One of the Charlotte Checkers’ defensemen, Marc-Andre Gragnani will not be returning to the team, as the 26-year-old signed with Lev, of the KHL. Graganani is a restricted free agent and would still be Hurricanes’ property if the team chooses to send him a qualifying offer.
Gragnani previously played for the Vancouver Canucks and Buffalo Sabres and won the Defenseman of the Year Award in the AHL in 2010-11. He signed with the Hurricanes last summer, but only played one game with the Canes at the end of February. Gragnani missed 33 games during the regular season with the Checkers because of four different injuries.
Despite the injuries, the Canadian native scored 28 points in 42 games, including 21 on the power-play, and helped the Checkers’ transition game.
If Gragnani had re-signed with the Hurricanes, he would have an outside shot at making the team, depending on the trades that are made during the off-season. If Jaime McBain is traded, Gragnani would have been a possible replacement.
However, it is unlikely that Gragnani would have gotten that chance with Ryan Murphy in the fold. This move affects the Checkers more than anyone because the team will lose a good amount of offense from their defense. It’s possible that GM Jim Rutherford will replace Gragnani in free agency.