The 2017-18 season is creeping closer and closer, and the Checkers’ move to the Eastern Conference means a whole new slate of opponents. For the new few weeks, we’ll take a look at each of Charlotte’s new Atlantic Division rivals!


The Sound Tigers turned in a strong 92-point campaign in 2016-17 but fell victim to the Atlantic Division logjam, narrowly missing the postseason. Bridgeport’s offense lost some high-end scoring pop via departing veterans, but a crop of young talent up front will look to replace that and then some. The Sound Tigers’ back end, headlined by one of the league’s top rookies in Devon Toews, provided a strong offensive presence for the club, making them one of only two AHL teams with two defensemen in their top three scorers. Bridgeport finished in the middle of the pack in both goals for and goals against and will count on a young group of netminders to hold down the fort as Jaroslav Halak looks to reassert himself into the big club.

Key Departures


Bracken Kearns

12-year vet led Sound Tigers in goals (23) and points (51) last season before inking a new two-way deal with New Jersey this offseason

Andrew Rowe

Former Checker enjoyed a breakout AHL campaign in 16-17, shattering career highs in goals, assists and points. The 29-year-old forward is now headed overseas for the first time in his career

Key Additions


Matthew Barzal

Former first-round pick and WHL star making the jump to pro game, could be a strong offensive presence for Bridgeport if he doesn’t challenge for an NHL spot

Seth Helgeson

Towering blue liner heads over from the Devils system where he has been a consistent piece for Albany while making NHL appearances in each of the last three campaigns

Key Returning


Devon Toews

Blue liner led both Bridgeport and all rookie defensemen in assists last season, securing himself a spot on the AHL’s All-Rookie Team

Steve Bernier

32-year-old journeyman excelled for nearly a point-per-game during his 33 contests, tying for third on the team in goals along the way