Big things were expected of forward Chris Auger last season – he had 38 goals and 71 points in 75 games in 2011-12 en route to the CHL championship – but his first ECHL season was derailed after four games by a hit to the knee from Evansvilles Aaron Gens.
Auger is going to get another chance with the Komets, though.
The Komets signed Auger, forward John Dunbar, center Scott Fleming, and defensemen Joe Hartman and Kyle Follmer on Tuesday.
Im thrilled to be coming back, Auger said. I cant wait to get started. Its been a pretty long offseason for me, if thats what you want to call it, and I want to get with the guys, get familiarity with my new teammates and start playing again.
Auger said his knee is back to 100 percent and he had offers to play for several other teams.
Fort Wayne was the best fit. I had a comfort level having been there for two years, Auger said. Theyve treated me well, throughout my injury and even before that. My heart was still in Fort Wayne, and I wanted to be back there.
Auger, 25, said he wants to take more of a leadership role this season.
Im excited to reunite with Chris Auger. He plays a puck possession game and can help the team out in many different ways, said coach Gary Graham, who was an assistant with Fort Wayne in 2011-12 and replaced Al Sims after his retirement this year.
Dunbar, 22, skated 17 games last season with the Komets. He had five goals and 10 points. He also scored 13 goals and 30 points in 34 games for Graham with Pensacola.
John Dunbar is an explosive player that brings a consistent work effort every time he hits the ice, Graham said. He played a big part in our championship in Pensacola last year and his time with the Komets last year proved he can play in this league. I look forward to seeing John in training camp.
Fleming, 25, played six games last season with Gwinnett of the ECHL, tallying three goals and four points. Prior to that, he skated for Dartmouth College, netting 13 goals with 31 points in 32 games as a senior and team captain in 2010-11.
Scott Fleming is a dynamic skater with tremendous speed, Graham said. His collegiate coaching staff raved about him, as well as coaches within his conference.
Hartman, 24, is a rookie fresh off a four-year collegiate career at Miami (Ohio), for which he had five assists and 24 penalty minutes last season.
He was an All-Star in the United States Hockey League in 2008-09 for the Indiana Ice.
Follmer, 25, is also a rookie, who had three goals and 12 points in 36 games last season for Northern Michigan. He led the schools defensemen in 2011-12 with 26 points in 36 games.
Fort Wayne, which opens its season Oct. 19 against the Toledo Walleye at Memorial Coliseum, now has 15 players on its roster – nine forwards and six defensemen.