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Zykov, Foegele helping to boost Hurricanes' AHL affiliate

Group of forwards having strong season for Charlotte

by Patrick Williams / Correspondent

With the midpoint of its season approaching, Charlotte of the American Hockey League is hoping to make a move in the standings.

Despite a 1-4-0-0 road trip that ended with two losses to Hershey on Saturday and Sunday, the Carolina Hurricanes affiliate is in fourth place (21-14-0-1) in the Atlantic Division and four points out of first. Charlotte, which hosts Eastern Conference-leading Toronto on Friday and Saturday, entered Tuesday second in the AHL in scoring at 3.61 goals per game.

Its talented group of forwards has been a major strength. Here is a look at some of them:


Valentin Zykov

Selected by the Los Angeles Kings in the second round (No. 37) of the 2013 NHL Draft, the 22-year-old has blossomed this season. Zykov (6 feet, 209 pounds) led the AHL entering Tuesday with 19 goals in 31 games, and entered Tuesday tied with rookie Nick Merkley of Tucson for the league lead with 11 power-play goals.

Carolina acquired Zykov and a fifth-round pick in the 2016 NHL Draft from Los Angeles for forward Kris Versteeg on Feb. 28, 2016. He will represent Charlotte at the AHL All-Star Classic in Utica, New York, on Jan. 28-29.

Video: NYR@CAR: Zykov scores in his NHL debut


Warren Foegele

The 21-year-old rookie entered Tuesday tied for fifth in AHL with 17 goals in 34 games. Picked in the third round (No. 67) of the 2014 NHL Draft by Carolina, Foegele (6-2, 190) has 10 assists and plays a well-rounded, two-way game.


Aleksi Saarela

The Hurricanes acquired Saarela (5-11, 198), from the New York Rangers for forward Eric Staal on Feb. 28, 2016. The Rangers had chosen him in the third round (No. 89) of the 2015 NHL Draft.

Saarela, 21, joined Charlotte late last season and made an immediate impact with 10 points (six goals, four assists) in nine AHL games. In his first full AHL season, he has 13 goals in 33 games. He earned his first call-up to Carolina on Jan. 3 but has not played in an NHL game.


Janne Kuokkanen

The rookie (6-1,188) returned to the Charlotte lineup this past weekend after the 2018 IIHF World Junior Championship, where he played for Finland. Kuokkanen made the Carolina roster out of training camp and played four NHL games in October.

The 19-year-old has 14 points (three goals, 11 assists) in 20 AHL games. Carolina selected him in the second round (No. 43) in 2016.


Lucas Wallmark 

Wallmark (6-0, 176), who was assigned to Charlotte by Carolina on Monday, has scored 23 points (seven goals, 16 assists) in 20 AHL games this season. A fourth-round pick (No. 97) by Carolina in the 2014 NHL Draft, he continues to impress the Hurricanes and has played 10 games for them over the past two seasons, scoring his first NHL goal Dec. 30 at the St. Louis Blues.

The 22-year-old is in his fifth pro season; after three seasons with Lulea of the Swedish Hockey League, he moved to the AHL last season and scored 46 points (24 goals, 22 assists).

Video: CAR@STL: Hanifin sets up Wallmark's first NHL goal


Andrew Miller 

The leading scorer for Charlotte with 34 points (nine goals, 25 assists) in 36 games, Miller (5-10, 181) is a skilled 28-year-old playmaker.


Patrick Brown

The 25-year-old captain (6-1, 197) is capable defensively and has provided secondary scoring with 17 points (six goals, 11 assists) in 30 games.

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