Forward Brandon Marino, one of the most prolific scorers in the Komets history, will play next season in Hungary, team officials confirmed.
Marino, a 27-year-old right wing, won the ECHL’s scoring championship this season with 88 points, including 30 goals, during 72 regular-season games.
He was the first Fort Wayne player to win a scoring title since Lonnie Loach in 1990-91 in the IHL, and Marino finished third in ECHL MVP voting.
“Brandon has had couple great years here in Fort Wayne,” coach Gary Graham said. “He had a career year this season. He’s one of the top players in the ECHL, and he’s getting a great opportunity to cash in on that with a great contract. He’s at that point of his career where he has to consider these things, and I don’t blame him one bit.
“It’s not ending our relationship with Brandon – you don’t know what will happen in the future – and he’s been a great Komets player. He’s very deserving of this. He needed to lock this down early in the offseason.”
Marino, who couldn’t be reached for comment, was selected Komets MVP by his teammates in each of his two seasons with the team. He had 50 goals and 162 points in 143 regular-season games.
He got called up to the American Hockey League once, playing one game with Norfolk in 2012-13.
While the Komets missed the playoffs in Marino’s first season, they reached the Eastern Conference semifinals this year. Fort Wayne lost to Cincinnati in a six-game series, which ended Tuesday.
He left the series-clinching 4-1 loss with a knee injury in the third period but said it was a hyper-extension that shouldn’t affect him moving forward.
Marino had one goal and five points in 11 playoff games..
The Riverside, California,. native has played five professional seasons, three with the Quad City Mallards and two with the Komets.