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Charlotte Checkers Corner: In It To Win It

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Charlotte remains intact after a quiet NHL trade deadline, continuing their push to the playoffs.

Charlotte Checkers

The NHL trade deadline came and went without much fanfare or movement, so the Charlotte Checkers remain much of the same team. One minor move was made that sent Josh Jooris to the Pittsburgh Penguins for Greg McKegg, a 25-year-old center who was a 3rd round draft pick by Toronto in 2010. The AHL forward had 12 points (five goals, seven assists) in 28 games. He will most likely be a part of the Checkers’ bottom-six.

This week, Charlotte finished 1-2-0 at the start of their six-game road trip. The two losses came as a result of two shutouts. The Checkers dropped their first game 4-0 to the Springfield Thunderbirds but followed it with a 2-1 win over the Bridgeport Sound Tigers. They dropped a 1-0 decision to Bridgeport the following way despite 22 saves from Jeremy Smith. The brief stumble from the team sees them sitting at fourth in the Atlantic Division.

Player of the Week

While he finished 1-1-0 this week, Alex Nedeljkovic has stedily improved over the past two months. He had 21 saves in the only Checkers win of the week. He’s finally brought his save percentage above .900 after hovering in the .890 range for most of the season. He sits 11th in the league in goals against average (2.42) and ranks first in the league in wins and second in shutouts.

Thought of the Week

Look, I don’t think it’s any secret: this Hurricanes’ season has been a complete failure. What looked like a solid group of players building momentum crashed and burned in a train wreck we have seen it become year after year. So how does the chaos in Raleigh affect Charlotte?

For the group in the Queen City, only Jooris left so the same team remains intact. Ron Francis’ inaction at the NHL level did have one positive byproduct: it kept together a Charlotte team that wants to make some damage in the Calder Cup playoffs and not be bounced after one round like last year.

I don’t see any significant call-ups over the next 19 games so expect Charlotte to remain together as a group. Anyways, Francis and Peters think the team can get “in as is,” right?

Looking Ahead

Charlotte remains away from home as they wrap up this week. The team takes on the Providence Bruins on Friday and have to quickly turn around for match-ups with the Springfield Thunderbirds on Saturday and the Hartford Wolf Pack on Sunday, likely to leave the Checkers exhausted. After Sunday, no games are on the schedule until the following Friday.