Boychuk, one of Charlotte’s top scorers over the course of the Checkers’ first three AHL seasons, will return on a one-year, two-way deal that would pay him $550,000 at the NHL level and $105,000 in the AHL. Despite not having a contract, the 23-year-old forward, who the Hurricanes chose with their first-round selection in the 2008 draft, had already begun skating with a handful of Carolina and Charlotte teammates in Raleigh earlier this week.
The signing concludes the Hurricanes’ activity in terms of their restricted free agents, as they had locked up Zac Dalpe, Michal Jordan, Mike Murphy, Riley Nash and Jared Staal, all of whom spent significant time with the Checkers last season, back in June. As a restricted free agent, the Hurricanes would have retained Boychuk’s NHL rights had he chosen another option, including those available in Europe.
As in previous years, Boychuk will challenge for an opening-night spot with the Hurricanes. Regardless of whether or not he his successful, the added depth caused by his presence should result in the Checkers getting the type of skilled offensive winger that they may have otherwise lacked going into next season. Of course, all of that is dependent on if he could clear waivers to join an AHL team, which proved no small obstacle during a tumultuous 2012-13 campaign that saw him suit up for the Carolina, Pittsburgh and Nashville organizations.
Boychuk ranks second on the Checkers' all-time list in goals (66), assists (86), points (152), power-play points (71), power-play assists (43) and game-winning goals (13), trailing Chris Terry in each category. He is the Checkers' all-time leader with 28 power-play goals and also holds the record for most points (65) in a single season, set in 2010-11.