The Journal Gazette
Thursday, August 29, 2019 4:51 pm

K’s didn’t see spot for Campagna

Justin A. Cohn | The Journal Gazette

J.C. Campagna had one of the most prolific seasons, in terms of goal scoring for the Komets, in recent memory.

But the Komets didn’t see a spot for him this season under new coach Ben Boudreau. So they traded his rights today to the Norfolk Admirals for future considerations.

“After everything we’ve done this summer, recruiting the team and putting the roster together, we didn’t really have a spot for Campagna,” Komets general manager David Franke said. “We thought there were some other players who could do the job.”

Meanwhile, Fort Wayne signed goaltender Max Strang, defenseman Carl Greco and former Trine forward Isaiah Crawford, who became the first Thunder player to join the Komets.

Campagna had 35 goals and 49 points in 61 regular-season games with the Komets, who had acquired him early last season from the Allen Americans, and Campagna added one goal and four points in six playoff games. He was second in the entire ECHL in goal scoring, three back of Tulsa’s Adam Pleskach.

Campagna’s goal total was the highest by a Fort Wayne player since Shawn Szydlowski netted 38 in 2014-15. But Campagna’s goal-to-assist ratio and a minus-4 rating had the Komets believing they needed more multi-faceted players, Franke said.

“At the end of the day, we just didn’t have a spot on the roster and wanted to get him moved so he knew where he was going to play this year,” Franke said.

The Komets have re-signed several of their top scorers from last season, namely Szydlowski, Brady Shaw, Jake Kamrass and Anthony Petruzzelli, but they parted with all-star Justin Hodgman, who is now in Germany, and Campagna, who played one game last season with Chicago of the higher-level American Hockey League.

Strang, 29, is the second goalie signed so far by the Komets, joining rookie Stephen Dhillon, though they should get one from the NHL’s Vegas Golden Knights and perhaps another from the Los Angeles Kings.

Strang, who is coming out of retirement, played in 2014-15 for Pensacola of the Single-A Southern Professional Hockey League, going 28-14-5 with a 2.33 goals-against average and a .919 save percentage. He also played for the Komets in 2013-14, going 0-1-3 with a 3.40 GAA and .869 save percentage.

Greco, 25, played 25 games last season in the SPHL, totaling one goal and nine points for Pensacola and Fayetteville.

Crawford, 23, had 20 goals and 36 points in 20 games for Trine in the American Collegiate Hockey Association, Division III. The Detroit native, who is likely to end up this season in the SPHL or the Single-A Federal Hockey League, led the Thunder in goal-scoring and was second in points to Jacob Ruelle’s 42 last season. Prior to Trine, he played at Mercyhurst in 2016-17.

“It’s kind of exciting,” Franke said. “Trine is just 45 minutes north of Fort Wayne and it’s a newer program. Hopefully it will help their recruiting to have one of their better players come to our camp. It’s a win-win situation.”

The Komets now have 23 players for training camp, including 13 forwards, eight defensemen and two goalies.

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