The Carolina Hurricanes will reassign forward Zac Dalpe to the Checkers, coach Paul Maurice told the Raleigh media on Thursday.
Dalpe, who scored 57 points (23g, 34a) with Charlotte last season to earn AHL All-Rookie honors, will return for his second stint with the team. He played two games in Milwaukee and Rockford on Nov. 4 and 6, respectively, with no points scored in his first game action since suffering a lower-body injury three weeks earlier.
The 22-year-old center, who made the Hurricanes out of training camp, has appeared in nine NHL games this season but has been used sparingly, logging over 10 minutes of ice time just once.
The move leaves the Hurricanes with 12 healthy forwards, including former Checker Zach Boychuk, meaning that an additional forward recall from Charlotte will not be necessary to offset the move. However, after a stretch of six losses in the Hurricanes’ last seven games, reports from Raleigh suggest that another AHL transaction could be coming, perhaps as early as Thursday evening.
Dalpe’s arrival, which does not come with a timeframe similar to his previous AHL assignment that was labeled as a temporary conditioning stint, does make the Checkers’ forward situation more crowded. Even with center Cedric McNicoll still unable to take the ice with the team (coach Jeff Daniels has been ruled out of both games this weekend), the team had 13 healthy forwards without Dalpe.
Rookie Justin Shugg was the odd man out in the Checkers’ most recent game, but that may not continue. Daniels said that he was hesitant to use the 19-year-old on three consecutive days as he returned from a lower-body injury, which had more to do with the decision to scratch him than his performance.
“Things happen more quickly at this level, and he just has to get used to that pace,” said Daniels of Shugg, who is scoreless in five AHL games after posting 8 points during that same timespan with the ECHL’s Florida Everblades. “He has good intentions and is close to making plays, he just needs to continue to get adjusted.”
Fellow rookie Scott Pitt, 23, also remains with the team on a professional tryout agreement. Both he and Shugg were in the team’s top nine forwards at Thursday’s practice (Shugg was on a line with Riley Nash and Drayson Bowman; Pitt with Chris Durno and Jerome Samson), but even before news of Dalpe’s return broke, Daniels did not commit to using them in those roles in game action.
“We’re just getting a look at some different options,” he said.
Dalpe is expected to be in the lineup when the Checkers host Rockford on Friday night as part of a two-game set that continues Sunday afternoon.