K-Wings re-sign Taylor, add rookie Smith

KALAMAZOO, Mich. — The Kalamazoo Wings, ECHL affiliate of the Tampa Bay Lightning, have signed veteran centerman Justin Taylor and rookie forward Kyle Smith.

Taylor returns to Kalamazoo for his seventh year of professional hockey and his sixth with the Wings. Taylor has solidified himself in Kalamazoo’s ECHL record book, as the native of Mindemoya, Ontario is the team’s ECHL all-time leader in goals (105) and penalty minutes (542), while ranking second in points (220) and games played (326).

The 27-year-old put up a career high 26 goals in 2015-16, which was good enough for second on the team, and finished the season fourth among Wings’ skaters with 45 points in 70 games.

Before turning pro in 2010, Taylor played for the London Knights in the Ontario Hockey League and was a sixth-round selection (180th overall) of the Washington Capitals in the 2007 NHL Entry Draft.

Smith, 24, will enter Kalamazoo’s training camp with three games of ECHL experience, accumulated in 2016 with the Manchester Monarchs. Smith joined the Monarchs at the conclusion of his four-year career at the University of New Hampshire, where he registered 34 points in 110 career games. The native of Lumberton, N.J. was a three-time Hockey-East All-Academic Team member while with the Wildcats.

Before heading to UNH for his collegiate career, Smith played junior hockey with the Boston Jr. Bruins (EJHL), where he notched 153 points in 136 games and was a two-time league all-star.