For any team, the depth of the players in the AHL is always important. Having NHL tweeners to replace injured players or provide a new look in the lineup is needed by any NHL team.
This season, and especially in the past week, the Carolina Hurricanes showcased some of the players that are vital to the team’s depth and injury callups.
Here are some of the most important Charlotte Checkers and how they have/can help the Hurricanes:
Arguably the best Checker and most skilled prospect in the Hurricanes’ system, Boychuk played some of the best hockey of his career during his callup with the Hurricanes last week.
In nine games, he has four points, including a two-point night against the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Boychuk can bring skill and speed to the Hurricanes’ lineup, but for the first time in his career, he’s also shown the tenacity and grittiness of a bottom-six player, which is what he needs to do to earn a spot.
The 24-year-old should be the first called up for an injury replacement for a winger.
The only player to not play a game for the Hurricanes this season on this list, Flood is the veteran leader on the Checkers’ blue line and comes with a good amount of NHL experience.
The former Winnipeg Jet played 33 games for the team in the 2011-12 season before signing overseas with Lokomotiv Yaroslavl of the KHL.
Flood is a puck-moving defenseman, but also can play some defense. The Hurricanes have a good amount of depth on defense with Mike Komisarek and one of Jay Harrison or Ryan Murphy being scratched, which is a big reason why Flood has never played a game.
But it’s always nice to know there’s a defenseman with NHL experience waiting in the minors should things get that bad.
The former Colorado Avalanche may have only played one game with the Hurricanes, but he did impress and would have lasted longer with the team if players didn’t get healthy.
Palushaj was strong on the puck and created some scoring opportunities on the fourth line.He’s on a tear in the AHL and has helped the Checkers pull out of the basement of the AHL for the time being.
He’s still most likely behind Boychuk on the depth chart, but should have moved ahead of Chris Terry.
The center earned a spot on the roster out of training camp, but was sent back to the Checkers after 12 games and the signing of Manny Malhotra.
Sutter only has two points in 17 games with the Hurricanes, but offense isn’t his forte. He provides stabilizing defense and the ability to kill penalties.
Sutter isn’t as strong as Riley Nash or Malhotra when it comes to playing defensive hockey, but he is the best option the Canes have at center in the AHL and is a valuable player in the organization serving as captain for the Checkers.