ESTERO, Fla. — Florida Everblades head coach Brad Ralph announced on Tuesday that the team has added a pair of forwards to the roster ahead of this week’s South Division showdown with the South Carolina Stingrays.
Levko Koper, who played for the Everblades in the 2016-17 season, has signed a contract with Florida, while the NHL's Nashville Predators have assigned Lukas Craggs to the Everblades from the American Hockey League's Milwaukee Admirals.
A native of Edmonton, Alberta, Koper is heading into his fourth season as a pro. He spent each of the last two seasons in Europe, suiting up in the DEL, Slovakia, and EBEL from 2017-19. Koper, 29, totaled 12 points (4g-8a) in 45 games with the Straubing Tigers (DEL) in 2017-18, eight points (4g-4a) in 27 games with HC Innsbruck (EBEL) in 2018-19, and eight points (3g-5a) in 20 games with HC Banska Bystrica (Slovakia) in 2018-19.
Koper spent his first full professional season in the Carolina Hurricanes farm system in 2016-17, sharing the campaign between the Everblades and the Charlotte Checkers. He started the season with Florida and tabbed five goals and eight points in only 12 games. Koper then received a call-up to Charlotte in mid-November of that season and finished the year with the Checkers, posting 18 points (7g-11a) in 56 tilts.
Prior to turning pro, Koper played five seasons for the University of Alberta from 2011-16, finishing with nearly a point-per-game average in his collegiate career. He registered a career-best 31-point season (14g-17a) in his final year with the Golden Bears in 2015-16 and completed his career with 51 goals and 139 points in 140 contests. Koper also played five seasons in the Western Hockey League with the Spokane Chiefs from 2006-11, compiling 226 points (97g-129a) in 330 games. He won the Memorial Cup with Spokane in 2007-08.
Craggs, who has played in four games for Milwaukee this season, turned professional this past spring, signing a two-year entry-level contract with the Nashville Predators after finishing a three-year career at Bowling Green State University. The Elmhurst, Illinois, native had 54 points (30g-24a) with BGSU from 2016-2019, which included a career-high 25-point campaign (13g-12a) as a junior in 2018-19. He also led the nation with 118 penalty minutes in 2018-19.
Before his college career, Craggs played two seasons for the Youngstown Phantoms from 2014-16. He served as an alternate captain for the Phantoms in the 2015-16 season and totaled 12 goals and 23 points. The 6-foot, 190-pound left winger netted 37 points (17g-20a) in his USHL career.
Florida will face arguably its biggest challenge of the season this weekend when it hosts the South Carolina Stingrays on Friday and Saturday. As of Tuesday, the two teams were tied for first in the South Division with 22 points. Faceoff is set for 7:30 p.m. on Friday and 7 p.m. on Saturday.
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