Pro hockey: Blades make moves at trading deadline, hope to get breathing room against Komets, K-Wings

David Albers/Staff
-  Florida Everblades goalie Pat Nagle makes a save against the Orlando Solar Bears in the third period on Friday, Oct. 19, 2012, at Germain Arena in Estero. Orlando defeated the Everblades, 8-2.

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David Albers/Staff - Florida Everblades goalie Pat Nagle makes a save against the Orlando Solar Bears in the third period on Friday, Oct. 19, 2012, at Germain Arena in Estero. Orlando defeated the Everblades, 8-2.

Opportunities to generate additional breathing room in the standings await the Florida Everblades when they visit Fort Wayne tonight and Saturday, and Kalamazoo on Sunday.

The Komets and the Wings are among the clubs on the outside of the Eastern Conference playoff window. The view from the inside is far brighter for the sixth-place Everblades, who are nine points in front of this weekend’s foes.

This weekend will also give the Everblades a chance to get to know some new faces.

The ECHL trading deadline on Thursday brought about a flurry of activity from the Everblades with the departure of one player, the addition of three others and the acquisition of the rights to a fourth.

Assistant captain Aaron Bogosian, a sparkplug who contributed in several facets, was dealt to Toledo to complete a trade in January that brought defenseman Olivier Dame-Malka to Estero.

“(Bogosian) was a big part of the team,” Everblades coach Greg Poss said. “At the time we made the trade, we needed a defenseman.”

Poss said Toledo had a list of players it could select to complete the trade and opted to nab Bogosian, who will take his 11 goals, 15 assists and 146 penalty minutes to Ohio. The Everblades also lose a valuable penalty killer. Bogosian is tied for the league lead in short-handed goals with four.

As part of the deal, Toledo sent 5-foot-10, 180-pound Patrick Knowlton — described by Poss as a “speedy winger” — to the Everblades. The 26-year-old forward from Colorado Springs, Colo., had 11 points in 22 games for Toledo. He played collegiately for Sacred Heart University in Connecticut.

The Everblades’ wheeling and dealing continued with the addition of forward Daniel Koger from Bakersfield in exchange for future considerations. The 6-2, 195-pound native of Hungary is in his third pro season in North America. The 23-year-old had nine points and 26 penalty minutes in 35 games for Bakersfield.

The Everblades also signed former University of Manitoba forward Tyler Dittmer to an amateur tryout contract.

“He’s a good two-way player,” Poss said.

The 5-10, 180-pound Dittmer, who was a linemate of Philadelphia Flyers center Brayden Schenn in juniors, assisted on Manitoba’s final goal in a season-ending loss against Saskatchewan last week. Dittmer, 25, had 28 points in 26 games with the Bisons.

The addition of Dittmer comes on the heels of the Everblades inking goalie Jesse Deckert — Dittmer’s teammate at Manitoba — to an ATO contract earlier in the week. Deckert made his pro debut by turning aside 37 shots in Wednesday’s 5-4 overtime win against conference leading Cincinnati.

“He made some big saves for us,” Poss said.

A week ago, the team’s goaltending situation looked stable with Pat Nagle and Rob Madore, but when both netminders were called up to AHL teams, the Everblades were forced to scramble. In addition to signing Deckert and employing equipment manager equipment manager John Sellars as a backup, the Everblades made a deadline day deal to acquire the rights of rookie goalie Cody Reichard, 26, from Stockton. The Celina, Ohio, native played four years in his home state for Miami University. He was between the pipes in Germain Arena when Miami opened the 2010 Florida College Classic with a 4-1 win against Maine.

But Reichard is currently on loan with Houston in the AHL.

Left wing Danick Gauthier — yet another new face on the roster — scored a goal in his first game with the Everblades in Cincinnati. Gauthier, 21, skated on a line with Brandon MacLean and Tyson Gimblett.

When he played in juniors, Gauthier was a linemate of Florida Panthers rookie standout Justin Huberdeau.

The Everblades surrendered a 4-1 lead in the final 18 minutes in Cincinnati, but won in overtime on the 15th career goal by veteran defenseman Brent Henley.

“We let them back in it in the third period, but look at the positive side, we got two points. Plus, we’re not going to catch Cincinnati anyway,” Poss said.

This weekend’s slate marks the final three out-of-state regular-season road games for the Everblades.

Florida Everblades vs. Fort Wayne Komets, Kalamazoo Wings

When: 8 tonight; 7:30 Saturday; 3 p.m. Sunday

Where: Memorial Coliseum, tonight and Saturday; Wings Stadium, Sunday

Radio: WRXK/FM 96.1 or www.floridaeverblades.com

Live video: www.americaonesports.com

Notes: The Everblades will visit the league leader in attendance this weekend. Fort Wayne is averaging 7,469 fans per game. The Komets also lead the Eastern Conference in penalty minutes. ... Tonight’s game is the first meeting between the Everblades and Fort Wayne. The Komets, who have a rich hockey history in various minor leagues dating back to the 1950s, are in their first season in the ECHL. Florida is 1-0 against Kalamazoo. ... Newcomers Tyler Dittmer, Patrick Knowlton and Daniel Koger are expected to be in the Everblades lineup tonight. Everblades coach Greg Poss said recently signed goalie Jesse Deckert will start in goal while team equipment manager John Sellars will serve as backup for the second straight game. ... Everblades captain Mathieu Roy is second in the ECHL in points with 67, three in front of third-place Brandon Marino of Fort Wayne. ... This weekend will mark a homecoming for Everblades defenseman Brent Henley, who was acquired from the Komets last month. Henley played parts of four seasons in Fort Wayne. ... Everblades defenseman Olivier Dame-Malka leads the ECHL in minor penalties with 48. ... Kalamazoo has a league-best 6-1 mark in shootouts. ... Former Everblade Brett Lysak (2001-02) is second on Kalamazoo in scoring with 36 points. Wings center Kory Karlander — the oldest player in the league — will turn 41 later this month. His first season as a pro was in 1995. ... The next home game for the Everblades is Wednesday against South Carolina.

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