With a pair of preseason games remaining against their cross-state rivals, the Florida Panthers have recalled Zac Dalpe from the minor leagues. The team plays the Tampa Bay Lightning at home tonight and then on the road on Saturday afternoon, with the regular season just around the corner.
Dalpe, 32, played just a single NHL game for the team last season but was an awesome (if hilarious) contributor in the minor leagues. The veteran forward had 30 goals in 68 games but managed to register just nine assists. That was the opposite stat line of prospect Aleksi Heponiemi, who also had 39 points for the minor Charlotte Checkers.
Bouncing back and forth between the AHL and NHL is nothing new for Dalpe, who has 154 appearances at the highest level over a 12-year career. He has 28 points in those games and likely won’t be playing a regular role for the Panthers this season, even if they suffer several injuries. Instead, he is the kind of player who can jump into a game and quickly understand the team’s system, while posing no risk of claim on waivers when he needs to go back down. Checkers fans will have a much better chance of seeing him, as he continues to serve as the team’s captain this season.