The Carolina Hurricanes went out in the spring of 2017 and brought in who they believed could be the answer in goal. After a trade with the Chicago Blackhawks, the Hurricanes signed Scott Darling to a four-year $16.6MM contract to be the team’s starting netminder. Unfortunately, Darling never really found his game in Carolina and ended up with a disastrous .888 save percentage on the season. Cam Ward, the tenured backup, didn’t perform much better with an .906 save percentage, leading many to question how the team would go about fixing the problem this summer.
With Ward scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent in July, new GM Don Waddell has made it clear that he’s in the market for an upgrade in net. On Sirius XM NHL Network today, Waddell explained the Hurricanes’ position:
We know we have to make change there, we know we can’t bring the same two guys back. Scott Darling came to camp last year probably not in the best condition, and we never got him to where he was in Chicago…
…we feel there is still something there, we’re going to do everything we can to put Scott in the best situation to have success. In saying that we are in the market, and I’ve made it very clear to all the GMs I’ve talked to that we are going to try to address our goaltending. If there is a guy that makes sense for us out there, we certainly are going to look to make that move.
It’s not clear who the Hurricanes would be targeting, but Waddell was open that changes will be made. When asked about Jeff Skinner and Justin Faulk—two players who have drawn plenty of interest and speculation—potentially being on the block, Waddell noted that he’s in discussions about not only those players but several others.
While nothing seems imminent in Carolina, there is a big offseason brewing as they try to reinvigorate the franchise. After winning the second-overall pick in the draft lottery the team will likely be able to push Andrei Svechnikov (or perhaps one of the other top players) directly into their lineup and try to reestablish themselves as a contender in the Metropolitan Division. To do that they need goaltending, but they certainly haven’t overlooked that fact.