Some fans surely panicked today when they saw that Shawn Szydlowski, and some other significant Komets players, were left off the team’s season-ending roster.
At this time, all it really means in the cases of Szydlowski, Craig Cescon, Alex Dubeau and Jordan Sims, who were also not protected by the Komets, is that they are free to negotiate with other teams.
“The window of opportunity for them here is not closed,” newly hired Komets coach Ben Boudreau said. “It just allows them to pursue other opportunities.”
Some players had it written into their contracts that they would be left off the season-ending roster for exactly this reason -- so their rights cannot be squatted upon.
The Komets were allowed to protect up to 20 players, per ECHL rules, and their list of 10 includes forwards Brady Shaw, Jake Kamrass, J.C. Campagna, Anthony Petruzzelli, Anthony Nellis and Kyle Hope, plus defensemen Ryan Lowney, Jason Binkley, Chase Stewart and Josh Elmes.
Lowney was already among a list of players verified to be headed elsewhere this season. He and Cody Sol will play in Slovakia; Justin Hodgman in Germany; and Sean Flanagan in Denmark. Marco Roy, Mason Baptista and Cam Knight were dealt last week to Idaho, Greenville and Tulsa, respectively, to complete trades for future considerations.
The Komets also opted last week not to re-sign Jamie Schaafsma, the Komets’ captain and MVP last season.
The Komets, who have yet to sign anyone for this season, can reserve the rights to a maximum of eight players by extending qualifying offers to them by June 30.
A breakup with Szydlowski, the ECHL’s leading scorer and MVP in 2017-18, wouldn’t be totally shocking because the Komets are overhauling their roster. It wouldn’t be a new experience, either; he had left the Komets last summer to play in Norway but returned Nov. 5 after skating in only 11 games.
But it seems the Komets are still negotiating with him. Szydlowski will surely get a lot of interest from teams in the U.S. and overseas, after he totaled 19 goals and 55 points in 59 regular-season games, adding one goal and three points in the six-game playoff loss to the Toledo Walleye.
During his six seasons with the Komets, Szydlowski has been selected team MVP and best defensive forward, served as an alternate captain, captained the All-Star team and played in two conference finals.
Other players who had been on the Komets' protected list June 3 and left off the season-ending roster were Gabriel Desjardins and Curtis Leonard, who didn't play last season for Fort Wayne, and Gage Torrel.