Key players will be returning to the Albany River Rats' line-up for the postseason and many are coming off excellent stints in the NHL.
The Carolina Hurricanes yesterday reassigned six skaters to the River Rats, including forwards Jerome Samson, Zach Boychuk and Drayson Bowman, and defensemen Jamie McBain, Bryan Rodney and Casey Borer, while D-man Jay Harrison is set to be reassigned today should he clear waivers.
Injuries and call-ups reduced Albany to 19 players for the final two games of the regular season, so the reinforcements will be welcomed as the team prepares to take on the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins in the first round of the Calder Cup playoffs, scheduled to begin Wednesday night at the Times Union Center.
(Photo by JBK-LTD)
Rats' top-scorer Jerome Samson, who was recalled to Carolina for the third time on Friday, returns to town after notching his second career NHL assist with the Canes on Saturday.
In seven contests with Carolina this season, Samson earned two assists and was credited with 17 shots on goal.
Samson led the Rats in scoring during the regular season with a career-high 78 points (37 G, 41 A) in 74 games. He ranked fourth in the league in points, second in goals, first in shots, and finished the season with a plus-8 rating.
Rookie offensive defenseman Jamie McBain, who was recalled to Carolina for the first time on March 16, returns to Albany having performed remarkably well during his first 14 contests in the NHL.
McBain scored three goals, tallied seven assists, earned a plus-6 rating and averaged well over 20 minutes of ice-time during his first run with the big club.
McBain led all Rats' defenseman in scoring this season with 40 points (7 G, 33 A) in 68 games and tied for first among Albany D-men with a plus-11 rating. His presence on the blue line and ability to make smart decisions has been a key weapon of the Rats' offense and power play.
First-year offensive sensation Zach Boychuk comes back to Albany for the first time since being recalled to the Hurricanes in early March.
Boychuk totaled nine points (3 G, 6 A) and put up a plus-1 rating in 31 games spanned over six separate call-ups with the Canes this year.
Boychuk ranked second among Albany scorers at the time of his last recall with 36 points (15 G, 21 A) in 52 contests, including eight points in his last six AHL games.
Defenseman Casey Borer, winner of the AHL's Fred T. Hunt award, was recalled to the Hurricanes last Thursday for the first time this season.
Borer, who returned to action in January after a lengthy recovery from a broken neck sustained in last year's bus crash, played two games with Carolina. He was responsible for blocking two shots against Montreal on April 8th.
Borer notched one goal and eight assists in 30 contests with the River Rats this season, including a goal and four assists in his last 10 games.
(Photo by Jennifer Bock)
Rookie sniper Drayson Bowman, who was recalled to the Canes for the second time on March 24, scored his first two NHL goals against Tampa Bay last Tuesday.
Bowman played in a total of nine NHL games this season, eight during his most recent recall, and registered nine shots in his final two matches.
Bowman has 32 points (17 G, 15 A) in 56 games this season with Albany.
Puck-moving blueliner Bryan Rodney, who was recalled to Carolina for the fifth time this season on March 19, picked up 11 points (1 g, 10 A) in 22 games with the Canes this year.
Rodney tallied an assist in each of his final three NHL tilts.
Rodney represented the River Rats at the 2010 AHL All-Star Classic and ranks second among Albany defenders with 35 points (7 G, 28 A) in 54 games.
Veteran defenseman Jay Harrison headed to Carolina for the third time this season back on March 3 after earning 14 points and a plus-8 rating in 32 games with the Rats.
Harrison ended up playing more regular season games with Carolina than he did with Albany, scoring six points (1 G, 5 A) in 38 NHL contests.
Unlike the River Rats, Albany's first-round opponent, the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins, will not be getting a major influx of players from the NHL, as their parent club is heading to the postseason.
The Penguins have only one clear-day player presently recalled to the NHL, whereas the River Rats, until yesterday, had seven.
With the regular season officially over, the AHL yesterday released schedules for the first-round of the post-season. Albany's games are listed below.
Game 1: Wednesday, April 14, 7:00 (home)
Game 2: Friday, April 16, 7:00 (home)
Game 3: Sunday, April 18, 3:05 (away)
Game 4: Monday, April 19, 7:05 (away)
Game 5: Wednesday, April 21, 7:00 (home)*
Game 6: Saturday, April 24, 7:05 (away)*
Game 7: Sunday, April 25, 5:00 (home)*