The Checkers bulked up their roster for next season on Thursday, signing defenseman Derek Sheppard and forwards Hunter Shinkaruk and Colin Markison all to AHL contracts.
Sheppard returns to Charlotte after inking an AHL deal in the middle of last season. The 25-year-old recorded an assist and 24 penalty minutes in 10 games with the Checkers during the regular season and added a goal and an assist with 35 penalty minutes in six postseason games.
Sheppard spent the majority of his rookie season in the ECHL with the Florida Everblades, where he racked up 40 points (14g, 26a) and 93 penalty minutes in 57 games to earn spots on both the ECHL All-Rookie Team and the ECHL Second All-Star Team. The Ontario native also appeared in 10 games at the tail-end of the 2017-18 ECHL campaign and helped guide the Everblades to a berth in the Kelly Cup Finals.
Prior to turning pro Sheppard played two seasons in the QMJHL with Gatineau before starring for four years at York University, where he was a two-time conference Defenseman of the Year and named conference MVP once.
Shinkaruk is heading into his sixth pro season after logging 10 points (5g, 5a) in 54 games for the Laval Rocket last season. Taken 24th overall in the 2013 draft by Vancouver, Shinkaruk has 159 points (80g, 79a) in 305 AHL over his career with Utica, Stockton and Laval, as well as 15 NHL games with the Canucks and Flames.
The 24-year-old winger broke the 30-point mark in each of his first four AHL seasons, including logging a career-high 51 in 62 games during a 2015-16 campaign that saw him earn a trip to the AHL All-Star Game.
Prior to turning pro Shinkaruk, a Calgary native, recorded 235 points (105g, 130a) in 211 WHL games over four seasons with Medicine Hat.
Markison joins the Checkers after completing his fourth full pro season, setting a career high in goals (8) and matching his in points (27) last season over 62 games with the Texas Stars. The 26-year-old has 208 AHL games under his belt with Bridgeport and Texas and has logged 72 points (21g, 51a) along the way. The New Jersey native also appeared in 24 ECHL games for the Missouri Mavericks in 2015-16 and produced 17 points (10g, 7a).
Prior to turning pro Markison spent four years at the University of Vermont, where he recorded 52 points (23g, 29a) in 127 games, and the two years before that in the USHL, notching 34 points (13g, 21a) in 112 games for the Omaha Lancers.