BY MIKE MASTOVICH
Johnstown Chiefs coach Ian Herbers has assembled four veteran players capable of making an impact on the ice and in the locker room this ECHL season.
The latest addition, Konstantin Kalmikov, has played extensively in the AHL, IHL and ECHL, as well as Europe.
The Chiefs announced the signing of Kalmikov, a 6-foot-3, 205-pound native of Kharkov, Ukraine, on Tuesday.
“I’m expecting some leadership out of him both on and off the ice,” Herbers said. “He’s produced wherever he’s gone. But talking to people, he’s not only put up numbers on the ice, but he’s also great in the dressing room. He’s not a straight offensive player. He plays defense. He takes pride in being a strong defensive player as well. He comes to compete every night and that’s what we’re looking for in Johnstown.”
Kalmikov joins previously signed Chiefs veterans Dmitri Tarabrin, Jason Spence and Randy Rowe, all three of whom are practically household names in Johnstown hockey circles.
ECHL teams are permitted to carry four veterans (players with 260 or more regular-season professional games).
“Jason and Dmitri, both of those guys work every day. They’re in great condition,” Herbers said. “Randy has been a big help for me, telling me about players in the league. He wants to have a big year for Johnstown. He’s another guy who wants to compete every night. Bringing in Konstantin will be a nice complement to those guys.”
Kalmikov, 29, had eight goals and 14 points in 25 games with SV Renon in Italy last season.
The Toronto Maple Leafs selected him in the third round of the 1996 NHL Entry Draft. Since then, he’s appeared in 259 AHL games, mostly with the now defunct St. John’s Maple Leafs. He also played for Bridgeport, Houston and Hershey in the AHL, and the Detroit Vipers in the former IHL as well as stints in the Colonial and United leagues.
“Konstantin, is a big rugged winger who has a tremendous amount of skill. He has been a scorer at all levels he has played in,” Herbers said.
In the ECHL, Kalmikov played parts of three seasons with the former Louisiana IceGators franchise. He had 20 goals and 47 points in 2001-02, and produced 23 goals and 47 points in 2003-04.
“He gives us a little bit more size and skill,” Herbers said. “He’s a guy who can control the puck down low in the offensive zone. He can use his size to take the puck hard to the net. It will take extra coverage on him, which will free up someone else.”