Needing a forward to round out their roster for Friday’s game, the Checkers recalled A.J. Jenks from the ECHL’s Florida Everblades on Thursday.
Jenks, 22, started the season with the Checkers, playing seven games before starting his second stint in Florida on Dec. 10. In 14 games with the Everblades this season, he has one goal, two assists, nine penalty minutes and a plus-1 rating.
Due to a one-game suspension to Checkers captain Brett Sutter, Jenks should be in the lineup as Charlotte begins a three-in-three set at Oklahoma City on Friday. Should he line up at center, where he’s played the majority of his 34 Checkers games over the last two seasons, that would allow the team to move Zac Dalpe to his usual position on the wing. Another scenario could have Jenks play on the left side with Dalpe at center.
Though Sutter is expected to return Saturday, there’s a good chance Jenks stays around longer than one game. A regular at the AHL level until the Checkers’ increased depth cost him a spot in the lineup (he was a healthy scratch for 15 of Charlotte’s first 21 games this season), the third-year pro figures to be one of the players to benefit most from the return of the NHL.
It’s possible that more ECHL recalls will follow Jenks’ promotion to Charlotte, with the Carolina Hurricanes set to begin training camp as early as this weekend. The team has already departed for Oklahoma City, with all except the injured Nicolas Blanchard and Marc-Andre Gragnani making the trip.