unexpectedly after one season and the Coyotes have since partnered with the Norfolk Admirals.

“The affiliation is still on the front burner. To be honest, I’m just waiting for paperwork,” said Franke, who has 15 players under contract for the coming season, including captain Jamie Schaafsma and defenseman Cody Sol. “I’m hoping it will be here this week so we’ll get to sign off on it and get going with it. But right now, we have to just wait for the paperwork and then we’ll take it from there.”

A deal with the Golden Knights would likely land the Komets a goalie and a few more players for the start of the season, Franke said, though he’s been talking about a return of Houser and forward Marco Roy from last season’s team that reached the Western Conference finals.

“I think it’s going to happen (with Vegas) but until I get the paperwork and they’ve reviewed it and all that, there’s nothing,” Franke said. “But, yeah, they indicated to me that the paperwork would be coming.”

The greatest benefit of a partnership with Vegas is that its American Hockey League affiliate is the nearby Chicago Wolves, whose front office is populated with people, such as director of hockey operations Gene Ubriaco, the Komets know from their time in the original International Hockey League. The Golden Knights’ head coach, Gerard Gallant, got his coaching start with the Komets as an assistant in the IHL in 1998-99.