The 2022-23 season kicks off on Friday, and as is per usual at this level, there are a lot of new faces making up the Checkers’ roster.

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To get ready for the openers, let’s dive right in and get to know this year’s squad.


Zac Dalpe

Forward, 13th pro season, 30-9-39 in 68 games last season with Charlotte (AHL)

The Checkers captain turned in one of his best AHL seasons last year, leading the team with 30 goals. Dalpe is currently on the Florida roster as he recovers from an injury suffered during the offseason, but once he is cleared and returns to Charlotte he will undoubtedly be a driving force on this team once again.

Logan Hutsko

Forward, second pro season, 10-28-38 in 71 games last season with Charlotte (AHL)

Hutsko found production as a rookie last season, especially early on - he posted eight points in his first eight pro games and 19 points through the 27 games on the 2021 calendar year side. With a year under his belt adjusting to the grind of a full pro slate of games, the Florida native will be looking to ramp things up as a sophomore.

HEAD COACH GEORDIE KINNEAR SAYS: “NHL training camp under a new coach, you want to make a strong impression. It was a fairly tough camp, so it was important that they went out with the right mindset and Logan worked hard. You see him out here today, he was one of the hardest working guys. Second year is a big year obviously to show that you belong in the lineup every single night. It’s a good start for him.”

Henry Bowlby

Forward, third pro season, 12-16-28 in 64 games last season for Charlotte (AHL)

After starting his pro career in Syracuse during the Covid-shortened 2020-21 campaign, Bowlby was utilized up and down the lineup during his first proper season - using his physical edge and strong skating to contribute at both ends of the ice.

KINNEAR SAYS: “Bowlbs last year was a good player for us. You look at the line at times with [Cole] Schwindt, Hepo [Aleksi Heponiemi] and Bowlby - they carried us for a portion of it - offensively and defensively, playing against top lines. We just look for him to take another step without losing the identity and looking for more quality time on ice. He got a little bit of PK time but we want him to have a significant role and be who he is and add a little bit to it.”

Aleksi Heponiemi

Forward, fifth pro season, 9-30-39 in 56 games last season for Charlotte (AHL) and 0-1-0 in six games for Florida (NHL)

Heponiemi took another big step in his development last season - wearing a letter and standing as a leader on a uniquely dual-affiliated Checkers team, posting a team-leading 30 helpers and earning another chunk of games at the NHL level.

KINNEAR SAYS: "You look at a guy who’s built it over time. His first year didn’t go his way but he was determined and never went away. His second year he plays his first National Hockey League game but didn’t play a lot of hockey because of that Covid year. Last year he was a leader for us and a big part of what we did. And now he’s pushing for an NHL job. I’m not surprised because he’s a good human being and he has a strong work ethic and a team-first attitude. I couldn’t be more proud. We want Hepo to take another step to the National Hockey League and he’s going to help us take another step as an organization."

Serron Noel

Forward, second pro season, 5-15-20 in 64 games last season for Charlotte (AHL)

Noel navigated the grind of his first pro season and showed strong flashes across the campaign - including a first-period hat trick in January and earning rave reviews from the staff during the postseason run.

Lucas Carlsson

Defenseman, ninth pro season, 1-5-6 in eight games last season for Charlotte (AHL), 3-6-9 in 40 games for Florida (NHL)

Carlsson began last season with Charlotte and was a bright spot on the blue line before getting called up and spending the rest of the season in the NHL. He’ll look to replicate that this season and once again be ready if his name gets called.


Riley Nash

Forward, 13th pro season, 10-8-18 in 17 games last season for Syracuse (AHL), 0-4-4 in 24 games for Arizona (NHL), 0-0-0 in 10 games for Tampa Bay (NHL), 0-0-0 in 15 games for Winnipeg (NHL)

Checkers fans are familiar with the name Riley Nash, but since he last suited up in Charlotte in 2012-13 the forward has accumulated an impressive pile of NHL experience. Nash has logged over 600 NHL games, and showed during his over-a-point-per-game stint with Syracuse last season that he is a lethal offensive weapon at this level.

Chris Tierney

Forward, ninth pro season, 6-12-18 in 70 games last season for Ottawa (NHL)

Tierney is another player who was a point-per-game player during his previous AHL tenures and has produced for a long time in the NHL as well - Tierney has 561 NHL contests under his belt and potted back-to-back 40-plus point seasons from 2017 to 2019.

Anthony Bitetto

Defenseman, 11th pro season, 2-0-2 in 14 games last season for San Jose (AHL), 4-11-15 in 39 games for Hartford (AHL)

Bitetto has spent nearly 500 pro games patrolling the blue line and brings with him a wealth of experience and success at all levels.

Gerry Mayhew

Forward, sixth pro season, 9-7-16 in 24 games last season for Lehigh Valley (AHL), 6-0-6 in 25 games for Philadelphia (NHL), 5-1-6 in 15 games for Anaheim (NHL)

Mayhew has proven to have a strong ability to light the lamp over his career, including leading the AHL in goals in 2019-20 and earning the league’s MVP award. With 194 points in 252 career AHL games and 11 goals in 30 NHL games this past season, Mayhew could be a strong offensive driver for the Checkers.

