The captain is coming back. The Cup-winning goaltender is, too.
Among the Fort Wayne Komets' four signings Tuesday were longtime defenseman Guy Dupuis, who captained the team to their Turner Cup playoff championship last season, and Nick Boucher, who was the netminder in the last three games as the Komets recovered from a 3-1 series deficit against the Port Huron IceHawks.
The team also signed physical right wing Brad MacMillan and rookie defenseman Danko Mironovic.
For the 38-year-old Dupuis, it will be his 19th season in the professional ranks, his 12th with the Komets. Last season, he tallied 15 goals and 58 points in 69 games and was selected as the International Hockey League's Defenseman of the Year. He took the same honor with the Komets the previous season in the United Hockey League.
Boucher, 27, was 24-2-4 with a 2.32 goals-against average in the regular season, while splitting time with Kevin Reiter, who won the IHL's Goaltender of the Year award. In the playoffs, Boucher went 5-2 with a 2.09 GAA.
"My wife's going to be attending law school in Chicago, so it made sense for both of us to stay in the Midwest," said Boucher, who turned down offers to play in Europe. "It's pretty well known in minor-pro hockey that they treat their players well in Fort Wayne. It was a no brainer and wasn't a hard decision on my part to want to come back."
The Komets are still talking with Reiter about a return, an idea Boucher supports.
"I would love to play with him again," Boucher said. "We both enjoyed having each other as partners. Whether it's Kevin or another guy, with the way the (76-game) schedule is, it's not a bad thing to have two guys who can play. Look at last season, I was out for a month with an injury, so it's good to have another guy you can look to."
Neither Reiter nor general manager David Franke couldn't be reached for comment.
MacMillan, 25, played five games last season with Trois of the semi-pro Ligue Nord Americaine de Hockey, tallying two goals and three points. In 52 games with Missouri of the UHL in 2005-06, he had seven goals, 12 points and 230 penalty minutes in 52 games.
Mironovic, 21, who is 6-foot-3, 220 pounds, had seven goals, 22 points and 80 penalty minutes with Vaughan, a junior team, last season.
The Komets have eight players under contract, including forwards Konstantin Shafranov, P.C. Drouin and Colin Chaulk, plus defenseman Kevin Bertram, all of whom were on last season's team.
"As many guys as we can sign from last season's team, the better," Dupuis said. "We had good chemistry in the dressing room and obviously a lot of talent, with good character. To me, the more we can sign from last year, the better. So far so good. I've seen teams that had lots of talent and didn't mesh o the ice, but we had a lot of talent and we meshed. Don't break a good thing.
-- By Justin A. Cohn, The Journal Gazette