The Komets announced today that veteran forward Stefano Giliati has agreed to terms for next season. Forward Tyler Busch will return for his second season with the club. David Thomson has inked a deal, and rookie forward Liam Van Loon has agreed to a tryout.
Giliati, 34, will return to North America after 11 seasons of playing in Europe. He will also serve as team skills coach. The 5’11 forward played in the top leagues in Italy, Germany, Finland, Switzerland, and Russia, collecting 124 goals, 183 assists, and 307 total points in 476 games. The left-hander started his professional career with Toronto of the AHL in 2008. Gilati skated 46 games with Reading during the 2009-10 season, while splitting time with the Marlies. He also appeared in 69 games with Norfolk during the 2010-11 campaign. The veteran also played alongside Komet assistant coach Olivier Legault with Lewiston of the QMJHL in 2005-06.
“Stefano brings a wealth of experience with him and will be a positive influence on and off the ice,” said head coach Ben Boudreau. “He is highly skilled and will be relied upon to help drive our offense. We look forward to welcoming him and his family to Fort Wayne.”
Busch, 26, played in 59 games with the Komets last season, netting eight goals and 11 assists with 56 penalty minutes. The 6’3 forward also appeared in four games with the Henderson Silver Knights of the AHL.
“Busch is a versatile power forward who his teammates love,” said Boudreau. “His enthusiasm he brings to the rink every day is the same as his style of play. He is committed to playing the Komet style of hockey.”
Thomson, 24, made his professional debut last season with Wichita, collecting one goal and five assists. Before turning pro, the 6’1 forward skated three seasons with the University of Toronto, amassing 69 points (28g, 41a) in 62 games.
Van Loon, 20, will turn pro after an impressive season with the Niagara IceDogs of the OHL, scoring 37 points (19g, 13a) in 39 games.
Tolkinen retires– Last season’s Unsung Hero Award winner Zach Tolkinen has announced his retirement after seven professional seasons. Last year, the Lino Lakes, Minnesota, native played in all 72 regular season games, ending the campaign with a +21 rating.
The Komets will open up the season on October 21, at Indy, with the home opener on October 22, against Cincinnati.