Initially brought in on an emergency basis as the Checkers battled through injuries, Bobby Raymond’s stay in Charlotte looks as though it will last a while longer.
On Tuesday, the 27-year-old defenseman signed an AHL deal with the Checkers, replacing the professional tryout contract he originally signed with the team on Dec. 30. Since joining the club from the ECHL’s Florida Everblades prior to that night’s game at San Antonio, Raymond, a fourth-year pro, has played in all of the Checkers’ games, posting one assist and a plus-2 rating with four penalty minutes.
With Justin Faulk gone for good and Bobby Sanguinetti unlikely to return from the NHL’s Carolina Hurricanes anytime soon, Raymond should remain a fixture on the team’s defense. Since the time of his tryout signing, the undrafted Rochester Institute of Technology product has made the Checkers’ lineup ahead of three Carolina Hurricanes prospects who also started the season in the ECHL - Tommi Kivisto, Beau Schmitz and Joe Sova.
The Checkers were missing three regular defensemen at the time of Raymond’s debut with the team. Marc-Andre Gragnani and Rasmus Rissanen were both out of the lineup due to injury (though they have since returned), while Faulk was unavailable to play for the third game in as many nights.
The contract is the second at the AHL level for Raymond (5-foot-10, 185 pounds), who split the 2011-12 season between Binghamton and the Everblades. Including this season, he has accumulated five points, all assists, in 48 career regular-season games in the AHL, while chipping in two points (1g, 1a) during a professional tryout stint in Binghamton’s run to the Calder Cup in 2011.
The championship with Binghamton was the first in two consecutive seasons for Raymond, who scored 10 points (2g, 8a) in 18 games as the Everblades captured the 2012 Kelly Cup. In 125 regular-season games in the ECHL, all with Florida, the Lucknow, Ontario, native scored 64 points (19g, 45a). He led all Everblades defensemen with 19 points (8g, 11a) in 30 games at the time of his departure.