Local Player Makes NHL Debut
This is the time of year when many NHL teams add new players to their lineup after they complete their college hockey careers. The Buffalo Sabres signed C J Smith last week after his team was eliminated from the college hockey playoffs. He's played in the last two games for the Sabres. The Sabres also added Alex Nylander to the lineup for Monday's game against the Toronto Maple Leafs after he spent most of his first pro season in the AHL with the Rochester Americans.
Last night a Williamsville native played his first game in the NHL for the Carolina Hurricanes in a game against the Wild in Minnesota. Andrew Poturalski played just over 12 minutes and was credited with a shot, a blocked shot and a hit in Carolina's 5-3 loss.
It's the second time I've actually known the family of an NHL player. I know Andrew's father from our high school football officiating association. Joe Poturalski and his wife were flown to Minnesota to see their son play his first NHL game.
Andrew went to Nichols School and the University of New Hampshire where he was a finalist for the Hobey Baker Award. He played for the Buffalo Junior Sabres, the Cedar Rapids Roughriders of the U-S Hockey League and for the last two seasons he's been playing pro hockey with the American Hockey League Charlotte Checkers where this season he led the team with 16 goals and 32 assists for 48 points in 69 games.
Finally he got the call up to play in the NHL, a goal he set for himself when he was a kid. He's a Buffalo Bills fan, but no word on whether he's still a Buffalo Sabres fan. I'm sure he won't be the next time the Hurricanes meet the Sabres.
Congratulations Andrew Poturalski on your first game in the NHL.