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Carolina Hurricanes recall Valentin Zykov, Checkers make minor-league goaltending pickup

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It’s Zykov’s first recall to the NHL, and the Checkers in a separate deal have picked up insurance to cover Michael Leighton’s injury.

Jamie Kellner

The Carolina Hurricanes have recalled Valentin Zykov from the Charlotte Checkers of the American Hockey League to fill their available forward roster spot. The spot had been filled by Sebastian Aho who double-shifted in last night’s 3-1 loss to the Colorado Avalanche.

Zykov ranks third on the Checkers in scoring with 15 goals and 15 assists for 30 points in 55 games. Zykov is in his second season in the AHL and has played 100 games at that level. He was part of the Kris Versteeg trade last season, acquired from the Los Angeles Kings organization at the 2016 trade deadline.

In a separate move, the Charlotte Checkers announced that they have acquired goaltender Tom McCollum on loan from the Stockton Heat. As a result, Charlotte assigned goaltender Alex Nedeljkovic and forward Mitchell Heard to the Florida Everblades of the ECHL and recalled Clark Bishop to Charlotte.

McCollum has played in 227 AHL games but only one game this season with Stockton. McCollum played in five games this season with the Adirondack Thunder of the ECHL, posting a 3-1-0 record. He was a first-round pick of the Detroit Red Wings in the 2008 NHL Draft.

Below are the news releases regarding Zykov and McCollum:

CANES RECALL VALENTIN ZYKOV FROM CHARLOTTE
Forward earns first NHL recall

Ron Francis, Executive Vice President and General Manager of the National Hockey League’s Carolina Hurricanes, today announced that the team has recalled right wing Valentin Zykov (VAHL-ehn-TIHN ZEE-kohv) from the Charlotte Checkers of the American Hockey League (AHL).

This marks the first NHL recall for Zykov, who was acquired from the Los Angeles Kings on Feb. 28, 2016, in exchange for Kris Versteeg. Zykov, 21, ranks tied for second among Checkers skaters in goals (15) this season, and third on the team in points (30) in 55 games played. The St. Petersburg, Russia, native was originally selected by the Kings in the second round, 37th overall, of the 2013 NHL Draft, and has totaled 22 goals and 22 assists (44 points) in 100 career AHL games with Charlotte and Ontario. Zykov (6’0”, 209 lbs.) notched 184 points (84g, 100a) in 162 games with Baie-Comeau and Gatineau of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (QMJHL) prior to turning professional, and represented Russia in the 2011 World Junior A Challenge, the 2012 World U-17 Challenge and the 2014 World Junior Championship.

CHECKERS ACQUIRE VETERAN GOALTENDER TOM MCCOLLUM FROM STOCKTON
Team also assigns Alex Nedeljkovic and Mitchell Heard to ECHL Florida, recalls Clark Bishop

The Charlotte Checkers today announced that they have acquired goaltender Tom McCollum on loan from the Stockton Heat.

McCollum, 27, is a veteran of 227 AHL games with Grand Rapids and Stockton, during which time he has posted a 104-91-13 record, 2.78 goals-against average and .905 save percentage. He will join the Checkers in Winnipeg as they begin a back-to-back, two-game set against the Manitoba Moose starting Thursday.

In a corresponding move, the Checkers assigned rookie goaltender Alex Nedeljkovic to the ECHL’s Florida Everblades. The team also swapped forwards with the Everblades, recalling Clark Bishop and assigning Mitchell Heard.

McCollum, a 6-foot-2, 215-pound native of Amherst, NY, won his only AHL game with the Heat this season, stopping 19 of 20 shots during a 40-minute relief appearance vs. San Diego on Nov. 25. He also appeared in five games with the ECHL’s Adirondack Thunder, most recently on Feb. 25, going 3-1-0 with a 2.97 goals-against average and .894 save percentage.

A first-round draft choice (30th overall) by Detroit in 2008, McCollum has played in three NHL games with the Red Wings, earning his first career victory during the 2014-15 campaign.

McCollum, who was in the Detroit organization from his draft until this season, is the Grand Rapids Griffins’ all-time leader in games played, saves and minutes played. Last season, he posted a 2.42 goals-against average and .923 save percentage – both of which were tops among Griffins goaltenders – and played in seven of the team’s 10 Calder Cup Playoff games. He was also named the Griffins’ Man of the Year in the community three times.

Nedeljkovic, 21, joins the Everblades for the second time this season. The Carolina Hurricanes’ second-round draft choice in 2014, he went 2-0-0 with a 2.83 goals-against average and .921 save percentage in three December appearances while also becoming the 12th goaltender in ECHL history to score a goal. With the Checkers, Nedeljkovic, who played in six of the Checkers’ last nine games, is 8-14-1 with a 3.40 goals-against average and .881 save percentage.

Bishop, a 20-year-old rookie who posted four points (2g, 2a) in 30 games with the Checkers this season, returns to the club after notching 11 points (3g, 8a) in 21 outings with Florida. Heard, 24, joins the Everblades for the first time this season after recording three assists and 53 penalty minutes in 32 games with the Checkers and missing the last six games due to injury.