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Komets sign three, wait for affiliation decision

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Blueline starts with Lacasse, Maione, Daniels

Tuesday, July 1, 2014 - 10:26 pm

Within 10 days, the Komets' plans for building the 2014-15 roster could be solidified.

General Manager David Franke said he hopes to hear by then final details on an affiliation with a National Hockey League team. That could include two-to-four players, including a goaltender.

``I'm supposed to get some paperwork later in the week,'' Franke said, though he declined to disclose which team he's talking with. ``Things slowed down with the draft and the first day of free agency today. The NHL right now is pretty busy. I'm dealing directly with the NHL people on this. In the end of the day, that's who you are getting affiliated with.''

During the Komets first two years playing in the ECHL, they thought the best way to be competitive was as an independent team, but Franke said he's changed his mind on that.

``We want to make sure that we deal with all the people at the top and they understand our situation and we understand theirs,'' he said. ``We've treaded slowly on this because we played until the middle of May, and we want to make sure we've got the right partner.''

The Komets had a working agreement with Norfolk of the American Hockey League two years ago that saw the Admirals send 13 players to Fort Wayne. Not one of those players was re-signed by Norfolk last season.

Last season, the Komets received forward Shawn Szydlowski and goaltender Andrei Makarov from the Buffalo Sabres on a secondary agreement.

The team announced the signings Tuesday of defenseman Will Lacasse, Matthew Maione and Drew Daniels, and qualifying offers to Ben Meisner, Scott Fleming, Brandon Marino, Aaron Clarke, Christian Ouellet and Dean Ouellet. Marino and Dean Ouellet have signed to play in Europe next season, Fleming is expected to follow them, and Aaron Clarke is likely to retire, but the Komets want to protect their rights in case they change their minds. Qualifying offers mean the team retains a player's rights for the next year.

``We have plenty of room and plenty of time,'' Franke said. ``We're not going to turn this roster over again halfway through the season. We're going to do a better job of getting the right players in the summer so we don't have to go through that turmoil again. I don't want to go through another season like we had last year.''

Lacasse was a mainstay on the Komets' defense last year, playing 60 game. Maione joined the team late in the season and then played in 11 games. Daniels turned out to be the player-to-be-named later in the midseason deal that sent goaltender Cody Reichard to Utah. He played 57 games last year with Cincinnati and Utah.