ANAHEIM, Calif. — Patrick Brown knows that any time spent in the NHL is precious.
The 27-year-old forward is cherishing every moment after being recalled by the Golden Knights from the American Hockey League ahead of Sunday’s game against Anaheim.
“(I) just (want) to be the hardest-working guy out there,” Brown said prior to his debut. “Try and hunt the puck all over the ice and make it hard for their (defensemen) to break out. It’s a great place to be right now. I’m excited to show them what I can do.”
Brown has 19 points (six goals, 13 assists) in 54 games for the Chicago Wolves to go with 26 penalty minutes. He has played in 28 regular-season NHL games, all with the Carolina Hurricanes, and has two career points.
Last season, the 27-year-old also appeared in eight Stanley Cup playoff games for the Hurricanes and helped Charlotte (AHL) win the Calder Cup over Chicago.
Forward Nicolas Roy was injured with 2:49 remaining in the second period of Saturday’s 5-3 victory over Florida, and Brown was notified after the game he was making his Knights debut.
Coach Pete DeBoer said Roy (undisclosed) is day to day.
“We were in the middle of three (games) in four (days) and just having a rest day and got a nice call from (general manager) Kelly (McCrimmon),” Brown said.
The Knights don’t play again until Wednesday, and Brown is one of a few players likely to be reassigned to the AHL before Monday’s deadline so he is eligible for the Wolves in the postseason.
Stick degrees of separation
The Knights have a small connection to the wonderful story of emergency backup goaltender David Ayres, who became the oldest player to win his NHL debut when the 42-year-old stepped in for Carolina against Toronto on Saturday.
Ayres used one of Chicago Wolves goalie Garret Sparks’ old sticks in his eight-save performance, and the lumber is headed to the Hockey Hall of Fame.
Beautifully written Michael. I can confirm that the stick David Ayres used during the game is going to the @HockeyHallFame. HHOF officials were onsite last night; David was thrilled to donate it. Should be on display soon! @35Ayres @Canes @MichaelFarber3 https://t.co/UCn20d28dg
— Kelly Masse (@KellyHockeyHall) February 23, 2020
Sparks played for the Toronto Marlies of the American Hockey League for six seasons before being traded to the Knights in the offseason. Ayres formerly worked and drove the Zamboni at Coca-Cola Coliseum, the home of the Maple Leafs’ minor league affiliate.
Eakin debuts for Jets
Center Cody Eakin played his first game Sunday since being traded to Winnipeg and admitted he was disappointed to leave the Knights.
— Cody Eakin (@CodyEakin50) February 22, 2020
Eakin told reporters prior to the Jets’ loss to Buffalo he knew a deal was possible, with the Knights pushed against the salary cap and the emergence of Chandler Stephenson and Nicolas Roy at center. Eakin has a $3.85 million cap hit and will be an unrestricted free agent.
“I don’t think you really see it coming, but somewhat prepared, I guess,” said Eakin, a native of Winnipeg, Manitoba. “You kind of think how the team and the cap (and) all that looks. Unfortunate to start, but excited about it now.”