Needing a center to replace the injured Tim Brent, the Hurricanes are set to hand the Checkers’ Riley Nash his NHL debut tonight as they host the Phoenix Coyotes.
Nash, 22, left the Checkers’ 4-3 shootout loss to Oklahoma City with an injury midway through the third period on Tuesday, but is apparently healthy enough for his recall. The second-year center, who was the last forward to stick with the Hurricanes during training camp before making his way to Charlotte, has 9 points (2g, 7a) in 31 games with the team this season.
Nash has been known more for his defensive play this season, as he has not found the score sheet since recording a 3-point night in Norfolk on Nov. 23. He is scoreless in his last 12 contests, marking the longest drought of his professional career to date.
Another candidate for a recall at center may have been Checkers scoring leader Jon Matsumoto, who had 2 goals prior to leaving Tuesday’s game with an injury of his own before the third period. Matsumoto, who recorded 2 goals during a 13-game stint with the Canes last season, has 28 points (13g, 15a) with the Checkers this season.
The other two players who lined up at center for the Checkers’ most-recent game Zac Dalpe and Brett Sutter, have NHL experience but have been used primarily on the wing during their time in Carolina.
The Checkers are off until Dec. 30, when they begin a two-game road trip through Rockford and Chicago.