Cullen, Tanabe and Walker placed on injured reserve
RALEIGH, NC—Jim Rutherford, President and General Manager of the National Hockey League’s Carolina Hurricanes, today announced that the team has recalled goaltender Michael Leighton and forwards Keith Aucoin and Brandon Nolan from the Albany River Rats of the American Hockey League, Carolina’s top minor-league affiliate. The players are being recalled as the Hurricanes have placed defenseman David Tanabe (concussion), and forwards Matt Cullen (illness) and Scott Walker (knee) on injured reserve.
This marks Leighton’s first recall to the NHL since joining the Hurricanes organization during the 2007 off-season. The 26-year-old netminder has played in 30 games for the River Rats this season, and currently ranks first in the AHL with five shutouts, tied for fourth with 13 wins, fourth with a 2.14 goals-against average and second with a .928 save percentage. Leighton (6’3”, 186 lbs.) is in his seventh professional season and has played in 47 NHL games with Chicago, Nashville and Philadelphia, recording a 10-23-10 record, a 3.03 goals-against average and three shutouts. The Petrolia, Ont., native was drafted by the Blackhawks in the fifth round, 165th overall, at the 1999 NHL Entry Draft, and acquired by the Hurricanes from Montreal on June 23, 2007, in exchange for a 2007 seventh-round draft pick.
The Hurricanes are recalling Aucoin, 29, for the second time this season. The Waltham, MA, native played in six games with Carolina following his first recall of the season on Oct. 21, and recorded two assists while averaging 6:33 of ice time per game. On Dec. 13, the AHL named Aucoin (5’9”, 187 lbs.) captain for the PlanetUSA team at the 2008 AHL All-Star Classic, scheduled for Jan. 28 in Binghamton, NY. Aucoin leads the River Rats with 25 assists and 32 points while playing in 29 of the team’s 37 games this season. Aucoin has earned four assists in 21 career NHL games, all with Carolina, since signing with the Hurricanes as a free agent on Aug. 4, 2005.
Nolan, 24, returns to the Hurricanes after being reassigned to Albany on Dec. 28 following his first career NHL recall. The St. Catharine’s, Ont., native made his NHL debut in Carolina’s 4-1 win at Tampa Bay on Dec. 22, and earned his first NHL point with an assist in that game. He is tied for the River Rats team lead with 13 goals this season, and ranks second on the team with 26 points while playing in 31 of the team’s 37 games. Nolan (6’1”, 192 lbs.) is in his fifth professional season and has played in 185 AHL regular-season games with Manitoba, Bridgeport and Albany, recording 36 goals, 52 assists (88 points) and 162 penalty minutes.