The Charlotte Checkers have had one consistent presence on the ice so far this season. That presence has been first year Checker Derek Ryan. Ryan has twenty-eight points for the Checkers in twenty-nine games, and is tied for fourth in AHL scoring. On top of that Ryan has shown enough leadership for the Checkers coaching staff to make him the captain of the team.
Ryan came to the Checkers from the Swedish Hockey League where he played one season and led his team in points. Before he played in the Swedish league Ryan played in the Austrian Hockey League collecting one hundred and ninety-nine points in one hundred and fifty-eight games. When he is on the ice Ryan leads by example with his play, making him comparable to former Hurricanes captain Rod Brind’Amour, who also let his play do his talking for him. Ryan is not the flashiest player, but he puts up points almost every single game he plays which is similar to Brind’Amour.
Unfortunately for Ryan he is twenty-nine years old and his time for an NHL call up might be running out. Not only is Ryan maybe getting to old to for the Hurricanes to want to call him up, but they might not want to call him up because he is a good leader for the young prospects down in Charlotte to learn from because he is a veteran of the game. Hopefully for Ryan he will be called up soon to play his first regular season game in the NHL.
NOTE: Regular update is a bit delayed (Matt’s fault) and covers games from the tail end of December.
The Checkers played one game this week, beating San Jose 4-1 on Monday (Dec. 28).
Three stars of the week
Daniel Altshuller had a solid game for the Checkers allowing one goal on twenty-one shots. Altshuller is now 4-0-0 since being called up from the Everblades. In his first game with the Checkers, Ethan Werek scored his first goal. Werek will hopefully continue to produce on the team’s Western road swing. Justin Shugg finally got the scoring started for the Checkers in the third period, and he started a chain reaction leading to three other third period goals for the Checkers. Shugg also finished with an assist for the game as well.
David Wohlberg like Shugg also had a goal and an assist for the game. Wolhberg is just one point away from matching his career high in points for a season in the AHL, and he has only played twenty-nine games. Zach Boychuk also threw his name in the goal scoring column, with an empty-netter to seal the game the Checkers.
Sergey Tolchinsky is still only has points in the single digits for the season and the year 2015 is about to be over. That is not what anybody was expecting he small right winger from Russia to produce at this point in the season. The good news is for Checkers/Hurricanes fans is, that he hasn’t let the lack of points get to him it seems and he is still active on the ice and looking shoot and set up his teammates any chance he gets. Look for Tolchinsky to soon have a stretch of games where he puts up points in each game.
Injury and roster notes
The Checkers signed forward Ethan Werek from the Florida Everblades on Saturday (Dec. 26) to a player tryout.
Forward lines as of now
First line: Brock McGinn-Derek Ryan-Sergey Tolchinsky (McGinn has obviously been recalled since writing)
Second line: Erik Karlsson-Brody Sutter-Patrick Brown
Third line: Zach Boychuk-T.J. Hensick-Justin Shugg
Fourth line: Kyle Hagel-David Wohlberg-Ethan Werek
Defensive pairings as of now
First pairing: Rasmus Risannen-Danny Biega
Second pairing: Jake Chelios-Ryan Murphy
Third pairing: Mike Cornell-Keegan Lowe