The Checkers will have help as they look to get even with the Abbotsford Heat this afternoon.
Early Saturday morning, the Carolina Hurricanes reassigned center Jeremy Welsh, who played one of the Hurricanes’ first four games this season, back to Charlotte. Welsh will be available as the Checkers take on the Heat for the second time in as many days, with the home team having lost the first game by a 4-3 score on Friday.
Saturday’s noon start already presented a quick turnaround for Charlotte and Abbotsford even without travel. Welsh was in Buffalo for the Hurricanes’ 3-1 win on Friday, though he did not play in the game. Welsh made his season debut with Carolina – his second career NHL game – in the team’s 4-1 loss to Tampa Bay on Jan. 22. He recorded 5:46 of ice time in fourth-line duty, taking one shot on goal.
Welsh, a 24-year-old rookie out of Union College, started the season with the Checkers, scoring 13 points (6g, 7a) in 39 games. He has now been recalled to Carolina on two separate occasions this season, having originally joined the team for training camp on Jan. 13 before returning to Charlotte to play a two-game stint against Grand Rapids on Jan. 16 and 17. Welsh missed five of the Checkers’ last seven games while on recall.
Barring an unknown injury to another player, Welsh’s return will result in another healthy scratch for today’s game. With Nicolas Blanchard playing Friday for the first time since Jan. 3, forward Matt Beca, recalled from the ECHL’s South Carolina Stingrays, did not play.
Following today’s game, the Checkers are off until Thursday due to the AHL All-Star break. Meanwhile, the Hurricanes, who still have an extra forward despite the reassignment of Welsh, host Boston on Monday.
The Hurricanes still have six players who started the season with Charlotte, including forwards Drayson Bowman, Zach Boychuk and Zac Dalpe, defensemen Justin Faulk and Bobby Sanguinetti and goalie Dan Ellis.