Most players would salivate over the idea of totaling 19 goals and 55 points in 59 games, the numbers accrued by Shawn Szydlowski last season.
Szydlowski, however, expects more of himself.
Upon re-signing today with the Komets, Szydlowski, who was the ECHL’s MVP and leading scorer in 2017-18, sounded intent on upping his production this season.
“I had a tough year last year. I didn’t have a great year on the ice and wasn’t as consistent as I’d have liked,” said Szydlowski, who began the season in Norway but quickly returned to Fort Wayne. “There were a lot of negative thoughts throughout the year about my play and just how things were perceived last year were kind of negative. It had me second-guessing where I was at in my career.
"After a lot of reflection, I have rediscovered my passion for the game and I have a goal of where I see myself at. That’s what I’ve been working on all summer and I’m really excited to get the season started.”
Also added to the Fort Wayne roster were forward Matthew Boudens and defenseman Eric Israel, the first two players signed by new head coach Ben Boudreau that weren’t with the Komets last season.
They join a nucleus that includes forwards Brady Shaw and Anthony Petruzzelli, along with defensemen Jason Binkley and Chase Stewart.
Boudens, 25, is coming off his fifth season with the University of New Brunswick, for which he scored six goals and 18 points in 28 games, also totaling 101 penalty minutes. He captured his third University Cup Championship with the Reds and finished with collegiate totals of 17 goals, 64 points, 309 penalty minutes and a plus-62 rating in 135 games.
Israel, 24, played at Robert Morris University and had 21 goals and 85 points in 146 games. He led the Colonials’ defensemen each of his last three seasons in goals, assists and points. Last season, he was tied for fifth in Division I in blocked shots with 85.
Szydlowski, a 28-year-old right wing, will be with the Komets for a seventh straight season. He’s already one of the most decorated players in franchise history, having been named both team MVP and Best Defensive Forward twice, and also making the All-ECHL First Team twice.
He totaled 31 goals and 79 points over 64 games in his ECHL MVP season and helped the Komets to the conference finals for a second time.
Last season, he had one goal and three points in six playoff games, as the Komets fell to the Toledo Walleye in the first round.
“I think it’s exciting every year (to sign a contract), obviously, but it is this year especially with it being kind of a clean slate,” Szydlowski said. “There aren’t too many returning guys and there’s a new coach. As far as I’ve been told, things are going to be run smoothly and little bit different. It was time for a change and I’m really looking forward to getting back after it with a new group of guys.”
The Komets open the season Oct. 12 at Memorial Coliseum against the Kalamazoo Wings.