Checkers sign seven, bring back Carrick

Photo: Jacob Kupferman

The Charlotte Checkers have signed defenseman Trevor Carrick and forward Liam Arnsby to two-year American Hockey League contracts, as well as forwards John Leonard, Jay O’Brien and Nicholas Zabaneh and goaltenders Ken Appleby and Evan Cormier to one-year AHL deals.

Carrick returns to the Checkers, where he spent five seasons after beginning his pro career in 2014. His 347 regular-season games are second-most in franchise history, and he was a member of the team’s 2019 Calder Cup championship squad.

Carrick played all 72 games for San Diego in 2023-24, notching nine goals and 35 assists. He has skated in 627 career AHL games with Charlotte, San Jose, San Diego and Syracuse, recording 85 goals and 251 assists for 336 points, and was an AHL All-Star in 2016 and 2019.

Originally a fourth-round pick by Carolina in the 2012 NHL Draft, Carrick has played seven games in the NHL with the Hurricanes and San Jose Sharks.

Leonard played 63 games with the AHL’s Tucson Roadrunners in 2023-24, registering 12 goals and 20 assists. He added one goal in six NHL games with Arizona.

The four-year pro out of UMass-Amherst has totaled 47 goals and 63 assists for 110 points in 177 career AHL games with Tucson, Milwaukee and San Jose. He was taken by the San Jose Sharks in the sixth round of the 2018 NHL Draft and has six goals and 11 assists in 70 career NHL outings with the Sharks, Predators and Coyotes.

Appleby made 22 appearances with the AHL’s Bridgeport Islanders in 2023-24, going 10-10-1 with a 2.85 goals-against average, a .901 save percentage and one shutout. He also made two starts for Worcester in the ECHL, and saw 20 minutes of action with the NHL’s New York Islanders.

A nine-year pro, Appleby has played 119 games in the AHL with Bridgeport, Manitoba and Albany/Binghamton, posting a record of 47-56-11 with a 2.83 GAA, a .902 save percentage and seven shutouts. He has appeared in four career NHL games with the Islanders and Devils.

Cormier, who spent most of the 2023-24 season with Florida (ECHL), was also 2-2-2 with a 3.64 GAA and an .868 save percentage in six appearances with Charlotte. He has played 59 AHL games over six seasons, going 21-27-9 with a 3.18 GAA, an .894 save percentage and two shutouts.

Arnsby enters his rookie season after playing four years in the Ontario Hockey League with North Bay. He was a seventh-round choice by Florida in the 2022 NHL Draft.

O’Brien signed last year with the Toronto Marlies but missed the 2023-24 season due to injury. He previously played four seasons collegiately at Providence College (2018-19) and Boston University (2020-23), and spent the 2019-20 season in the junior “A” British Columbia Hockey League with Penticton.

O’Brien was a first-round draft pick (19th overall) by Philadelphia in 2018.

Zabaneh made his pro debut with the AHL’s Providence Bruins in 2023-24, scoring a goal in his lone appearance after completing his four-year collegiate career at Boston University. He tallied eight goals and eight assists in 40 games in helping the Terriers reach the Frozen Four.