FORT WAYNE — It hasn’t taken long for Jordon Southorn to make an impact for the Komets.
The 6-foot-3, 200-pound defenseman has three goals, six points and a plus-3 rating in six games, since being acquired from Elmira for captain Nick Tuzzolino on Nov. 25.
The Komets have continued to struggle to win since the trade, going 2-3-1, but the ratio of goals scored to goals allowed has improved.
The Komets have been outscored 19-17 since the trade. It was 53-43 before it. The power play has looked better, scoring on 3 of 22 opportunities. The Komets are 13 for 87 (14.9 percent) on power plays this season.
“His offensive instincts take over on the power play,” coach Gary Graham said of Southorn. “He’s got great placement of the shot and keeps his head up. You can see him locating where he wants to get it, and it will be a big step in the right direction for our power play with him on it.”
Tuzzolino, a defenseman, had one goal, seven points and a minus-17 rating when he was traded to the Jackals. He was almost immediately called up to Rochester of the American Hockey League and he’s scoreless with a minus-2 rating in four games with the Americans.
Southorn knew he had been acquired for the captain, and that few trades are as significant as that, but he came into Fort Wayne (8-8-4) not really knowing much about the Komets’ struggles, which have included blown leads in the majority of the losses.
“I didn’t really look into the standings, but talking to Gary, and he said he was trading the captain away (for me). It’s a fresh start for (Tuzzolino) as well,” Southorn said. “Gary mentioned how some big leads had been blown. It had been a rough patch here, and the guys will get through it. They seem really upbeat, and we’ll get through it.”
Southorn, a fourth-round draft pick of the NHL’s Buffalo Sabres in 2008, had 11 goals, 34 points, a plus-27 rating and 77 penalty minutes last season with Elmira.
He had one goal and four points through three games this season with Elmira before leaving for England to play for the Dundee Stars. He returned to North America after three games with Dundee and was soon picked up by Fort Wayne.
“I had a great time in Elmira. It’s a great organization and great bunch of guys,” said Southorn, 23. “It was more personal thing I was going through. So I went over to England and that organization – the Dundee Stars – treated me well too. But I felt like I wasn’t done with (North American) hockey yet. I wanted to come back and took some personal time. Gary had been interested in me over the summer, and things kind of came together real quick. It’s a fresh start.”
The Komets play Saturday at Kalamazoo, Mich.