The Carolina Hurricanes recalled the 24-year-old forward, whose 39 points in 41 games this season are tied for seventh in the AHL, just prior to their game against the Columbus Blue Jackets on Monday evening. He is not expected to play that game but will travel with the team to Montreal as it finishes a back-to-back set on Tuesday.
The move marks Palushaj’s second recall of the season, with the first resulting in his Carolina debut against Nashville on Jan. 5. St. Louis’ second-round pick (44th overall) in 2007, he has played 67 total NHL games with Montreal, Colorado and Carolina, scoring a total of 14 points (3g, 11a).
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Should no injured player be ready to return (forwards Nicolas Blanchard and Jared Staal took Monday’s practice in yellow non-contact jerseys), other options for the Checkers’ coaches would be to play one forward short and use all seven of their healthy defensemen. They could also bring in another player from the ECHL level.
In his first year with the organization, Palushaj has been the Checkers’ most consistent offensive producer of late with 25 points (9g, 16a) in his last 18 games. During that time, he has scored at least one point in all but two of those outings and has posted eight multi-point games. He currently holds a seven-game point streak (6g, 5a), putting him one short of his career high set with Hamilton to begin the 2010-11 season and two short of the Checkers’ season high, a nine-game run by Chris Terry.
In addition to leading the Checkers in points and assists (24), Palushaj also ranks first on the Checkers in game-winning goals (4), is tied for first in power-play assists (12), and is second in goals (15) and shots on goal (110).