The first two days of free agency have seen several Checkers players move on to new opportunities.
Forwards Patrick Brown, Tomas Jurco and Zach Nastasiuk and defensemen Josiah Didier and Dan Renouf – all of whom became unrestricted free agents on July 1 – have each signed elsewhere as of Tuesday.
Brown, who inked a two-year deal with the Vegas Golden Knights on Monday, departs after spending the first five seasons of his pro career in Charlotte. The undrafted forward out of Boston College logged 334 games in a Checkers sweater – the third-most in franchise history – and put up 125 points (53g, 72a) along the way, a total that ranks eighth in franchise history. Brown also served as team captain for each of the last three seasons, matching Brett Sutter for the longest such tenure in team history.
Jurco, who signed a one-year contract with the Edmonton Oilers on Monday, joined the Checkers on an AHL deal late last season but made quite the impact in his short time. A second-round pick in 2011 with over 200 NHL games under his belt, Jurco recorded 17 points (8g, 9a) in 19 games during the regular season and added 18 more (7g, 11a) in 18 playoff games.
Nastasiuk, who signed an AHL deal with the San Antonio Rampage on Monday, signed with the Checkers last summer and spent one season in the organization. After starting the year in the ECHL, Nastasiuk – a second-round selection by Detroit in 2013 – became a mainstay in the Charlotte lineup and set a career high with 11 points (5g, 6a) in 43 games. He also added four points in 19 postseason games, including the empty-net dagger to clinch the Checkers’ Calder Cup victory.
Didier, who signed an AHL contract with the Providence Bruins on Monday, leaves having posted 19 points (6g, 13a) and 131 penalty minutes in 95 games for the Checkers over the last two seasons. A fourth-round pick by Montreal in 2011, Didier set a career high with 10 points (2g, 8a) over 41 games this past season and added four more helpers in 19 postseason contests.
Renouf, who signed a two-year deal with the Colorado Avalanche on Tuesday, spent one season with the Checkers and captured his second Calder Cup in three seasons. The 25-year-old blue liner set a career high with 24 points (2g, 22a) and led the team with 121 penalty minutes, a season total that ranks as the ninth-highest in franchise history.