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Komets at Elmira
Face-off: 7 p.m.
Radio: WOWO, 1190-AM
Ever wonder why players who get traded aren't immediately bitter and angry? Sometimes it works out for the best.
Defenseman Jace Coyle could have been very upset when he got traded by Greenville to the Komets for cash Oct. 16.
"They had a lot of 'D,' and I was excited for the opportunity to come here,'' Coyle said. "After being there for almost a month, I wasn't sure how I was going to fit into their system and this was a better opportunity for me. I think it's worked out for the best.''
He's excelled ever since arriving in Fort Wayne, scoring nine points in his first 10 games which helped ignite the Komets' offense. They desperately needed a defenseman with his skills.
"He alleviates a lot of the pressure on the forwards by using his skating ability to move the puck,'' forward Chris Auger said. "He skates and never stops moving his feet.''
Sometimes it looks like Coyle's free-wheeling style could get him into trouble, but often it creates openings for the forwards because Coyle is actually stretching the defense with his puck-handling ability.
Komets coach Gary Graham didn't play Coyle immediately, giving him a week to get to know his new teammates. He started by being paired with Nick Tuzzolino and now has been working with Rob Kwiet since Tuzzolino was traded recently.
Finding consistency with different partners is never easy, and Coyle's scoring has dropped off with 10 points in 16 games. That still ranks 11th among ECHL defensemen.
Coyle thinks he can still do more. He'd like to generate more points 5-on-5 and score goals more consistently.
"I think I can probably bury a few more pucks,'' he said. "I just have to bear down in some of those situations.''
Heading into a four-game road stretch, the Komets hope that's likely to happen soon.
"He just works hard,'' Graham said. "He's our most consistent defenseman because every shift he's skating hard and working. Since I got him I've been trying to challenge him, and he's the total package.''
Coyle has also been hitting on defense and sparking the Komets' power play. The trade is quickly turning from an investment into a steal.