It’s been a long time coming, but the Checkers’ leading goal scorer is finally getting his due.
The Carolina Hurricanes recalled forward Jerome Samson for the first time this season on this morning on an emergency basis for Chad LaRose. Samson will suit up for tonight’s home game against the Philadelphia Flyers.
Samson, 24, ranks tied for 11th in the AHL with 15 goals, eight of which have come on the power play. As is typical for him, he also leads the league in shots on goal with 160 in 37 games and was recently named to the AHL All-Star Classic for the second consecutive season.
As an undrafted forward playing his fifth professional campaign, Samson is accustomed to seeing teammates with higher draft pedigrees, such as Drayson Bowman, Zach Boychuk and Zac Dalpe, recalled ahead of him. However, his latest run of form, including goals in five of his last nine games, was seemingly enough to earn him the call.
That being said, Samson may not be counted upon for his offense at the next level. In 30 career NHL games, including a 23-game run to close last season, Samson played primarily on the Hurricanes’ fourth line, using his physical play along the boards to win battles and sustain the team’s forecheck. He joins another of the Checkers’ best in that regard, Brett Sutter, on what could potentially be an effective checking unit up top.
Update: Samson will start on a line with Jussi Jokinen and Alexei Ponikarovsky, his most prime NHL scoring opportunity to date.
Samson will be sorely missed by the Checkers, who are struggling with injuries ahead of a crucial four-game home stand that begins Wednesday against old playoff rival Hershey, now the Eastern Conference’s best team. While recent arrivals Bowman, Dalpe and Derek Joslin have helped fill some holes, the team could still be without Chris Durno, Riley Nash and Justin Shugg against Hershey.
“A couple of those guys might skate (Tuesday), but we’re really just going to have to wait and see,” said coach Jeff Daniels. “There’s no timetable for any of them right now.”
The prognosis is clearer for defenseman Mathieu Roy, who missed the team’s last two games, though the news isn’t good. Daniels said the team’s most experienced blueliner could be out through the month of January after tests on a nagging injury determined he would need time off. When Joslin heads back to the NHL, which will occur no later than Jan. 18 due to rules governing conditioning stints such as his, the Checkers will likely need an ECHL recall to bridge the gap.
As of now, they may also need one at forward if one of Durno, Nash and Shugg can’t make their return on Wednesday. Matt Beca, who played one game during a recent three-game recall but went back to the Florida Everblades on Monday, could be back faster than expected.