FORT WAYNE — When Matt Syroczynski hung up his skates – seemingly at the height of his career – Komets fans were left to wonder what could have been.
Almost three years have passed, but fans of the Komets might get another chance to see Syroczynski, 29, in action.
The 6-foot-5, 225-pound forward, the Playoff MVP during the 2010 IHL championship run, is arriving in Fort Wayne today to try out for the Komets.
For a team in need of a rugged power forward, Syroczynski could be the answer.
“I told them, ‘You know where I’ll be: in front of the net, scoring the dirty goals,’ ” Syroczynski said. “I won’t be back hanging out at the blue line.”
This would be his third stint with the Komets. He played with them as a rookie out of Vermont in 2006-07, scoring 20 goals and 41 points in 73 UHL games.
In 2009-10, he had 30 goals and 53 points in 48 regular-season games, then added 11 goals and 16 points in 12 playoff games before the IHL was absorbed by the CHL.
He was working in Fort Myers, Fla., as part-owner of a restaurant when the Florida Everblades called this month because the end of the NHL lockout left them short-handed. He was scoreless in one ECHL game but skated about 15 shifts.
“When I played in that game, I realized how much I missed it,” Syroczynski said. “A lot of my former coaches saw that I played, and I started getting phone calls. … I’m in good shape. I’ve been working out five, six days a week and playing in a over-30 league that allows a couple of ex-professionals to play. I feel good.”
The Komets are 22-19-2 in their first ECHL season, and they have been decimated by injuries and the recall of players to Norfolk of the American Hockey League.
Captain Colin Chaulk, who has missed 25 consecutive games with a foot infection, is expected to begin practicing again today.
Komets general manager David Franke declined to comment on Syroczynski, other than to say he has spoken with him “but nothing is finalized.”
Syroczynski hopes to enter the Komets’ lineup about the same time as Chaulk, his former linemate, in February.
Notes: Komets rookie defenseman Daniel Maggio had three shots on goal, was plus-2 and had a penalty for slashing in the ECHL All-Star Game, as the All-Stars defeated the Colorado Eagles 7-3 in Loveland, Colo. Andrew Hotham of the Wheeling Nailers had two goals to lead the All-Stars.
… Former Komet Mike Ratchuk signed with Florida.