After making his Carolina debut on Tuesday, Marc-Andre Gragnani is headed back to Charlotte.
Gragnani, 25, played just under eight minutes during the Hurricanes’ 3-0 loss in Washington – his first NHL game since spending all of last season in the NHL with Buffalo and Vancouver. With Brett Sutter set to miss the Checkers’ next game due to suspension, Gragnani returns as the team’s second-highest active scorer with 21 points (1g, 20a) in 33 games.
With the health of the Hurricanes’ defense still in flux, it’s possible that they made need to summon more defensive help from Charlotte ahead of their home game against Pittsburgh on Thursday. Tim Gleason, Jamie McBain and Joni Pitkanen have all missed the team’s last few games, while junior recall Ryan Murphy is nearing the end of the five-game window that prevents the first year of his NHL contract from kicking in.
As of Gragnani's reassignment, the Checkers had seven healthy defensemen on their roster. Only Gragnani and Michal Jordan, who returned to Charlotte on Monday after playing his first five games with Carolina, have NHL experience.
Despite missing 21 games this season, Gragnani ranks tied for third in the AHL with 16 power-play assists. He has five assists in his last five Checkers games, helping the team convert nine of its last 21 power-play opportunities (42.9 percent) during that time.