Brandon Hawkins was often exhilarating to watch last season. His execution of the so-called Michigan move, a lacrosse-style goal in which he picked the puck up with his stick and flicked it over the goalie but underneath the crossbar, was maybe the prettiest goal scored in the ECHL.
Now, the forward will bring his playmaking ability to the Komets.
The Komets, who are gearing up for a start to their 69th season around Feb. 12, signed Hawkins, forward Morgan Adams-Moisan and goaltender Louis-Philip Guindon on Wednesday.
“Brandon is an elite-level scorer, as we saw firsthand many times last season,” Komets coach Ben Boudreau said. “He has one of the best shots I’ve seen at this level and he’s every goalie’s nightmare because he can score from anywhere.”
Hawkins, 26, totaled 16 goals and 33 points in 47 games for Wheeling last season, as a rookie out of Northeastern University. Hawkins also played six games for Wilkes-Barre/Scranton of the higher-level American Hockey League. A friend of Komets forward Shawn Szydlowski, Hawkins skated in Wheeling with Fort Wayne defenseman Blake Siebenaler.
Hawkins joins defenseman Randy Gazzola as players signed off the Toledo roster, after the Walleye announced Jan. 5 it was opting out of the season.
Thirteen ECHL teams began playing in December, and 12 have opted out, leaving the Komets as the only team yet to start. The Komets have 22 players on their current roster, including Adams-Moisan, 23, who had nine goals and 21 points in 55 games last season with Maine.
Guindon, 25, played last season for McGill University and was 12-8-0 with a 2.22 goals-against average, a .941 save percentage and two shutouts. He and Stefanos Lekkas, who has one game of pro experience with the Komets, are the only goalies currently on the Fort Wayne roster.
Gazzola, 27, had one goal and five points in seven games for the Walleye in 2018-19, then added one goal and eight points in 24 playoff games. He spent last season in Italy and was a college team at New Brunswick with some current Komets, including Matthew Boudens.
Gazzola’s signing was reported Monday by The Journal Gazette but formally announced by the team Wednesday.
“Randy is a high-quality defenseman that comes with a winning history. He can be relied upon to produce offense from the blue line,” Boudreau said. “Randy can think the game better than most and we are excited to have the opportunity to sign someone of his caliber so late in the year.”