Associated Press Garret Ross, left, shoots the puck past Detroit Red Wings goaltender Jimmy Howard while playing a preseason game for the Chicago Blackhawks, as Daniel Cleary, bottom, tries to defend in Detroit.
Thursday, August 30, 2018 1:00 am
Komets sign forward, deal for another; roster at 25
JUSTIN A. COHN | The Journal Gazette
The Komets needed to bolster their forward lines, and they did so Wednesday with the addition of two G's – Garret Ross and Garrett Ladd.
Ross, a 2012 fifth-round draft pick of the Chicago Blackhawks, has spent the entirety of his professional career – 288 games – in the higher-level American Hockey League and was signed as a free agent. Ladd was acquired in a trade with the ECHL's Tulsa Oilers for future considerations.
Their additions bring the Komets' roster to 25 players – 16 forwards, seven defensemen and goaltenders Kyle Hayton and Lukas Hafner, with training camp opening around Oct. 1. The Komets are expecting more players to arrive before then – including a goalie – through their recently finalized affiliation agreement with the NHL's Vegas Golden Knights.
Refilling the goal-scoring has been a major concern after losing the ECHL's leading scorer and MVP, Shawn Szydlowski, team MVP Gabriel Desjardins, Garrett Thompson and Mason Baptista all to overseas teams.
Back from last season, which ended with a Game 7 overtime loss to the eventual-champion Colorado Eagles in the Western Conference finals, are eight players: captain Jamie Schaafsma, forwards Marco Roy, Anthony Petruzzelli, Justin Hodgman and Taylor Crunk, plus defensemen Cody Sol, Jason Binkley and Ryan Lowney.
Ross and Ladd should help fill the void.
Ross, 26, spent last season with the AHL's Rochester Americans and totaled seven goals, 13 points and 66 penalty minutes in 51 games. His best statistical season came in 2014-15 with the Rockford IceHogs, accruing 21 goals, 43 points and 100 penalty minutes in 69 games.
Ross made news across the hockey world in 2016 when he was charged in Illinois for non-consensual dissemination of sexual images, commonly known as “revenge porn,” and was suspended by the Blackhawks. He was reinstated after the felony charges were dropped because the alleged images had been taken in his home state of Michigan, according to the Chicago Tribune.
He played in 2016-17 with the AHL's Tucson Roadrunners and had one goal and four points in 27 games. This will be the first season in the ECHL for the 6-foot, 176-pound left wing.
Ladd, 5-10, 176 pounds, is a proven ECHL scorer; he had 21 goals and 46 points in 48 games last season with Tulsa, while also playing eight games in the United Kingdom for the Coventry Blaze. In 2016-17, Ladd amassed 17 goals and 34 points in 58 games.
He played his college hockey at Wisconsin Stevens Point from 2012 to 2015 and was a teammate of Kevin Gibson, who is one of Fort Wayne's new defensemen.
Notes: Dennis Kravchenko, who skated last season for the Komets, has re-signed with the Adirondack Thunder after playing for the team in 2016-17. He had 19 goals and 46 points in 50 regular-season Fort Wayne games, then added two goals and eight points in 11 playoff games.