Dolan, a 25-year-old who initially joined the team on a professional tryout contract in January of 2012, returns for this third season with Charlotte and third on an AHL deal. With the likes of Riley Nash, Brett Sutter and Jeremy Welsh hoping to move on to full-time roles in Carolina after playing the majority of last season in Charlotte, Dolan’s return will add important depth at the center position.
A University of Wisconsin alumnus and native of St. Louis, Missouri, Dolan missed the team’s last 16 regular season games due to injury but opened the scoring in his return to the lineup in Game 2 of Charlotte’s first-round playoff series with Oklahoma City. The team’s fourth-line center for most of his tenure with the Checkers, he has posted 16 points (9g, 7a) in 92 career AHL games. He has also been a key penalty killer on a team that finished in the AHL’s top seven in each of the last two seasons.
Deckert, 27, did not make his professional debut until March of last season, when the Checkers’ ECHL affiliate in Florida signed him to replace Rob Madore, who had moved on to Charlotte. After stopping 37 of 41 shots to win his first game in overtime on March 6, Deckert, who had previously been playing with the University of Manitoba, finished the regular season with a 9-1-1 record, 2.40 goals-against average and .916 save percentage for the Everblades. He also captured the league’s Goaltender of the Week Award for the period ending March 30.
In what will essentially be his rookie season, Deckert will likely become the third member of Charlotte’s expected goalie pool, joining Justin Peters and Mike Murphy. Madore and John Muse, goalies signed to fill what is now Deckert’s role over the last two years, have gone on to play important games at the AHL level, with Madore becoming the Checkers’ playoff starter last season.
Prior to joining the Everblades, Deckert had spent five years in the Canadian college ranks, going 16-9-0 with a 2.19 goals-against average, .915 save percentage and two shutouts in his first full campaign as a starter last season. The 6-foot-2, 205-pound Winnipeg native also played major junior hockey with the Regina Pats, Tri-City Americans and Prince Albert Raiders of the WHL from 2002 to 2007.
Deckert’s signing reduces the chance that Muse and Madore will return to the organization, which now has the usual allotment of five goalies under contract at the NHL and AHL levels. Both are still unrestricted free agents.
A full rundown of offseason player movement concerning the Checkers can be found here.