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 and he's a little bit older and a little less in shape, but fans of the Komets might get a second chance of seeing Syroczynski, 29, in action.
The 6-foot-5, 225-pound forward, who was the Playoff MVP en route to the 2010 IHL championship, is arriving in Fort Wayne on Thursday and will get a tryout with the Komets.
For a team in need of a rugged power forward, Syroczynski could be just what they need.
"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 – he had 20 goals and 41 points in 73 UHL games – before spending two seasons in the ECHL and higher-level American Hockey League.
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 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 – the All-Star break ends with their game Saturday at Evansville – and they have been decimated by injuries and the recall of players to Norfolk of the AHL.
Captain Colin Chaulk, who has missed 25 consecutive games with a foot infection, is expected to begin practicing again Thursday with the intention of returning to the lineup in February.
Komets general manager David Franke declined to comment on Syroczynski, other than to say he has spoken with him "but nothing is finalized."
Syroczynski said he is hopeful to enter the Komets' linup about the same time as Chaulk, his former linemate in the IHL.
Notes: Kevin Bertram, Kelly Perrault, Ron Leef, Martin Burgers, John Hilworth, Steve Fletcher, Carey Lucyk, Adam Lewis and Chad Dameworth are expected to play in the Fort Wayne vs. Toledo Legends game prior to the Komets' game at Toledo on Feb. 17. Former Fort Wayne goalie Doug Teskey will play for Toledo. … Former Komets defenseman Mike Ratchuk signed with Florida.