The Fort Wayne Komets announced on Monday that all-star veteran forward Shawn Szydlowski would return to Fort Wayne for his fifth season with the Komets. Szydlowski has led the Komets to the playoffs in every season he has been with them. In the Komets’ official news release, general manager David Franke said, “This is a big signing for the Komets and our fans. Shawn Szydlowski represents what it takes to be a Komet. He is gifted offensively, a solid defender and physical when he needs to be.”
Szydlowski started his career in the OHL with the Erie Otters, where he played for four seasons from 2007-11, the last of which he was the assistant captain. The 27-year-old recorded 212 points in 274 games with the Otters. He then started his professional career in the AHL with the Portland Pirates at the end of the 2010-11 season, after the NHL’s Buffalo Sabres signed the undrafted free agent to a three-year entry-level contract. Szydlowski failed to record a point in the two games he played with the Pirates.
The following 2011-12 season, he played 53 games in the AHL with the Rochester Americans, where he totaled eight assists¸ 21 penalty minutes and a -7 rating. He also appeared in six games with the Gwinnett Gladiators of the ECHL, where he recorded a goal and two assists.
In 2012-13, Szydlowski started the season with the Americans again, where he played seven games and again failed to record a point. The St. Clair Shores, Michigan native then made the move to the Central Hockey League (CHL), where he played 52 games with the Fort Worth Brahmas. While he was there, he netted 12 goals and 20 assists. He also recorded 41 penalty minutes and a -14 rating.
Szydlowski made his debut with the Komets in 2013-14, where he played 74 games and recorded 37 points (17 goals, 20 assists) with a -4 rating and 50 penalty minutes. Szydlowski was awarded Most Improved Player by the ECHL this season. The Sabres did not extend Szydlowski’s entry-level contract, so he decided to sign a one-year deal with Fort Wayne.
In the 2014-15 season, Szydlowski played with four different teams throughout the season. He played 65 games with the Komets, where he tallied 80 points (40 goals, 40 assists) and 54 penalty minutes and a +35 rating. During this season, Szydlowski claimed a plethora of awards. He was a two-time ECHL Player of the Week award winner, was named to the All-ECHL First Team and was named Komets MVP. Szydlowski also played for three different AHL teams on loan throughout the season. He played 11 games combined with the Binghamton Senators, Lake Erie Monsters and the Norfolk Admirals, where he totaled one assist, seven penalty minutes and a -1 rating.
Szydlowski returned to the Komets in 2015-16, where he was named assistant captain and led the Komets to the Conference Finals. Szydlowski recorded 94 points (35 goals, 59 assists), 97 penalty minutes and a +24 rating in 78 games with Fort Wayne, making it the best season of his career. Szydlowski also claimed the ECHL Player of the Month in March, was named to the All-ECHL Second Team, was named Komets Defensive Forward of the Year and was also named Komets MVP for the second straight year.
Last season, Szydlowski played 60 games with Fort Wayne, tallying 75 points (27 goals, 48 assists), 98 penalty minutes and a +24 rating. Szydlowski also served as captain of the ECHL All-Star team. Szydlowski also appeared in a stint with the Cleveland Monsters last season, where he played seven games and only recorded one assist with two penalty minutes and a +3 rating. Szydlowski also received his second straight Komets Defensive Forward of the Year.
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