The Carolina Hurricanes made their second AHL transaction of the day Thursday evening, recalling rookie defenseman Justin Faulk from the Checkers.
Faulk crosses paths with Zac Dalpe, who the Canes reassigned to Charlotte
as previously announced by coach Paul Maurice. After starting the season in the NHL, Faulk, who at 19 years of age was the youngest player in the AHL at the time of his recall, posted 6 points (2g, 4a) in 12 games with the Checkers.
The University of Minnesota-Duluth product and 2010 second-round draft choice was with the Checkers for all nine games of their team-record road swing that included three separate clusters in which the team played three games in three nights.
“The biggest thing about being a pro is just being consistent, and I think he’s learning that now,” said Checkers coach Jeff Daniels. “The travel and the three-in-threes are hard for anyone coming in and there was an adjustment to be made there, but if anything he’s now getting stronger in those last games.”
While with the Checkers, Faulk, known mostly for his offensive numbers coming into his professional career (he scored 33 points in 39 games as a college freshman), showed that his scoring totals come from hard work in his own end.
“He’s been especially good in those one-on-one battles in winning the puck, which then lets him use his skills in transition to help us get up the ice,” said Daniels.
Even with Faulk’s departure, the Checkers still have a full allotment of six defensemen to dress for their return to Time Warner Cable Arena on Friday. Having taken turns as a healthy scratch throughout Faulk’s tenure in Charlotte, rookies Justin Krueger and Rasmus Rissanen are each expected to suit up against Rockford, marking just the second time since Oct. 16 that they’ve been in the lineup at the same time.
For a time, Krueger, 25, appeared to have the upper hand over the 20-year-old Rissanen, playing four consecutive games between Nov.5 and Nov. 12. However, Rissanen played in the team’s most recent game in Houston last Sunday.
“For me, they’ve both played well,” said Daniels.
Besides those two, all Checkers defensemen are likely to get a bump in ice time. Faulk has been the minutes leader on the blue line throughout his AHL tenure this season, playing extensively on the power play and penalty kill.