Mason Baptista had the best season of his career in 2017-18 – totaling 18 goals and 50 points in 62 games – and now he’s headed back to the Komets.
Multiple sources have told The Journal Gazette that Baptista is traveling from Germany, where had had been playing for Freiburg, and will re-sign with the Komets.
Baptista was released by Freiburg on Tuesday, after he totaled one goal and 11 points in 25 games.
This will be his fourth straight season with the Komets and the announcement of his return will come Thursday or Friday.
Asked about the likelihood of Baptista returning, Komets general manager David Franke said: “It looks like we’re going to get something done. … It looks like he’s going to be coming here, but no paperwork has been signed yet.”
Franke declined to elaborate on what Baptista would add to the lineup of the Komets (12-10-0), who play host to the Wichita Thunder (11-9-4) at 8 p.m. Friday at Memorial Coliseum.
“Let’s discuss that when the deal is done,” Franke said.
Baptista, 28, was part of the nucleus that helped the Komets to overtime of Game 7 of the Western Conference finals last season, but Fort Wayne lost to eventual-champion Colorado. In 18 playoff games, Baptista had two goals and eight points.
With the Komets’ success came lucrative contract offers from overseas teams and Baptista would be the second player to return to Fort Wayne, joining Shawn Szydlowski, last season’s ECHL MVP and leading scorer, who rejoined the Komets after leaving his team in Norway.
Baptista is a contributor on special teams – he had a team-best three short-handed goals and significant power-play time last season – and good on faceoffs. He also netted four game-winning goals last season, fourth most on the team.
With Marco Roy currently skating with Chicago of the higher-level American Hockey League and Phelix Martineau with Laval of the AHL, the Komets may not have to release anyone to make room for Baptista when he arrives.
While I have your attention, there is some very important information to pass along to you from Blake Sebring, so I hope you'll pay attention. The 11th year of Komets Kare Package will be held Dec. 21 and 22 during a pair of Komes games. Fans are asked to bring canned goods donations, which will be presented to the Veterans Affairs Northern Indiana Health Care System food pantry.
Last year, Komets fans donated approximately $4,000 in goods to help the food bank, which opened in March. Donations can be dropped off in the upper lobby on the way into the arena.
Sponsored by the Komets, the Shepherd’s House, WANE and Federal Express, Komets Kare Package started in 2007 to donate items for Indiana men and women serving overseas in the armed services through Hoosiers Helping Heroes. When the founder of that organization passed away, Komets Kare Package switched to the VA as the primary charity three years ago. The VA Northern Indiana Health Care System serves more than 45,000 veterans throughout the region.
Due to regulations, the VA can only receive donated items through Voluntary Services. The VA will also accept monetary donations.
Food pantries are a national priority for the VA, especially to help homeless veterans. Requested items include pasta, boxed macaroni and cheese, Hamburger Helper, boxed rice and potato varieties, soup, peanut butter, spaghetti sauce, beans, canned pasta, canned meats, snack items, canned fruits and vegetables, snack bars, cereal/oatmeal, pudding or gelatin, coffee, toothbrushes and toothpaste, soap and deodorant.
The VA is unable to store fresh, frozen food or any liquids.
Donations of items such as gloves, hats, puzzle books, personal toiletries, hygiene products, blankets and cleaning supplies will also be accepted.