Longtime Carolina Hurricanes forward Chad LaRose
has a new home, as he signed a one-year American Hockey League contract with the Charlotte Checkers on Tuesday.
LaRose, 32, did not play professional hockey in 2013-14 after logging eight seasons and 508 games with the Canes, who signed the undrafted Plymouth Whalers product in 2003.
“Chad’s looking to get back on the ice and get his career back on track,” Checkers head coach Jeff Daniels said. “Obviously the connection with Carolina and the history there, we just thought it would be a good fit to get him down in Charlotte.”
LaRose last skated in the AHL in 2005-06 with the Lowell Lock Monsters, posting 25 points (14g, 11a) in 23 games. A year prior, he was a 20-goal scorer at the AHL level, and he would go on to record two 19-goal seasons with the Canes.
“For us, he’ll be a top player. He’s a guy that has scored at the NHL level,” Daniels said. “The way he can lead by example, the way he works, his personality, the way he prepares … now he can be an example to the young kids coming up.
“The way we’re shaping up, we’re going to be a little younger this year than in years past. A player like Rosey can lead by example and show guys what it takes to get to the next level.”
The Checkers could also potentially lose forwards Zach Boychuk and Chris Terry, one of whom has led the team in scoring in each of the last four seasons, to full-time roster spots in Carolina. LaRose could help fill that void.
“You’ve got to have some guys who can hopefully replace that,” Daniels said. “He’ll get a chance to play and play a lot. I’ll use him in all situations.”
If nothing else, the Checkers have signed a player with a chip on his shoulder, someone who has the desire to prove that he can still play at the highest level.
“I think we’re getting a hungry player. We’ve got a guy who’s going to play with a purpose and show not only Carolina, but all of the NHL, that he’s still a young guy and still has a lot of hockey left in him,” Daniels said. “He’s going to need to prove that he still has it, and I’m sure it will take some time to get the timing in game situations back, but he’s a guy that competes. He’s hungry, and he wants to get back to the next level.”