A look at the rosters for Monday night’s AHL All-Star Classic shows how well things have been going for the Carolina Hurricanes’ affiliate, the Charlotte Checkers, so far this season. Two players from the team, goaltender Justin Peters and defenseman Michal Jordan, will not only represent their team at the event, but have been named to the starting lineup as well.
The Checkers find themselves second in the South Division, behind the suddenly hot Texas Stars (Dallas Stars). They have won 26 games and got off to a hot start this season thanks to the goaltending tandem of Peters and Dan Ellis. The Checkers’ 141 goals scored leads the league, yet no single player ranks among the top 20 in league scoring, a testament to a balanced offense. Peters has the league’s 13th best goal against average at the break, and only two goaltenders (Dustin Tokarski of the Syracuse Crunch and Niklas Svedberg of the Providence Bruins) have won more games.
His five shutouts are second only to the Springfield Falcons’ Curtis McElhinney, who has six. Peters has seen action in Carolina in each of the past three seasons, and were it not for Ellis’ arrival, would have been a candidate to back up Cam Ward. He could still see an NHL call-up this season if there is any injury to Ward or Ellis.
Jordan is an offensive-minded defenseman who has five goals and 14 points. His plus-11 rating is second best on the time and shows his value to the club when he is on the ice. He was a fourth-round pick of the Hurricanes in 2008, and looks to be on pace to shatter his 2011-12 mark of 22 points, which was a career high. He doesn’t take many penalties and has shown drastic improvement from last season’s -15 rating. With the shortened season leading to more injuries so far, maybe this is the year he finally gets a chance to play in Carolina.