With the addition of Ryan Murphy from Carolina giving them eight defensemen, the Checkers responded by sending Beau Schmitz to the ECHL’s Florida Everblades on Saturday.
Schmitz, a 22-year-old, second-year pro, had spent the entire first half of the season on Charlotte’s roster. He began the campaign as the team’s seventh defenseman but had begun to force his way into a battle for a top-six spot prior to Murphy’s arrival.
Coach Jeff Daniels had been pleased with Schmitz’s play as injuries to Michal Jordan, Danny Biega and Rasmus Rissanen thrust him into the lineup for 20 a possible 23 games between Nov. 19 and his last game on Jan. 18. In his most recent apperance, he posted a season-high, plus-3 rating as the Checkers defeated Texas by a 6-1 score.
“He’s been great,” Daniels said earlier this week. “It starts in practice and he’s one of our hardest-working guys in practice. I thought he was real good against Texas Saturday because they come really hard on the forecheck and you’ve got to get back, get pucks and skate out of the zone.”
Schmitz, who the Carolina Hurricanes signed as an undrafted free agent prior to last season, has six points (2g, 4a) and a plus-1 rating in 23 AHL games this season. To this point, he has split his professional career between Charlotte and Florida, where he registered eight assists in 50 games to start last season.
It’s possible that Murphy, the Hurricanes’ first-round pick in 2011, could be with Charlotte at least until the NHL’s Olympic break concludes at the end of February. The 20-year-old posted three power-play assists and a plus-3 rating in his first AHL game of the season on Friday.