Tony Villalobos-May | Colorado Eagles Shawn St-Amant, left, and the Komets' Ryan Lowney chase the puck during Game 7 of the Western Conference finals at the Budweiser Events Center in Loveland, Colorado, in 2018.
Tuesday, September 03, 2019 2:30 pm
K's sign coveted forward St-Amant
JUSTIN A. COHN | The Journal Gazette
The Komets know just how difficult Shawn St-Amant can be to play against. He was with the Colorado Eagles team that won back-to-back Kelly Cup championships, defeating the Komets in the 2018 seven-game conference finals along the way.
Now St-Amant will join Fort Wayne.
The forward was added to the roster today, giving the Komets 24 players for the upcoming season, including 14 forwards, eight defensemen and two goaltenders.
“Shawn St-Amant, he’s a versatile, two-way center, a right-handed shot guy who’s dangerous on the power play and the penalty kill, and can play both ends of the rink,” Komets coach Ben Boudreau said. “It was a no-brainer; there were 26 teams that were probably after him.”
Boudreau, who was elevated from assistant coach in May, said he had a plan heading into the summer to target particular players, and St-Amant was high on that list.
“We wanted to have options so we didn’t go into another season using 55 players. Shawn St-Amant was one of those guys on our list back in April, that we put together as potential signings,” Boudreau said. “He’s a two-time Kelly Cup (winner), a champion in the (Quebec Major Junior Hockey League). He’s been a winner everywhere he’s been.
“This has been three months of work putting together this roster. Any time you can add a guy with experience, who has won and knows how to get there, it’s imperative that we do that.”
The Komets’ nucleus of forwards includes Shawn Szydlowski, Jake Kamrass, Anthony Petruzzelli, former Toledo Walleye star A.J. Jenks and Brady Shaw, who played alongside St-Amant with the Eagles. Olivier Galipeau, a new Fort Wayne defenseman, won a QMJHL title with St-Amant, too.
“If you look at the roster, you’re going to notice a lot of guys who have won,” Boudreau said. “We’re not going to guess how to get to the promised land, we’re going to have guys who know what it takes.”
St-Amant, 22, 6 feet, 195 pounds, spent most of last season with the Hartford Wolf Pack of the higher-level American Hockey League, totaling three goals and six points in 44 games. He also played seven games with the ECHL’s Maine Mariners, getting four goals and seven points.
With the Eagles, he skated in 46 regular-season games between 2016 and 2018, accruing 15 goals and 36 points. In the playoffs, he had eight goals and 22 points in 36 games and was a pivotal player in the series against Fort Wayne.
“That was one of the same things with Jenks. You remember all those guys. They’re so tough to coach against,” Boudreau said.
“Shawn St-Amant scored one of the most important goals of that entire series and you think, ‘This guy is unbelievable.’ … You remember the damage these guys did against you and you hope that they can do the same thing in the future, but for you and not against you.”
St-Amant, who will attend AHL camp this fall with the Ontario Reign, played 62 AHL games between 2016 and 2018 with San Antonio, totaling seven goals and 12 points.
He was an accomplished player in the junior ranks, getting 23 goals and 57 points in 60 games his final season, 2015-16, for Val d’Or of the QMJHL. He and Galipeau won a QMJHL championship in 2014 with the Foreurs.
With so many forwards of high regard, including Brett McKenzie, who had 16 goals and 45 points in 62 games last season for the ECHL’s Atlanta Gladiators, or Brad Ross, a 2010 second-round pick of the NHL’s Toronto Maple Leafs, there should be much competition for top- and second-line ice time.
“We’re running into problems of where we’ll fit everybody, but it’s a good problem to have. … We’re trying to stockpile the depth charts, which is what you need,” Boudreau said.
“We’re not building to win a 72-game regular season. I don’t necessarily care where we finish in the standings. We’re building to win in the postseason.”
For humor sake, Boudreau said he noticed The Journal Gazette's post last week about the lack of right-shooting forwards and noted St-Amant is a right-handed shot. St-Amant and Szydlowski are the only right-handed shooting forwards.