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Komets notes: Two-for-one deal sends Vail to Idaho

By Blake Sebring of The News-Sentinel<br /> <br /> On Tuesday afternoon the Komets traded center Brady Vail, right,  for former Cincinnati forward Colin Mulvey, right, as part of a 2-for-1 deal.
By Blake Sebring of The News-Sentinel

On Tuesday afternoon the Komets traded center Brady Vail, right,  for former Cincinnati forward Colin Mulvey, right, as part of a 2-for-1 deal.
Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.The Associated Press

Graham wanted more flexibility, depth with lineup

Tuesday, February 07, 2017 03:28 pm
After practice Tuesday morning, Komets coach Gary Graham said he hoped the team would be active in the ECHL trading market before the March 9 deadline. Six hours later the team made a major trade, dealing center Brady Vail to Idaho for right wing Colin Mulvey and center Travis Ewanyk who are both expected to play Friday night. "Brady is a heck of a player and is a hot commodity around the league," Graham said. "We thought to ourselves if somebody was interested that we would look and see if we could get 2-for-1."

The move gives the Komets another solid right wing in Mulvey who can help fill the hole left by Shawn Szydlowski playing in the American Hockey League, and Ewanyk gives them a larger center they have desperately needed for two seasons. He's 6-foot-1, 205 pounds and has played the last three seasons in the AHL.

"We've had a lot of left-shot wingers playing their off sides, and I think some of our guys are better on the left wing so Mulvey helps us there," Graham said. "Then it's been a match-up problem for us when we plays the Toledos and Bramptons who have bigger centers. We've been schooled on the face-off dot sometimes, and I wanted more of an identity with a bigger center, more of a shutdown center who can be scrappy and also contribute offensively, and Travis can do that."

Graham also said he was disappointed of late with some of the Komets forwards inability to consistently play a North and South, chip and chase game. He thinks Mulvey and Ewanyk will do that.

"I think we did a good job recruiting the team over the summer, but we signed some higher-end guys and expected call-ups, but we've also had an unprecedented amount of injuries which has affected our depth. The ability to make this move and get deeper and better in a couple of areas gives us the ability to evolve with three forwards lines that can score and maybe, officially, finally have a shutdown line that can actually shut down the other team's top line."

Mulvey, who was a Norwich University teammate of Kyle Thomas for four years, has been traded three times in a week. He was sent from Cincinnati to Indy on Jan. 31, and then to Idaho on Monday and the Komets on Tuesday.

The Komets also placed goaltender P.J. Musico on waivers. Graham said they looked to trade him, but none of the ECHL's affiliated teams wanted to make a move for a goaltender. Graham said the Komets want to stick with the recently returned Pat Nagle and Garrett Bartus.

Patriot-ic winger

It's hard to imagine anyone from Fort Wayne who had more fun with the Super Bowl than Thomas, a native of Waltham, Mass., who loves the New England Patriots. Maybe the game's first half was a little difficult at the team party, but the outcome was pure joy.

"I think Barts (Garrett Bartus) yelled 'Rise up!' at least eight times in the first half, and then he was pretty quiet in the second half," Thomas said. "I never gave up the faith. They are such a second-half team anyway that I wasn't too worried. Once they got the ball in overtime, I knew they were going to win. There was no way they were going to blow that comeback."

It's been such a great season so far that Thomas is already 13 points ahead of last year's scoring pace and ranks sixth in the ECHL scoring race with 53 points. Last week he took over the team lead with 22 goals.

Graham also recently rewarded Thomas with an A as alternate captain, replacing Szydlowski.

"He embodies perseverance, one of the characteristics you want as a leader," Graham said. "You don't just look for somebody who is producing, you look for somebody who goes about his work in the way that a leader does. He's probably our most consistent player night in and night out, practice in and practice out. You want a guy who is going to lead by example on the ice, and he's done a great job."

Welcome back

The Komets got a nice surprise late Monday night when they found out forward Trevor Cheek was returning after playing 20 games in the American Hockey League with Tucson. Cheek scored five goals and 13 points during a 12-game stint with the Komets earlier before getting three assists and eight penalty minutes with the Roadrunners.

His return also the trade of Vail because with Cheek and Mike Cazzola in the lineup, the Komets needed a more traditional third-line center.

He's here, but...

The Komets got to see another familiar face during practice Tuesday when Szydlowski showed up. Though he's officially under contract with Cleveland of the AHL, Szydlowski is sitting out a few games with a lower body injury and is heading back to Cleveland on Thursday.

And another thing

The other Komet who is playing in the AHL at this time, defenseman Bobby Shea, is actually not playing because he suffered a lower-body injury and is out six-to-eight weeks with Rochester. He has seven penalty minutes in 10 games with the Americans this season.

For more on the Komets, follow Blake Sebring on Twitter at @blakesebring, at his blog tailingthekomets.com and on Facebook at Blake Sebring.


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