Baptista expected back with K’s
Mason Baptista is coming off the best season of his career : he totaled 18 goals and 50 points in 62 games for the Komets : and multiple sources told The Journal Gazette on Wednesday that he was traveling from Germany to re-sign with Fort Wayne.
Baptista had one goal and 11 points in 25 games for his team in Germany, Freiburg, which released him Tuesday. Announcement of his return to Fort Wayne for a fourth straight season will come today or Friday.
“It looks like we’re going to get something done,” Komets general manager David Franke said. “It looks like he’s going to be coming here, but no paperwork has been signed yet.”
Franke declined to elaborate on what Baptista would add to the lineup of the Komets (12-10-0), who play host to the Wichita Thunder (11-9-4) at 8 p.m. Friday at Memorial Coliseum.
“Let’s discuss that when the deal is done,” Franke said.
Baptista, 28, was part of the nucleus that helped the Komets reach overtime of Game 7 of the Western Conference finals last season, when they lost to eventual-champion Colorado. In 18 playoff games, Baptista had two goals and eight points.
With the Komets’ success came lucrative offers from overseas teams and Baptista would be the second player to return midseason to Fort Wayne, joining Shawn Szydlowski, last season’s ECHL MVP and leading scorer, who rejoined the Komets last month after leaving his team in Norway.
Baptista is a contributor on special teams : he had a team-best three short-handed goals and significant power-play time last season : and is good on faceoffs. He also netted four game-winning goals last season, fourth most on the team.
With Marco Roy skating with Chicago of the higher-level American Hockey League and Phelix Martineau with Laval of the AHL, the Komets may not have to release anyone to make room for Baptista when he arrives.