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Posted on Fri. Jan. 31, 2014 - 12:16 am EDT

December call-up helps steady K’s

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Komets

vs. Elmira

When: 8 p.m. today

at Toledo

When: 7:15 p.m. Saturday

Radio: 1190 AM, 92.3 FM

FORT WAYNE — The Komets have had a plethora of changes to their roster this season – they’ve made 10 trades since Nov. 11 – but they haven’t lifted much talent from lower leagues.

Sy Nutkevitch has been the player called up who has done the most.

In 16 games since the Komets brought him in from Bloomington of the Southern Professional Hockey League on Dec. 27, he has one goal, eight points and a plus-4 rating.

The Komets, who are 18-14-8, have gone 8-5-3 with the 26-year-old center in the lineup.

“I try to play well-rounded,” Nutkevitch said. “I like to take care of my own zone, but I think I can do some things offensively. I’m more of a playmaker than a shooter, that’s for sure. I like to pass first, pass second and shoot third. But I’d say I’ve really grown and matured since I started playing professionally and play both end of the rinks. If you’re not a top-end guy, you have to be able to play in all three zones and in all situations.”

The Komets added an offensive weapon Thursday with the addition of Dean Ouellet, 26, who had 10 goals and 30 points in 38 games this season with San Francisco, which ceased operations Monday because of financial problems.

He is not related to the Komets’ Christian Ouellet.

“Dean Ouellet is a player who can definitely help the team offensively,” general manager David Franke said.

Dean Ouellet was an all-star as a rookie last season with the first-year Bulls with 24 goals and 52 points in 66 games.

Meanwhile, Nutkevitch had 13 goals and 46 points in 61 games last season for Fort Worth of the CHL, another Double-A league. He skated five games with Bloomington this season – with one goal and six points – before the Komets called, in part, because they needed a center who could win faceoffs against ECHL competition.

Despite all the roster changes – which have included trading captain Nick Tuzzolino and stars Mickey Lang and Mike Vaskivuo – Nutkevitch wasn’t apprehensive about joining a team that seemed in December to be in turmoil.

“I was one of the changes, so I looked at the positive and that they were giving me a chance,” said Nutkevitch, who is from Dollard-des-Ormeaux, Quebec. “I wanted to show what I can do to the best of my abilities and show that the chance they gave me was well worth it.”

The Komets have won three of four games heading into tonight’s match at Memorial Coliseum against the Elmira Jackals (14-22-4), who are led by Vaskivuo’s six goals and 10 points over the last 10 games.

Fort Wayne and Elmira have played four times over the last five games, with each team winning twice.

The Komets should have Dean Ouellet tonight but aren’t sure if forward Jason Dale will be in the lineup after being acquired Wednesday from Ontario for cash.

jcohn@jg.net


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