Komets Sign Pistilli, Announce Return of Shafranov

Fort Wayne, IN– The Komets announced Monday that veteran forward Matthew Pistilli has agreed to terms and has been added to the preseason roster.

Pistilli (pis-TILL-ee), 25, completed his fifth pro year last season sharing time with Charlotte and Bridgeport in the AHL while also appearing in 31 ECHL games with Florida (17g, 40pts).  “Matthew Pistilli is a player we were able to sign at this late date,” Komets general manager David Franke said.  “He is an offensive power-forward type who puts points up wherever he has played and will be an exciting player for our fans to watch.  I’m happy that Matthew chose Fort Wayne as the next opportunity in his career.”

The Montreal, Quebec native was a major juniors standout winning the 2008 QMJHL Championship with Gatineau.  In 2008-09 Pistilli completed his fourth full year in the QMJHL leading Shawinigan with 5 goals and ranked seventh in the league with 86 points.  The skater helped Shawinigan to the finals with 13 goals and 20 points in 21 playoff games and received the league’s Humanitarian of the Year Award.

Pistilli signed a three-year entry level contract with the NHL’s Carolina Hurricanes as an undrafted free agent in 2009 and began his pro career skating 11 games with Florida in the ECHL while making his AHL debut with Albany posting five goals and 41 points during 2009-10.

Pistilli split 2010-11 with Florida (27 games) and the AHL’s Charlotte Checkers (50 games) before logging 73 AHL games with Charlotte in 2011-12.

Prior to last season, Pistilli set pro career highs of 25 goals, 49 assists and 74 points (5th in the ECHL) in 74 total games with South Carolina and Florida.  He also appeared in three AHL games with Charlotte.
The Fort Wayne preseason roster reaches 21 players and includes 13 forwards, seven defensemen and one goaltender.  Forwards:  Brett Beebe, Paul Crowder, Mike Embach, Angelo Esposito, Eric Faille, Thomas Frazee, Alex Hudson, Christian Ouellet, Matthew Pisitilli, Kaleigh Schrock, C.J. Severyn, Shawn Szydlowski, Greg Wolfe.  Defensemen:  Ian Barteaux, Drew Daniels, Matt Krug, William Lacasse, Matthew Maione, Cody Sol, Mikael Tam.  Goaltender:  Pat Nagle.

Shaf will be back— The Komets also announced Monday that former left winger Konstantin Shafranov will return as an assistant coach.  Shafranov joined the Komets mid-season last year as an assistant to head coach Gary Graham.

“Konstantin Shafranov was one of the most accomplished players in Komet history,” Franke added.  “His offensive knowledge and feel for the game will be a big asset to Coach Gary Graham.   We are very excited to have Shaffy with the team from the beginning of training camp.”

Before his Fort Wayne debut, the Kazakhstan native skated four seasons of Russian elite play where he was the leading scorer for Torpedo Ust-Kamenogorsk of the CIS (Commonwealth Of Independent States) league during 1992-93 and 1993-94.  In 1995-96 Shafranov arrived in Fort Wayne where he led IHL rookies with 46 goals and tied a Fort Wayne history record of an eight-game goal-scoring streak.  He was selected to the IHL Eastern Conference All-Star Team and named the IHL Rookie of the Year.

Shafranov (shuh-FRAHN-off) was selected by St. Louis in the ninth round of the 1996 NHL Entry Draft.  He debuted in the NHL appearing in five games with the Blues and made his AHL start logging 62 games with Worcester.

After registering career highs of 28 goals, 52 assists and 80 points in 1997-98 with the Komets, Shafranov skated seven consecutive seasons of pro hockey in Russia.  In addition to regular season action, Shafranov also appeared in World Cup play and captured the Bronze Medal in the 2000-01 World Championship competition.

Shafranov returned to Fort Wayne in 1997 to capture two regular season titles and back-to-back IHL Turner Cup Championships.  After completing the 2009-10 regular season with the Komets, Shafranov returned to his native Kazakhstan for the 2010 World Championships, missing the Komets successful playoff run and a third straight IHL Turner Cup Championship.

Shafranov has amassed Fort Wayne totals of 159 goals, 203 assists and 362 points in 350 regular season games.  In 48 Komet playoff games covering six playoff seasons, Shafranov scored 15 goals, 29 assists and 44 points.

Shafranov is a Fort Wayne resident and will be serving his ninth season as a member of the Fort Wayne Komet Hockey Club.

Preseason home games
Friday, Oct.10, Evansville IceMen at Fort Wayne Komets, 8pm
Saturday, Oct. 11, Evansville IceMen at Fort Wayne Komets, 7:30pm
Monday, Oct. 13, Kalamazoo Wings at Fort Wayne Komets, 7:30pm.

AHL exhibition game at Fort Wayne
Saturday, Oct. 4, Lake Erie Monsters vs. Grand Rapids Griffins, 7:30pm.

Tickets to all exhibition games and Fort Wayne regular season individual home games are on sale at the Coliseum Ticket Office and online at TicketMaster.com.  All exhibition game tickets, including the AHL exhibition game, are priced from $8.00 to $15.00.

Home opener
Saturday, Oct. 18, Indianapolis Fuel at Fort Wayne, 7:30pm.

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