FORT WAYNE, Ind. – The Komets announced Monday that three players have agreed to terms and will be returning for the 2017-18 season. Forward Mason Baptista and defensemen Jason Binkley and Ryan Lowney become the first names to appear on the 66th Fort Wayne anniversary roster.
Baptista, 27, is expected to return for his third consecutive season with the Komets. The North York, Ontario native posted 16 goals and 30 points in 56 games last year while adding two assists in five playoff games. Baptista made his pro debut in 2014-15 with Quad City scoring two goals and three points in four ECHL games after completing a four-year collegiate career with St. Norbert. The forward skated 47 games with Wichita in 2015-16 before being acquired by the Komets in a trade. In 71 regular season games over the past two seasons with Fort Wayne Baptista has totaled 20 goals and 39 points.
Binkley, 25, appeared in 67 games with Fort Wayne last year scoring seven goals and 44 points and added a goal and three points in 10 playoff games. 2017-18 will be his third full pro year since making his pro debut in the ECHL with South Carolina near the end of 2014-15 after finishing his fourth season of college play with Ferris State. Binkley logged 45 ECHL games between Utah and Cincinnati in 2015-16 before joining Fort Wayne for the 2016-17 campaign. The defenseman has scored ECHL totals of nine goals and 53 points in 119 games.
Lowney made his pro debut last season skating 14 games at the end of year with the Komets collecting a goal and six points prior to dishing four assists in eight playoff games. The Redford, Michigan defenseman completed a four-year stint with Ferris State last season and recorded collegiate totals of seven goals and 58 points in 158 games with the Bulldogs.
“All three players announced today will be important contributing players for the Komets next season,” Komet general manager David Franke said. “Jason Binkley and Ryan Lowney will be important defensemen who we will look to for offense from the blue line, five-on-five and on the power play. Mason Baptista has the potential to score 20-plus goals in this league with regular ice time. It’s a good start to the Komets’ recruiting season.”
Opening night for the 66th season of Komet Hockey is slated for Saturday, Oct. 14 in Fort Wayne against the Toledo Walleye.