Goaltender Daniel Altshuller is returning to the Checkers, filling the void left by Michael Leighton’s NHL recall.
The third-year netminder is expected to form a tandem with rookie Alex Nedeljkovic for Tuesday’s home game against Chicago and however many other games Leighton will miss while filling in for the injured Eddie Lack in Carolina. Tonight’s game begins a four-games-in-six-days home stand for the Checkers, who are 4-0-0 at Bojangles’ Coliseum this season.
Similar to when he made his AHL debut with the Checkers last season, Altshuller, 22, has again posted stellar early-season numbers with the ECHL’s Florida Everblades, helping the team to a league-best 10-0-3 start. So far, Altshuller has a 4-0-1 record to go along with his 1.80 goals-against average (third ECHL) and .923 save percentage (10th ECHL).
Last season, Altshuller, the reigning ECHL goalie of the month at the time, quickly took hold of the Checkers’ starting duties upon his first recall, going 9-1-1 in his first 11 games and earning his first NHL recall to Carolina. He finished the campaign with a 10-10-5 record, 2.81 goals-against average and 905 save percentage at the AHL level.
Altshuller and Nedeljkovic, the latter of whom is coming off arguably his best game of the season, a 24-save effort in last Friday’s 3-1 loss in San Antonio, will now be tasked with helping the Checkers emerge from a four-game winless streak (0-3-1) dating back to Nov. 12. They will have big shoes to fill as Leighton, the AHL’s all-time leader in shutouts and one of its all-time winningest goaltenders, has recorded six of the team’s seven wins and currently ranks third in the league with a 1.66 goals against average this season.