KINNEAR SAYS: "They’ve got the experience, they’ve had success at whatever level they’ve been at. I know those guys want to play in the National Hockey League and honestly that’s what it’s all about - getting guys down here and helping them maximize their skill set and play at a high level, which automatically helps the team win. So we’re excited to have those guys. Obviously Nasher has been here before so he has a vested interest in the Charlotte Checkers, he’s a great leader and a great kid and someone that I’m excited to have. The other guys I’m just getting to know but they’ve had success and we want to get them back to where they want to be. While they’re here we want them to help the team win."

Michael Del Zotto

Defenseman, 14th pro season, 10-17-27 in 26 games last season for Belleville (AHL), 3-10-13 in 26 games for Ottawa (NHL)

Del Zotto has racked up a staggering 736 games as a consistent force in the NHL over his long career. The blue liner exploded offensively during his stint in the AHL last season for Belleville, showing he can produce at any level.


Grigori Denisenko

Forward, third pro season, 9-9-18 in 30 games last season for Charlotte (AHL), 0-0-0 in one game for Florida (NHL)

Denisenko was an offensive force for the Checkers early on in the season before an injury in mind-January sidelined him for the remainder of the campaign. After rehabbing and getting back on the ice over the summer, the Russian forward is set to get back into the swing of things this season.

KINNEAR SAYS: You look at Deni, the last game that he played for us was his best game. Unfortunately he paid the price to keep a puck out of the net and got an injury that took him out of the lineup. But those are the things we’re looking for from everybody - paying the price to win in the end. I loved his training camp, I thought the things that we told him to work on in the summer, he definitely applied those. We’re excited about Deni, having him for the whole year and building on what he ended with last year.

Max Gildon

Defenseman, third pro season, 1-4-5 in 22 games last season for Charlotte (AHL)

After a breakout rookie campaign for Bakersfield in 2020-21, Gildon joined the Charlotte blue line but unfortunately was forced out prematurely when an injury derailed his season in mid-December. Like Denisenko, Gildon returned to the ice over the summer and has his sights set on jumping right back into the action and returning to the level that made him an AHL All-Rookie Team selection two seasons ago.

KINNEAR SAYS: Gildy was on a different AHL team during the Covid year because we obviously didn’t play. He had a strong first year, then came in here and kind of tip-toed in a little bit and wasn’t at his best. And then he ended up getting hurt. I know it was a tough injury to come back from. Out here today, I thought he was doing the right things. Everything is earned and we want to make sure guys earn it and do it the right way.

Johnny Ludvig

Defenseman, third pro season, 0-0-0 in three games last season with Charlotte (AHL)

Ludvig began his pro career in 2020, but bad injury luck has held him to just 16 regular season games since then. The 2019 third-rounder spent the majority of last season sidelined but was able to make his Checkers debut toward the end of the campaign - logging three games during the regular season and three more in the postseason to give him a jumping-off point for this year.

KINNEAR SAYS: Luddy needs experience and time. He’s had a couple bad injuries that are tough to come back from. I was happy he got into a couple playoff games last year that he could build off for this year. Luddy is going to be the type of kid who is going to do whatever it takes to help the team win and help him to get to another level. We’re excited to have him. I couldn’t be happier that he’s healthy and ready to go and that he’s on my team.


Patrick Giles

Forward, first pro season, 0-1-0 in 10 games last season for Charlotte (AHL), 15-7-22 in 37 games for Boston College (NCAA)

Giles jumped on last season at the conclusion of his college career and carved out an every-day spot in the lineup for himself - even during the Checkers’ playoff run. He continued to impress during the offseason, turning his AHL deal into an NHL entry-level contract with Florida after his showing at their Prospects Camp.

Connor Bunnaman

Forward, fifth pro season, 1-2-3 in 12 games last season for Charlotte, 6-5-11 in 41 games for Lehigh Valley (AHL), 0-0-0 in 15 games for Philadelphia (NHL)

Bunnaman came over from the Flyers organization at the deadline as a part of the Claude Giroux trade and fit right in with Charlotte - claiming a hard-nosed role on the team while continuing to earn more and more trust from the coaching staff.

KINNEAR SAYS: Big, heavy bodies that play the right way. Both of those guys [Giles and Bunnaman] came in determined from day one. They want to play the right way, play physical. They want to have the puck and play in the offensive zone and be responsible. We take it a day at a time but those guys came in and told the organization what they are, and we want to see them continue to build on a daily basis.

Dennis Cesana

Defenseman, first pro season, 8-8-16 in 36 games last season for Michigan State (NCAA), 0-0-0 in eight games for Charlotte (AHL)

After wrapping up his college career, Cesana got a taste of the pro game with a stint in Charlotte before ramping up for his proper rookie season.

