Matthew Boudens is a dependable two-way forward for the Komets -- adding in a healthy dose of physicality and leadership -- and he helped them to the Kelly Cup championship last season. Drake Rymsha, a speedy forward, impressed in limited time with Fort Wayne during 2019-20 and made his NHL debut in the regular-season finale in May, after spending the campaign mostly on the Los Angeles Kings’ taxi squad.
Both have signed with the Komets for the coming season, along with forward Matt Alvaro.
Boudens, 27, played 80 regular-season games for Fort Wayne the past two seasons, totaling 14 goals, 35 points and 138 penalty minutes. In 13 playoff games en route to the Cup, he had three goals, eight points and 42 penalty minutes.
“Matt is a perennial winner. Success follows him wherever he goes,” Komets coach Ben Boudreau said. “He has had a huge impact both on and off the ice since first signing with the Komets two seasons ago. He has proven he has the ability to play every position on the ice and do so with success. Matt is a natural born leader which was on full display throughout our championship run.”
Boudens also won three championships at the University of New Brunswick, which has provided a bevy of recent talent for the Komets. Among the 20 players Fort Wayne has so far signed in advance of the Oct. 23 season opener against the Wheeling Nailers at Memorial Coliseum, there are three other former UNB players -- Oliver Cooper, Marcus McIvor and Samuel Harvey.
Boudens, who could be in consideration to be the Komets' captain, has played 12 games in the higher-level American Hockey League for the Chicago Wolves, totaling 23 penalty minutes. Not afraid to mix it up, Boudens has dropped the gloves to fight 10 times with the Komets, including two scraps last season.
Rymsha, 23, skated 24 games for Fort Wayne in 2019-20 on assignment from the Kings, who had drafted him in the fifth round of the 2019 NHL Draft, and he totaled nine goals, 17 points and 23 penalty minutes.
He played one game last season with the AHL’s Ontario Reign -- he had a fight -- and was scoreless with a plus-1 rating in a 5-1 loss to the Avalanche in Denver.
“Drake is a hungry, motivated, talented forward who plays in all situations,” Boudreau said. “He’s a guy that can score but also defend. He is responsible in his own end of the ice and a threat in the offensive zone. He has great vision, which elevates his linemates, and he will be a big piece in our future success.”
Alvaro, 25, has two games of professional experience with the ECHL's Orlando Solar Bears, though he didn’t tally any points, since completing his career at the University of Vermont in 2020. He was a college teammate of Komets goalie Stefanos Lekkas and forward Anthony Petruzzelli, another candidate to replace the retired A.J. Jenks as Fort Wayne's captain.
Notes: The Komets announced that Skylar Garver will return as equipment manager and Brendan Fitzgerald has been promoted to assistant equipment manager. Matt Willett of Fort Wayne Orthopedics is back as head trainer.