In addition to the Carolina Hurricanes season kicking off late last week, the Hurricanes AHL affiliate Charlotte Checkers also started started last weekend.
For those looking to catch up on the Checkers, here are links to my 2-part 2016-17 Charlotte Checkers season preview:
The Charlotte Checkers began their 2016-2017 campaign with a rough start. The team would drop both of their games against the Texas Stars this weekend, the first being on Friday (Oct. 14) where they would come out flat and lose by a score of 6-2. The teams play was better on Saturday (Oct. 15), but the Checkers would still fall short to the Stars 4-2.
Charlotte Checkers three stars of the week
Who else would get the first goal of the season other than Checkers captain Derek Ryan? The team’s top goal scorer and leader in points from a year ago tipped in a Trevor Carrick shot from the point to finally get the Checkers on the scoreboard in the second period. Ryan played on the first line with Brock McGinn and Valentin Zykov, and even though that line did not produce any more goals during the weekend, it did put good pressure on the Stars defense and created multiple high-quality scoring chances. If that line can keep up that pressure, then look for them to start putting the puck in the net on a more consistent basis. Patrick Brown picked up where he left off last year on the penalty kill with a shorthanded goal on Saturday night. He did a great job of crashing the net on a two on two allowing him to knock in a rebound off a Connor Brickley shot from the top of the faceoff circles. Brown also registered an assist on Friday night. His shot from the point, in the third period was tipped in for the team’s second goal of the game. Andrew Poturalski put teams in the AHL on notice that he could be a dangerous offensive weapon for Charlotte this year. Poturalski, who had two goals in 16 games with the Checkers last season, put up a goal in each game over the weekend to match his total from last year. He displayed a deadly accurate shot on Saturday night, sniping a goal over top the right shoulder of Stars goalie Maxime Legace. It will be interesting for Checkers/Hurricanes fans to see if he can keep up his hot start in the team’s next few games.
Connor Brickley has proved to be a good addition so far for Charlotte. The Checkers made the trade for him just a few days before the season started, trading away Brody Sutter to the Portland Pirates in exchange for Brickley. The trade seemed to work out in the Checkers favor so far, as he tallied an assist in each game over the weekend. He now has a six game point streak dating back to last season with the Pirates. Lucas Wallmark had a solid couple of games in his Checkers start. He did not stick out much on the team’s Friday night game but on Saturday night he picked up his first AHL assist on a pretty cross ice pass to Andrew Poturalski who sniped home the shot. Wallmark also registered five shots on net in Saturday night’s game. That is a good sign that goals could soon come for him if he keeps firing shots on net.
Alex Nedeljkovic had a less then ideal start to his first games as a pro. In his first start on Friday night he let in four goals in the first period of play and was pulled right after that period. Now not every goal he allowed was his fault. The first goal that the Stars scored on Friday was a two on one play where there was almost nothing he could do besides just try to stop the one-timed shot. But he did have a couple of instances where he was not able to corral a shot and spit out big rebounds back out into play. The Stars jumped all over those opportunities and made the Checkers pay. It will prove be a big test for Nedeljkovic to see how he responds in his next few games after having a rocky start to his season.
Charlotte Checkers injury and roster notes
Erik Karlsson, Kyle Hagel, Josh Wesley, and Keegan Lowe all missed at least one game due to being healthy scratched. The Checkers acquired Connor Brickley from the Portland Pirates in exchange for Brody Sutter on Tuesday (Oct. 11). The Checkers signed forward and former Hurricane Patrick Dywer on Tuesday (Oct. 11).
Forward lines as of now
- First line: Brock McGinn-Derek Ryan-Valentin Zykov
- Second line: Connor Brickley-Andrew Poturalski-Patrick Brown
- Third line: Sergey Tolchinsky-Lucas Wallmark-Patrick Dwyer
- Fourth line: Brendan Woods-Mitchell Heard-Clark Bishop
Defensive pairings as of now
- First pairing: Trevor Carrick-Matt Tennyson
- Second pairing: Jake Chelios-Roland McKeown
- Third pairing: Haydn Fleury-Dennis Robertson