As we noted in our previous looks at rookies whose contracts were eligible to slide this year, the Carolina Hurricanes have the opportunity to send 19-year old Janne Kuokkanen to the AHL instead of returning him to the London Knights. Kuokkanen played last season for the Knights, but was actually drafted out of the Finnish Liiga and thus was eligible for AHL play. That’s exactly what they’ve done according to Chip Alexander of the Raleigh News & Observer, putting a halt on his game counter for this year.
Kuokkanen has played just four games for the Hurricanes this season, fewer than the 10 needed for the first year of his entry-level contract to kick in. Minor league games do not count towards this threshold. Though he’s shown an ability to perform at the NHL level, Kuokkanen was given limited opportunities in the Hurricanes’ lineup, often sitting in the press box while Josh Jooris entered the lineup.
While this ends this short chapter of his NHL career, it by no means guarantees Kuokkanen will be in the AHL long. An injury, or some inconsistent play from one of the veterans could easily lead to another callup. For now though, the teenager will have to find his way along the AHL landscape.