To compensate for the loss of another defenseman earlier this week, the Checkers have recalled rookie Austin Levi from the ECHL’s Florida Everblades.
When the Checkers return to action against the Norfolk Admirals at home this Sunday, Levi, 21, is expected to fill in for the injured Danny Biega. Both Biega, who left Thursday’s win against the San Antonio Rampage after a hard crash into the boards, and Rasmus Rissanen, who suffered an injury during a fight five days earlier, are considered week-to-week, which had left the team with just five healthy blueliners.
It remains to be seen whether Levi, who has yet to make his AHL debut, will be able to play the kind of minutes Daniels needs to help compensate for the loss of two of his top-four defensemen – something he stated would be a goal of his as he began his search on Friday. The 6-foot-4, 210-pound native of Aurora, Colorado, is, however, the only defenseman playing in the ECHL who is under an NHL contract with Carolina and holds the pedigree of a third-round selection in the 2010 draft, when the Hurricanes chose him 18 picks after Biega.
A Plymouth Whalers teammate of current Checkers Chris Terry, A.J. Jenks, Michal Jordan and Beau Schmitz, Levi scored 86 points (16g, 70a) and notched 302 penalty minutes over a 268-game junior career. He attended Checkers training camp in each of the last two campaigns, including last season when he ended up returning to Plymouth for a fifth junior season.
In his first taste of professional action (he joined the Checkers after the conclusion of Plymouth’s season last April but did not play), Levi has four assists, 22 penalty minutes and a plus-2 rating in 23 games with the Everblades this season.