Aleksi Saarela
The Carolina Hurricanes handed Checkers forward Aleksi Saarela his first-ever NHL recall on Wednesday.

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Saarela’s recall will help the Hurricanes cope with the loss of Marcus Kruger, who the team placed on injured reserve in a corresponding move on Wednesday. Checkers center Lucas Wallmark, initially recalled to replace Kruger, suffered an injury late in Tuesday’s game against the Washington Capitals and did not practice Wednesday. If needed, Saarela would make his NHL debut Thursday in Pittsburgh.

In his first full season in North America, Saarela ranks third on the team with 13 goals – five of which have come in his last five games, including a hat trick on Dec. 21. Six of his goals came on the power play, helping the Checkers rank third in the league at 22.2 percent for the season.

The Checkers return to action for a back-to-back set in Hershey starting this Saturday. With Valentin Zykov returning from illness, the team had an extra forward at Wednesday’s practice and could soon welcome back Janne Kuokkanen, whose Finnish team recently concluded play at the World Junior Championship.
Paul Branecky
Author: Paul BraneckyEmail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
The Checkers' vice president of communications, Paul Branecky has been covering hockey in North Carolina since 2006, including five seasons with the Carolina Hurricanes.