ESTERO, Fla. — Florida Everblades forward Joe Cox has been returned from his loan to the American Hockey League’s Laval Rocket, while defenseman Derek Sheppard has been recalled to the AHL’s Charlotte Checkers, Everblades head coach Brad Ralph announced Wednesday.
Cox, who is Florida’s leading scorer, is coming back from his first career AHL call-up, while Sheppard is being recalled to Charlotte for the third time this season.
Cox, 25, has been one of the go-to offensive players this year and leads the Everblades in points (61), goals (27) and assists (34). The Chelsea, Michigan, native is tied for the team lead with 16 multi-point games and leads the ECHL with a plus-minus rating of +46. He notched four points (2g-2a) in nine games with Laval and scored his first career AHL goal on March 9 against the Utica Comets.
As a rookie in 2017-18, Cox led all ‘Blades first-year players with 54 points (22g-32a) and played in all but two of Florida’s 72 regular season games. He earned the team’s Rookie of the Year award and registered 13 multi-point games.
Prior to turning professional, Cox played in 143 career games with Michigan State University over four seasons from 2013-17. He notched 69 points in his collegiate career on 28 goals and 41 assists.
Sheppard, 24, was named to the ECHL’s All-Rookie Team earlier in the day on Wednesday and has been a key cog of the ‘Blades defensive corps this season. He is tied for the league lead among rookie defensemen with 14 goals and is third among rookie defensemen with 40 points (14g-26a). His 40-point season is the highest scoring season by a rookie defenseman in franchise history.
Before joining the Everblades, Sheppard played four seasons with York University (USports) from 2014-18. The Ajax, Ontario, native scored at least 19 points in each season, including a career-high 32 points (12g-20a) as a junior in 2016-17, and finished with 100 points (33g-67a) in 111 career games for the Lions.
Florida starts a two-game week, the final week of the regular season, with a Friday night matchup against the Orlando Solar Bears. Game time is 7:30 p.m. at Hertz Arena.
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The Everblades are the proud ECHL affiliate of the NHL’s Carolina Hurricanes