Over the weekend, with both NHL parent clubs out of the playoffs, the Charlotte Checkers and Oklahoma City Barons made roster additions that only make both teams better. In a 1-1 series tie, the 4/5 quarterfinal of the Western Conference now turns to three straight in Charlotte after an opening two-step in Oklahoma City. The first game was decided in sudden death, the other featured a monstrous night for Mark Arcobello, and a three goal victory. Both were very entertaining games, and believe me when I say this – the next three will be even more entertaining.
The Edmonton Oilers have announced the addition of Anton Lander to the Oklahoma City Barons. Teemu Hartikainen, sent down prior to the last two games by the Oilers, will be joined by solid center Lander where the two are likely to play alongside each other (Toni Rajala on the opposite wing, please).
Here’s the official mention on twitter:
— Neal (@tweetneal) April 28, 2013
(Subtle commentary is my own. Duh).
The opposition, the Charlotte Checkers, have added three key pieces to their already impressive lineup (Riley “Be Nasty” Nash included).
With their season concluding one night earlier, the parent Carolina Hurricanes reassigned forwards Nicolas Blanchard, Jared Staal and Tim Wallace to Charlotte on Sunday. Those three were the only players on the NHL roster eligible to take part in this season’s Calder Cup Playoffs.
Blanchard, 25, and Wallace, 28, immediately become two of the most-experienced players on Charlotte’s roster, having played 403 and 375 career AHL games, respectively. Wallace, who scored 13 points in his last 13 most recent AHL games (4g, 9a) has the most playoff experience of any Checkers skater, having suited up for 54 playoff games with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton between 2007 and 2011. That includes an appearance in the 2008 Calder Cup Final, which his Penguins lost to Chicago in six games.
Blanchard is next on that list with 36 games played, all with the Hurricanes’ top AHL affiliate over the last six seasons. He is the Checkers’ all-time penalty minutes leader with 328, including a team-high 124 this season.
Both Blanchard and Staal, a 22-year-old who has yet to suit up for a professional playoff game, are coming off their first career NHL recalls. Wallace has played a total of 101 career games with Pittsburgh, the New York Islanders, Tampa Bay and Carolina.
More than anything, the Checkers get two guys with some really good postseason experience, and subtle vet presence overall (yes, 25 can be a vet presence). Health is still a nagging issue for this team, but clearly this helps. Be aware, Oklahoma City Barons.
Game three is in Charlotte on Wednesday evening. Puck descends at 6pm CT. GO Barons.