In case you missed it yesterday, detailed recaps and notes from last week’s Charlotte Checkers’ slate can be found HERE.


Player Spotlight – Janne Kuokkanen

After being one of the most dangerous players for the Canes in the preseason and looking like a legitimate candidate for the opening night roster, Kuokkanen was a victim of the numbers crunch and sent back to Charlotte. Considering that he will be just 20 years old for the entirety of the season, this is hardly reason for panic. He had just 73 professional games (including postseason) to his credit, and getting top line/first PP unit duties was likely the best choice for his development rather than a lesser role with the Canes. However, I think we’re getting close to the point where he may force the organization’s hand and earn a look with the big club. He has certainly been one of the best players on the best team in the AHL in 2018-19, scoring at over a point-per-game clip with 27 points through 26 games. One of the things that sticks out to me most about Kuokkanen is his smarts. He just seems to make the right play in any scenario, and unlike the stereotype with young, skilled European players he plays a mature two-way game already. He’s not quite the Aho 2.0 some of us pined for, back when he was drafted at near the same point of the draft the year after Seabass became a Cane, but I do see some similarities. For one, his confidence with the puck is top-notch, especially on the powerplay. Much like Teravainen with the Canes, Kuokkanen plays at the point and quarterbacks a powerplay unit. He is the player they want carrying the puck up the ice and making the decisions on who to go to for a zone entry. He’s relied on to make good decisions, and has great vision and quick hands to make those plays happen efficiently. It’s quite noticeable how confident he is with the puck. Janne does a great job exposing lanes in coverage and fitting passes into tight windows. He also has a very quick, underrated release which he showcased in his second goal against Hartford. While not the fastest straight-line skater, I do not think it is an issue as it was with players like Zykov or (previous years’ versions of) Nicolas Roy. He does possess really quick feet and accelerates quickly, which he showcased against Springfield when he changed directions on a dime and got to the net for a great scoring chance. He is listed at 6’1 and 188 pounds, and while he isn’t a physical player that will consistently play the body, he is strong on the puck and uses his body to protect it well. He also does a good job of avoiding taking big hits from oncoming defensemen with his quickness. While he may not have Julien Gauthier’s physical tools, or Aleksi Saarela’s blistering shot, or Necas’ blazing speed, or Aho’s Hockey Elf Magic, he’s just a really good all-around hockey player that does everything well without a glaring weakness. A year from now, I’ll be awfully surprised if we aren’t talking about him as a staple of the Hurricanes lineup.


Notable Stats

Skaters (Through 26 games; goals-assists-points)

Janne Kuokkanen – 11-16-27

Andrew Poturalski – 10-15-25

Martin Necas – 6-14-20 (22 GP)

Trevor Carrick – 5-15-20 (24 GP)

Greg McKegg – 3-16-19 (22 GP)

Nicolas Roy – 8-8-16 (19 GP)

Aleksi Saarela – 7-9-16 (24 GP)

Jake Bean – 4-9-13 (25 GP)

Roland McKeown – 2-10-12

Patrick Brown – 6-4-10 (20 GP)

Morgan Geekie – 5-4-9 (23 GP)

Nick Schilkey – 5-3-8 (15 GP)

Cliff Pu – 1-2-3 (21 GP)


Goalies (W-L-OTL; Goals Against Average; Save %)


Scott Darling – 3-1-0; 2.35; .911

Callum Booth – 3-1-0; 2.27; .907

Alex Nedeljkovic – 12-4-1; 2.94; .890

Jeremy Helvig – 1-0-0; 2.80; .875 (22 minutes of action)

Share This