The Checkers continue to flesh out their roster with a group of signings Wednesday.
Forwards Mike Ferrantino and Levko Koper, defenseman Kevin Raine and goalie Anthony Peters have all inked two-way AHL contracts with Charlotte and will head into training camp battling for a spot on the team.
Raine is heading into his third pro season after two years with the Los Angeles Kings’ AHL affiliate. After winning a Calder Cup with the Manchester Monarchs in his rookie campaign, the 23-year-old blue liner appeared in 59 games last season for the powerhouse Ontario Reign while matching his career-best offensive output with four points (1g, 3a).
Prior to turning pro, the undrafted Raine recorded 44 points (6g, 38a) in 171 games over four OHL seasons with London and Sudbury. The Ontario native helped lead the Knights to an OHL championship his rookie year before being traded to Sudbury midway through the next season. Raine served as Sudbury’s captain in 2013-14, playing alongside Trevor Carrick.
Ferrantino is making the leap to the pros after a four-year career at Michigan State University where he totaled 79 points (34g, 45a) in 148 games. The 23-year-old forward, who skated alongside Jake Chelios as a freshman and sophomore, served as team captain during his junior and senior campaigns and ranked in the top four on the team in scoring three of his four years.
Ferrantino made his pro debut last season following the conclusion of his collegiate career, appearing in one game for the ECHL’s Toledo Walleye.
Levko, a 25-year-old native of Edmonton, is turning pro after recently completing his fifth season at the University of Alberta. Koper finished his collegiate career with 139 points (51g, 88a) in 140 games with the Golden Bears and helped lead them to a CIS National Championship in 2013-14.
Prior to that, Koper spent five seasons in the WHL with the Spokane Chiefs, two of which saw him coached by current Carolina head coach Bill Peters. The forward totaled 226 points (97g, 129a) in 330 games with the Chiefs and helped them secure a Memorial Cup in the 2007-08 campaign.
Koper’s WHL-to-CIS path is identical to that of Derek Ryan, who also went from Spokane to the University of Alberta. The two only played alongside one another once, however: the 2006-07 Chiefs season.
Koper made his pro debut at the end of last season, marking three assists in five regular season games with the ECHL’s Cincinnati Cyclones, as well as another pair of helpers in four playoff contests.
Peters is the lone re-signing of the group, inking another contract with the Checkers. The netminder only appeared in one contest for the Checkers last season, however. Peters made 44 saves, the most by a Checkers goalie all season, in a 5-2 loss to Grand Rapids. The 25-year-old spent the rest of his rookie campaign starring for the ECHL’s Florida Everblades. Peters went 27-15-2, leading all ECHL rookies in wins, and recorded a 2.20 goals-against average, good for second among league rookies and seventh overall.
Peters, whose brother is former Charlotte and current Arizona goalie Justin Peters, turned pro last season after stints in both the OHL and CIS. At St. Mary’s University, Peters earned the CIS Goaltender of the Year award in 2014-15 and received CIS All-Canadian First-Team honors. He is also a two-time conference First All-Star and earned a spot on the CIS All-Rookie team in 2011-12. Adding to his accolades, the 24-year-old was named his team's MVP three times during his four-year career. Prior to that, Peters spent five seasons in the OHL for Mississauga St. Michael's, Belleville, Saginaw, Kingston and Oshawa, registering a 23-38-9 record in 85 games.