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Komets trade for center to boost scoring


Center Bobby Hughes is a prolific scorer – he had nine goals and 17 points in 11 playoff games last season with Alaska of the ECHL – and he’s the newest member of the Komets.

Fort Wayne acquired him from the Aces on Monday in exchange for future considerations.

“We’ll be able to let everybody know on Friday what the future considerations are,” said Komets general manager David Franke, adding Hughes will be a top-six forward.

Hughes, 25, was selected in the fourth round of the NHL draft by the Carolina Hurricanes in 2006.

He has since played 59 games in the higher-level American Hockey League with Albany and Bridgeport, tallying 10 goals and 24 points.

Last season, he had 15 goals and 39 points in 59 regular-season games with the Aces.

Hughes will be familiar to fans of the Komets, having faced them in 2010-11 while with Wichita of the CHL.

“Yeah, he’s a good player,” Franke said, “and he’s got some American League experience. From what I understand, he’s pretty excited to be coming here.”

The Komets, who missed the playoffs in their first ECHL season, now have 16 players on their roster – 10 forwards and six defensemen.

The Komets open their season Oct. 19 against the Toledo Walleye at Memorial Coliseum.

“We liked having Bobby here, and by all indications he loved it in Alaska,” Alaska coach Rob Murray said in a statement. “However, some things changed for him this summer, and he needed to be closer to his home in Toronto. So he asked if we could move him to a team out east, and we tried to respect his situation. We thank him for his effort last year, and wish him the best of luck in his career.

“I am very confident that the futures we receive as part of this deal will go a long way in making us a better team next season.”

The Komets remain in negotiations with center Jean-Michel Rizk, who had 19 goals and 34 points in 66 games last season with Fort Wayne, while also getting called up for five games with Norfolk of the AHL.

“We’ve had some discussions and that’s about where we’re at,” said Franke, who has re-signed Brandon Marino, Lincoln Kaleigh Schrock, Chris Auger, John Dunbar, Matt Firman and Mathieu Gagnon from last season’s team.

This summer, the Komets ended their affiliation agreement with the NHL’s Anaheim Ducks and with Norfolk, but they continue to look for a higher-level team with which to align.

“It’s something we’re still working on,” Franke said. “We don’t really have anything to talk about right now but we’re still working on it.”