The Hurricanes made a pair of swaps at forward today, recalling Bryan Bickell and Andrew Poturalski from Charlotte while assigning Lucas Wallmark and Phil Di Giuseppe to the Checkers.
This marks the first NHL recall for Bickell since returning to hockey after his MS diagnosis. A veteran of nearly 400 NHL games, Bickell’s last appearance with Carolina came on Oct. 30. He received the diagnosis following that, but made his intentions to continue to play hockey known in a statement on Nov. 11. He did just that on Feb. 25, suiting up for the Checkers for the first time and picking up an assist. Since then, Bickell has recorded four points in 10 games for Charlotte.
For Charlotte’s rookie sensation Poturalski, this marks the first NHL recall of his career. The 23-year-old has led the team in scoring for most of the season, playing all 69 games for the Checkers and logging 48 points along the way, a total that ranks third among all league rookies. A product of the University of New Hampshire, Poturalski inked an entry-level deal with Carolina last March after a sophomore season that saw him named a Hobey Baker Award finalist.
While the move costs the Checkers two key offensive pieces, they are receiving a pair of lethal scorers in return.
Wallmark heads back to Charlotte after his second NHL stint of the year, logging two helpers in eight games overall with the Hurricanes. With the Checkers, the Swede has been a lights-out scorer, racking up 23 goals in his first pro season. That total ties him for second among all AHL rookies and has already earned him a spot in the franchise record book, currently tied with Zac Dalpe for the most goals by a rookie in a single-season with 23. In his last seven games with Charlotte, Wallmark has accumulated seven points.
It’s been a little while since Charlotte has seen Di Giuseppe this season, as he has remained in the NHL since being recalled on Feb. 19. His time with the Checkers showed that the third-year-pro continues to be a powerful weapon at the AHL level, though. In just 33 games with Charlotte this season, Di Giuseppe has pumped in 20 points, with his 10 goals just one shy of his career high.
The Checkers will roll out their new-look offensive corps tomorrow night as they host San Antonio to kick off the final home stand of the season.