Now in the Western Conference finals against Montreal, Vegas forwards Patrick Brown and Nicolas Roy are the last Checkers standing among the NHL’s final four teams.

Each player has chipped in offensively throughout the playoffs, with Roy most notably keeping his composure in a high-pressure situation to score the overtime winner and tie the series at 2-2. It was his second straight game with a goal, giving him eight points (4g, 4a) in 15 postseason contests.

Meanwhile, Brown has scored twice in 15 in 12 outings, most recently in Game 5 of the Avalanche series.

Calder Cup winners with Charlotte in 2019, Brown and Roy will attempt to become the first Checkers to capture a Stanley Cup championship since the team began AHL play in 2010.

Aside from those two, defenseman Fredrik Claesson is still in the hunt with the Tampa Bay Lightning but has yet to play this postseason.

Here’s some more hockey news you might like:
  • It’s perhaps no surprise given that we’re now two years removed from our Calder Cup championship, but this was undoubtedly the best season yet for Checkers in the NHL.

    We’ve got our first major award nominee in Alex Nedeljkovic, who’s one of three finalists for the Calder Trophy as the NHL’s top rookie. We could have our first Stanley Cup champions if Vegas finally gets over the hump. Martin Necas had a breakout season for our old affiliate, and Gustav Forsling emerged as a key player for our new one. Several players became NHL regulars for the first time, with tons of first goals and first points scored along the way.

    In all, 35 former Checkers played for 17 different NHL teams this year.

  • Our ECHL affiliate in Greenville is in the midst of a Kelly Cup Playoff run. After defeating the Indy Fuel in the first round, the Swamp Rabbits are taking on the in-state rival South Carolina Stingrays in a best-of-five matchup. They trail 2-1 in the series, with the final two games scheduled to take place in Charleston tonight and Wednesday (if necessary). Panthers prospect Ryan Bednard has a 2.44 goals-against average and .929 save percentage in five playoff appearances thus far, continuing his stellar season.

  • The time to start looking at candidates for next season’s Checkers roster has begun. The Florida Panthers kicked off their signing season by agreeing to a two-way contract with veteran defenseman Kevin Connauton, who spent most of the 2020-21 season on their taxi squad but did appear in seven regular-season games. The 31-year-old has 321 games of NHL experience but has also played 261 times in the AHL, posting 118 points with Manitoba, Chicago, Texas, Tucson and Colorado.

  • Panthers defensive prospect Max Gildon made the AHL All-Rookie team after posting 19 points (2g, 17a) in 32 games while on loan to Bakersfield. The 6-foot-3, 191-pound Texan was an outstanding two-way player at the University of New Hampshire, scoring 73 points (21g, 52a) in 111 games and leading the team in scoring all three seasons. He helped Bakersfield capture a Pacific Division playoff title.

  • The Panthers signed 2020 first-round draft pick Anton Lundell to his entry-level contract. After an excellent season in his native Finland that continued into a starring role at the recent World Championship, all signs point to the Panthers having plans for him on the NHL roster next season.

  • Former Checkers Andrew Poturalski and Ryan Murphy each picked up AHL honors. Both were members of the Pacific Division All-Star Team, while Murphy also captured the Eddie Shore Award as the league’s top defenseman – an award that Jake Bean won with Charlotte the season prior. With 43 points in 44 games, Poturalski earlier took home the John B. Sollenberger award as the regular season’s top scorer.

  • Josiah Didier won the Providence Bruins’ inaugural Colby Cave Memorial Award for “dedication to the community and charitable organizations.” His selection continues a strong legacy of former Checkers continuing to make community contributions wherever they go. The last time each team submitted its own Man of the Year nominee for the 2019-20 season, former Checkers Keegan Lowe (Bakersfield), Chris Terry (Grand Rapids), Brett Sutter (Ontario) and Brendan Woods (Providence) all earned nominations from their new clubs.