The Komets are one of only three teams in the 22-team ECHL without an affiliation with an NHL or AHL team. (The others are Colorado and Las Vegas.)
The Komets have acknowledged one potential downside: Late in the season, ECHL teams are often loaded up by their higher-level affiliates for the playoff run.
But the Komets believe, or hope, chemistry will be just as valuable.
Fort Wayne has only one NHL contracted player on its roster -- Tristan King of the Dallas Stars -- but that could change.
"Between now and (the playoffs), there’s a lot of things that could happen," general manager David Franke said. "Because we’re not affiliated today, it doesn’t mean we couldn’t get players from an NHL or AHL team tomorrow. A lot happens between now and the end of the season, but I don’t think it’s a disadvantage for us (not having an affiliation)."
The Komets still have players who are prospects for higher-level teams, such as goaltenders John Muse and Cody Reichard, defensemen Nick Tuzzolino and Simon Danis-Pepin and forward Brandon Marino.
And Fort Wayne players can still get called up, affiliation or not, just as Daniel Maggio and Kenny Reiter were last season.
"I think (being unaffiliated) is more of an advantage for the players here because they are all free agents," Franke said. "We’re right in the middle of the Midwest and there are all these American Hockey League teams in driving distance of Fort Wayne or easy flying."