The Carolina Hurricanes finally have starting goaltender Frederik Andersen back in the fold. Andersen missed 29 games due to injury before Thursday, as the Hurricanes are getting healthier.

The return of Andersen has led the team to make a rather surprising decision, however. Promising goaltender Pyotr Kochetkov will be assigned to the AHL, as reported by NHL insider Kevin Weekes.

The 23-year-old Kochetkov took advantage of his opportunities this season. In 18 starts, he owns a record of 10-4-5 with a 2.30 goals against average and a .913 save percentage.

Kotchetkov, along with some offseason additions, are a big reason the Hurricanes find themselves in a great position halfway through the season. Carolina holds first place in the Metropolitan Division with a 27-9-8 record.

However, the 23-year-old has struggled a bit recently. The Hurricanes netminder has allowed at least three goals in each of his last four starts. This includes a 4-3 shootout loss to the Vancouver Canucks on Sunday.

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Andersen, meanwhile, returned against the Columbus Blue Jackets on Thursday. He made 21 saves in a 6-2 victory in that game before following it up with a 34-save performance in a 2-1 win against the Pittsburgh Penguins on Saturday.

“I’ll take the two wins for sure,” Andersen said after the win Saturday. “You’ve got to keep building on just feeling good. Anyone who has been out longer periods of time will tell you they miss everything about playing and being part of the group, so it feels good to be back.”

Despite Kochetkov’s struggles, it comes as a surprise to see him demoted. The 23-year-old has shown a lot of potential at the AHL level, and figures to be a more reliable option than veteran Antti Raanta.

However, the Hurricanes have deemed the increased playing time in the AHL to be more beneficial at this point. Only time will tell if they are correct in that assessment.