Ahh, yes. Yet another post about the future of the Charlotte Checkers and who’s under contract for next season. I know I’ve done this a few times, but it’s forever changing. I rearranged everything according to position played, and mixed in the two way AHL/ECHL guys who are likely headed to the Everblades.
I’ve said it once, twice, a million times, but looking at this list, once again I feel like the biggest hole the Checkers have is on Defense. By no means am I saying I don’t like our D-men. I do, and quite a lot. I think we have great potential in guys like Faulk, Bellemore and Jordan, in particular, but I also think we have a VERY young blue line, and defense is a position that takes a lot more time to develop, and not something the Hurricanes have necessarily been known for. The Checkers are lucky to have an assistant coach (Geordie Kinnear) who played Defense during his career, plus guys like Glen Wesley who take time with the Charlotte prospects, but there is something about having a veteran on the ice with the players to mentor them.
After the Springfield Falcons hired a new defense coach for the upcoming season, Mike Commodore (yes, I know, I probably mention him too much in a blog about the Checkers, but he’s my favorite!) was recently quoted by Columbus media as being surprised that the Blue Jackets affiliate in Springfield didn’t have a coach for their young defensemen. As a member of the Falcons in 2010-11, he took on that mentor role for the younger guys on the squad, and with his departure for Detroit this year, the organization realized they would need someone for their young prospects.
I firmly believe Charlotte needs this desperately, as well. As far as AHL talent goes, Andre Benoit is the player I’d most like to see in a Checkers sweater, though I hear he’s in talks about returning to Binghamton, where he recently won the second Calder Cup of his career. I’d also like to see Casey Borer return, but since Carolina hasn’t signed him yet, it’s hard to say if he would still be in the running for a job with the Canes organization. Losing both Bryan Rodney and Zack Fitzgerald is going to be a big deal to the Checkers. While many (myself included) can list on-ice weaknesses about each player, their leadership is something that won’t be easily replaced.
Speaking of leadership, I’m anxious to find out who the Checkers name as their captains this year. My vote is for Chris Terry, but he’ll have tough competition. Nick Blanchard, who wore an A, is returning, plus new guys like Chris Durno have leadership experience. Durno was the Norfolk Admirals captain last year.
Checkers contract status, after the cut…
So, before I ramble on any further, here’s a list of current players .contract with the Hurricanes and Checkers. And I know, some of these guys (Dalpe, etc.) will possibly end up in Raleigh, but for now, they are on my Checkers contract list.
|Mike Murphy||G||2011-12||RFA, EL|
|John Muse||G||2011-12||AHL||Two way AHL/ECHL|
|Justin Peters||G||2011-12||RFA||*Played in NHL in 10/11, Hurricanes indicate he will play in Charlotte 11/12|
|Brett Bellemore||D||2012-13||RFA||Two way NHL/AHL|
|Ryan Donald||D||2011-12||AHL||Two way AHL/ECHL|
|Justin Faulk||D||2013-14||RFA, EL|
|Michal Jordan||D||2012-13||RFA, EL|
|Tommi Kivisto||D||2013-14||RFA, EL||*Has European transfer clause. If not in NHL, can play in Finland in 11/12|
|Justin Kruegar||D||2011-12||RFA, EL||*Played in Germany in 10/11|
|Kyle Lawson||D||2011-12||RFA, EL|
|Rasmus Rissanen||D||2013-14||RFA, EL|
|Matt Beca||F||2011-12||AHL||Checkers Two way AHL/ECHL|
|Drayson Bowman||F||2011-12||RFA, EL|
|Zach Boychuck||F||2011-12||RFA, EL|
|Zac Dalpe||F||2012-13||RFA, EL|
|Chris Durno||F||2011-12||UFA||Spent last season as captain of Norfolk Admirals|
|Mattias Lindstrom||F||2013-14||RFA, EL||*Has European transfer clause. If not in NHL, can play in Sweden in 11/12|
|Mike McKenzie||F||2011-12||AHL||One way AHL|
|Cedric McNicoll||F||2011-12||RFA, EL|
|Riley Nash||F||2012-13||RFA, EL|
|Mat Pistilli||F||2011-12||RFA, EL|
|Justin Shugg||F||2013-14||RFA, EL||In four years in OHL, went to Memorial Cup three times, won twice|
|Jerome Samson||F||2011-12||RFA||Spent half of 10/11 in Raleigh, may return to CLT|
|Justin Soryal||F||2011-12||RFA||Spent past three seasons in Rangers AHL organization|
|Jared Staal||F||2012-13||RFA, EL|
|Chris Terry||F||2011-12||RFA, EL|
Players yet to be signed (though I doubt Fitzgerald is in the Checkers plans at this point). It’s interesting that two of these were Alternate captains during parts of the season: