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Hurricanes Recall Saku Maenalanen from Checkers

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Maenalanen expected to make his NHL debut on Friday.

Jamie Kellner

The Carolina Hurricanes announced on Thursday that the team has recalled forward Saku Maenalanen from the Charlotte Checkers.

Head coach Rod Brind’Amour said following the team’s practice that Jordan Staal has been ruled out for Friday night’s game against the Anaheim Ducks and is in concussion protocol.

Maenalanen is in the midst of his rookie season in North America. Originally a Nashville Predators fifth-round draft pick in 2013, the now 24-year-old forward opted to play in his native Finland instead of signing an entry-level contract with the Predators.

He played parts of five seasons with Karpat in the Liiga, whose general manager is Harri Aho - the father of Hurricanes’ Sebastian Aho. Maenalanen was teammates with Sebastian Aho in Karpat before Aho joined the Hurricanes in 2016 and has played with both Aho and Teuvo Teravainen in international tournaments for Finland.

Through 23 games in his rookie season in the AHL, Maenalanen has logged 11 points and has been a main fixture on the Checkers’ penalty kill.

The news release from the team is below:

RALEIGH, NC - Don Waddell, President and General Manager of the National Hockey League’s Carolina Hurricanes, today announced that the team has recalled forward Saku Maenalanen (MIGH-nal-ah-nehn) from Charlotte (AHL).

Maenalanen, 24, has registered 11 points (4g, 7a) in 23 games with the Checkers this season. The 6’4”, 207-pound forward leads Charlotte in shorthanded goals (2) and ranks tied for eighth on the team in assists. Maenalanen made his AHL debut on Oct. 5 at Rochester and earned his first AHL point with a shorthanded goal on Oct. 12 at Utica. The Kemi, Finland, native was drafted by Nashville in the fifth round, 125th overall, in the 2013 NHL Draft and signed with the Hurricanes as a free agent on May 18, 2018. Maenalanen registered 46 points (17g, 29a) in 59 games with Oulun Karpat of the SM-Liiga (Finland) last season, ranking tied for second on the team in assists and fourth in goals and points. Maenalanen represented Finland at the 2014 World Junior Championship and 2018 World Championship.