Drayson Bowman has escaped from lockout limbo.
Taking advantage of a special rule designed to keep young players playing during the NHL’s work stoppage, the Checkers signed the 23-year-old forward to an AHL contract on Tuesday. Bowman is expected to report to Charlotte’s training camp on Wednesday and be available to the team for the duration of the lockout.
Bowman, one of the Checkers’ top forwards last season who enjoyed his best NHL season to date, makes an already-deep training camp roster even deeper.
“It’ll make another tough decision for us here,” said coach Jeff Daniels, who now has 20 forwards at training camp. “He’s had a few years pro now and everybody feels like it would be a good idea for him to come down and continue to play and stay sharp.”
Thanks in part to his 13 points (6g, 7a) in a career-high 37 games with Carolina last season, Bowman was the one player the organization chose not to place on waivers, which, due to his age and experience, would have been necessary for him to join Charlotte with the bulk of his teammates on Sept. 15.
However, that isn’t to say his spot on the NHL roster once the lockout ends is guaranteed.
“He’s got a lot to prove this year to show that he can be a player in Carolina,” said Daniels.
Despite already holding an NHL contract with the Hurricanes, Bowman was able to sign with Charlotte because he was on an AHL Clear Day list and finished the season on an AHL roster last season. The Hurricanes’ third-round pick in 2007, Bowman has 56 points (25g, 31a) in 93 career AHL games with Albany and Charlotte.