Zach Uens

Defenseman, first pro season, 2-17-19 in 34 games last season for Merrimack (NCAA), 0-0-0 in six games for Charlotte (AHL)

Like Cesana, Uens will be looking to take the lessons from a late stint in Charlotte and carry that over into a full slate of games.


Anton Levtchi

Forward, seventh pro season, 26-35-61 in 55 games last season for Tappara Tampere (Liiga)

Levtchi is coming to North America for the first time after leading his native Finland’s top league in scoring a season ago. The 26-year-old has been an offensive force playing against some top-tier competition in Liiga, and he’ll be looking to carry over that scoring touch to a new style of game.

KINNEAR SAYS: Levy, I’m excited to see him at this level. Again, it’s a tough league so there’s a bit of an adjustment period, but he wants the puck and he wants to make plays. Great character.

Santtu Kinnunen

Defenseman, fifth pro season, 4-19-23 in 54 games last season for Tappara Tampere (Liiga)

Kinnunen took a step forward and led his team’s defensemen in scoring last season while leading the club to a Liiga championship alongside current teammate Levtchi.

Calle Sjalin

Defenseman, fourth pro season, 6-16-22 in 46 games last season for Leksands (SHL)

Sjalin broke out last season and ranked second among his team’s blue liners in scoring while pumping in six goals - a mark that led all Leksands defensemen.

KINNEAR SAYS: I look at the two kids on defense, Calle and Santtu, coming in from day one they bought into what we want to do. They’re really good players, but as we all know the American Hockey League is a tough league and we’re in a very tough division with a lot of high-end teams. It’s going to be a good education for those guys, but our focus and their focus is just getting better every single day. They’re going to be a big part of what we do.

Justin Sourdif

Forward, first pro season, 17-22-39 in 28 games last season for Edmonton (WHL), 9-23-32 in 24 games for Vancouver (WHL)

The highly touted prospect has shined over the offseason - from prospect camp to earning a long look at Florida’s NHL camp - and is now set to begin his pro career with Charlotte and tap into the offensive skills that made him so dangerous at the junior level.


Alex Lyon

Goalie, seventh pro season, 18-7-3 / 2.16 GAA / .912 SV% in 30 games last season for Chicago (AHL), 1-0-1 / 2.93 / .908 in two games for Carolina (NHL)

Lyon is coming off a campaign in which he posted the league’s second-lowest goals-against average and guided the Wolves to a Calder Cup championship. The netminder has consistently produced strong numbers in the AHL and has been called on to suit up for NHL games in each of the last five seasons.

Mack Guzda

Goalie, first pro season, 20-9-2 / 2.52 / .915 in 31 games last season for Barrie (OHL), 5-4-1 / 3.20 / .915 in 10 games for Owen Sound (OHL)

Guzda earned himself an entry-level deal with his strong play at the junior level, and after shining for the Barrie Colts down the stretch of last season, the 6-foot-5 netminder is set to begin his pro career.

J-F Berube

Goalie, 12th pro season, 4-10-5 / 3.65 / .879 in 19 games last season for Cleveland (AHL), 3-2-0 / 4.12 / .900 in six games for Columbus (NHL)

Berube - currently on a PTO - brings a plethora of experience to the Charlotte crease, with nearly 350 pro games and a Calder Cup to his name.

KINNEAR SAYS: We’re excited about that group. We came off last year where it was a strength of our team. It’s important that we have depth there, as we know. Obviously what you want to build as an organization - in Charlotte and in Florida - are winners. Lyon won the last game of the year last season and we’re excited to have him. Guzda is probably the hardest working guy at practice. He’s hard on himself but we love that mindset and we love having him in the group. And J-F adds depth. He’s had success at numerous levels. We went through seven goalies last year, so we’re going to need them all.


Riley Bezeau

Forward, first pro season, 11-16-27 in 56 games last season for Saint John (QMJHL)

Bezeau proved to be a key piece in guiding his Sea Dogs squad to a Memorial Cup last season.

Bobo Carpenter

Forward, third pro season, 9-9-18 in 19 games last season for Florida (ECHL), 0-0-0 in 11 games for Milwaukee (AHL)

After a standout career at Boston University, Carpenter has proven to be able to hold his own in the AHL and was a dynamic scorer in the ECHL last season.

Tag Bertuzzi

Forward, first pro season, 21-24-45 in 63 games last season for Hamilton (OHL)

Bertuzzi posted a strong final season in junior and helped lead the Bulldogs to an OHL title.

Ethan Keppen

Forward, first pro season, 23-17-40 in 42 games last season for Flint (OHL), 0-0-0 in 11 games for Abbotsford (AHL)

Keppen proved to be a powerful scorer over his junior career and has gotten tastes of the pro game in each of the last two seasons.

KINNEAR SAYS: These kids put in a lot of work and they want to get noticed here. Some of them have been in the East Coast League and they want to make the jump to the next level. It’s about everyday consistency, but I think the biggest thing is having an identity. Tell the coaches what you are and what you can do for the group. I think those guys have done that. To win in the end you have to have some depth. So hopefully we can keep them in the group and if they’re the best guys we’ll get them back up here sometime.