NEWSCanes Sign Dan Renouf: After two seasons (and a Calder Cup) with the Grand Rapids Griffins, defenseman Dan Renouf has joined the Carolina organization by inking a one-year, two-way deal with the Canes. Renouf hasn’t put up the gaudy offensive numbers that some other Charlotte blue liners have, but has size (he’s listed at 6-foot-2) and toughness (183 penalty minutes in 146 AHL games, ranked first or second on the Griffins in his two pro seasons). Given the nature of his contract, it’s likely Renouf at least starts the season in Charlotte, where he’ll likely take up more of a physical, stay-at-home role on the Checkers’ blue line.
Checkers Bring Back Stortini: Zack Stortini is returning to the fold next season after signing a new one-year deal with the Checkers. The 32-year-old forward only appeared in 23 games last season but ranked third on the team in penalty minutes, filling his role as a tough enforcer on the ice. But that wasn’t the only way he made an impact. Stortini was heralded for his leadership throughout the season, helping to guide the younger prospects through the pro game. With a new crop of young talent heading to Charlotte next season, it’s never a bad idea to have someone like Stortini around.
Checkers Win AHL Community Service Award: After raising $383,415 in total donations this season, the highest mark in franchise history, the Checkers were given the AHL’s Eastern Conference Excellence in Community Service Award. That’s the fourth time (2011, 2014, 2015, 2018) in eight seasons that the Checkers have earned the award. Thanks to all the fans and partners who have helped keep the dynasty alive.
Prospect Spotlight: Callum Booth
As it stands now, Booth looks to be slated to make the full-time jump to the AHL next season, likely starring in a tandem with Alex Nedeljkovic. That could change, however, as the competition in the crease across the organization will likely heat up come training camp.
Whatever Happened To: Jon Matsumoto
Matsumoto, who was selected to the 2012 AHL All-Star Game after a strong first half with Charlotte, was dealt to Florida midway through the 2011-12 campaign, finishing up the season with the San Antonio Rampage while appearing in one NHL game for the Panthers. He would land a deal with San Jose the following year, ranking third on the team in scoring, before returning to Florida as a free agent ahead of the 2013-14 campaign. He would only log 29 games during his second stint with San Antonio, however, and made the jump overseas for the 2014-15 season.
Matsumoto joined the Schwenningen Wild Wings for the first of what would be a run of solid seasons in Germany’s top league. The then-27-year-old ranked second on the team in goals that season, then followed it up by leading the Augsburg Panthers in scoring a year later. Matsumoto then signed on with Munich, where he captured back-to-back championships in 2016 and 2017.
Now 31, Matsumoto inked a deal with the Iserlohn Roosters for the upcoming DEL season.