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K's make 2 moves before trade deadline


With the trade deadline at 4 p.m. rapidly approaching, the Komets have made some moves.

They have obtained forward Aaron Clarke, 31, from the Orlando Solar Bears, completing the trade earlier in the season for Mickey Lang, who leads the ECHL with 37 goals.

Clarke's road to the Komets has been circuitous. He began the season with Kalamazoo, tallying four goals and nine points in 25 games, then was shipped in a trade to San Francisco, where he didn't play a game. He was dealt to Toledo, where he had 13 goals and 19 points in 26 games, before his rights were dealt to Orlando and flipped to Fort Wayne in a three-way deal today.

"To be able to get a player that frankly we've been coveting for awhile is great," Fort Wayne coach Gary Graham said. "He brings experience and he's an extra centerman which is important with Dean Ouellet being out right now. He's a playmaking centerman and good on the power play and brings really good character things to our locker room."

The Komets had traded Lang to Orlando for David Rutherford and future considerations, but Rutherford didn't report.

Clarke was a player who always performed well against the Komets; during the last two seasons, he had nine goals and 21 points in 19 games against them.

"Watching film of him in the off-season, he always seemed to play good at (Memorial) Coliseum," Graham said. "He wants to make a run with a playoff team and Toledo was open and up front with teams around the league that they were willing to move his rights. We wanted to make sure they knew we were interested."

The Komets also signed defenseman Matt Bruneteau, 23, who had been the captain at Lake Superior State. He had three goals and 18 points in 146 games there.

"He's a defensive defenseman, a very steady guy," Graham said. "He's a great shot blocker and a good penalty-kill guy. He's got great grit and an edge to him."

Justin A. Cohn, pro sports coordinator for The Journal Gazette, has been covering the Fort Wayne Komets since 1997. His reporting includes game stories from home and away, features about the players and personalities associated with the Komets, plus coverage of issues affecting hockey at all levels. A native of Bloomfield Hills, Mich., Cohn graduated from Emory University in Atlanta. He can be reached at 260-461-8429 or by email at