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Hurricanes recall Saku Maenalanen, assign Janne Kuokkanen to Checkers

Maenalanen gets his second NHL call-up.

Jacob Kupferman

The Carolina Hurricanes announced on Tuesday that the club has called up forward Saku Maenalanen from the Charlotte Checkers. In a corresponding move, the Hurricanes assigned forward Janne Kuokkanen to the Checkers.

Kuokkanen’s most recent stint in Raleigh was plagued by inconsistency and defensive zone mistakes. In turn, his minutes went down and, instead of playing him in a fourth-line role, he has been sent back to Charlotte to get the minutes that a high-upside skill player needs.

Maenalanen skated in his NHL debut on December 7 against the Anaheim Ducks and had 6:49 of ice time. The 24-year-old Finn had scored goals in back-to-back games with Charlotte prior to being called up.

Maenalanen is now the 13th forward on the NHL roster. Jordan Staal (concussion) is not on IR, but he still hasn’t returned to regular hockey activities.

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 from the Charlotte Checkers of the American Hockey League (AHL) and reassigned forward Janne Kuokkanen to Charlotte.

Maenalanen, 24, has posted 14 points (7g, 7a) in 31 games with Charlotte this season and is tied for the AHL lead in shorthanded goals (3). The 6’4”, 207-pound forward has played in one game with Carolina, making his NHL debut on Dec. 7 at Anaheim. Maenalanen registered 46 points (17g, 29a) in 59 games with Oulun Karpat (SM-Liiga) last season and helped the team win the league title. He has represented Finland internationally at the 2014 IIHF World Junior Championship and the 2018 IIHF World Championship, winning gold in 2014. The Kemi, Finland, native was drafted by the Predators in the fifth round, 125th overall, of the 2013 NHL Draft and signed with the Hurricanes as a free agent on May 18, 2018.

Kuokkanen, 20, has appeared in seven games with Carolina this season. The 6’3”, 193-pound forward has registered 27 points (11g, 16a) in 29 games with the Checkers, ranking second on the team in goals and points and third in assists. Kuokkanen has recorded 67 points (22g, 45a) in 89 career AHL games with Charlotte. The Oulunsalo, Finland, native has represented Finland at the 2017 and 2018 IIHF World Junior Championships and was drafted by the Hurricanes in the second round, 43rd overall, of the 2016 NHL Draft.