Undoubtedly, goaltender Nick Boucher’s No. 33 will hang in the Memorial Coliseum rafters some day.
He has guided the Komets to four championships in five years and was selected by teammates as MVP last season.
But could he have played his final game with the Komets already?
General manager David Franke will meet today with Boucher, 31, and they hope to decide whether the goalie is going to undergo surgery on his injured hips, try to play through the pain or possibly retire.
Boucher, who is 129-53-18 in the regular season, and 33-13 in the playoffs, wrote in a text message: “Nothing has been decided yet but probably will be this week. We’ll meet to discuss everything and, I imagine, at that point we’ll know what route we’re going with.”
The Komets must set in motion their plans for goaltending in the coming season, their first in the ECHL. Training camp opens Oct. 1.
“I’m leaning that surgery will probably be the route that’s taken here,” said Franke, who said the team and Boucher have been in consultation with physicians and athletic trainer Shawn Dundon.
Even if Boucher chooses to battle through the cam impingement in his hips – the balls and sockets rub abnormally in this common injury for goalies – the Komets know they will have to get another top-tier goalie to guard the net.
If Boucher gets surgery, which would likely keep him out until at least late December, the Komets would need to get two solid goalies and then evaluate Boucher when he’s cleared to play, if he still wants to do so.
“If Nick does come back and doesn’t have the surgery, we’ve got to have at least another goalie here that will be possibly a No. 1 or share the time with Nick. But it’s all up in the air as to what he’s going to do. How we work this out will give us the direction we need to take,” said Franke, whose team won IHL championships in 2008, 2009 and 2010, and then the CHL title last season.
Last season, while playing through pain and cortisone shots, Boucher was 31-12-4 in the regular season and 12-5 in the playoffs. Given Boucher’s penchant for playing well in the playoffs, Franke would prefer Boucher to get the surgery and be back for a stretch run.
So far, the Komets have re-signed forwards Colin Chaulk, Brett Smith and Lincoln Kaleigh Schrock, along with rookie defenseman Kyle Atkins. They have been in negotiations with several players from last season’s team, including Chris Auger, Frankie DeAngelis, Jean-Michel Rizk, Stephon Thorne and playoff MVP Mike Vaskivuo, whom the Komets they are trying to dissuade from playing in France.