The Carolina Hurricanes have been holding onto three goaltenders since the start of the season. With injury issues that may have been a good idea, but that could change soon as head coach Rod Brind’Amour said that with Petr Mrazek not 100 percent and it not being “fair” to use Curtis McElhinney in both games of the back-to-back set, the team will start Scott Darling. News & Observer’s Luke DeCock writes that this start has a last-chance feel for Darling.
While many people felt that Darling would have a bounce-back season after a disastrous first year as the Hurricanes’ starter, that hasn’t happened. While splitting time with two other goalies, Darling has appeared in just six games with a 2.99 GAA and a .903 save percentage. While McElhinney and Mrazek likely would be claimed off waivers by some goaltending needy NHL team, it’s unlikely that Darling would after he signed a four-year, $16.6MM contract last summer, which no team would likely want to take on considering his struggles.
- In a mailbag piece, the Washington Post’s Isabelle Khurshudyan writes that while the Washington Capitals did extend Lars Eller during the middle of last season, don’t expect the same treatment for restricted free agents Jakub Vrana or Andre Burakovsky. While the team’s extension of Eller got them a cheaper price than they would have had to contend with had he hit the open market this summer, the team will likely want to wait and see how both players fare before handing out new contracts considering how tight they will be against the salary cap over the next few years. Vrana has been having a solid year up till now as he has six goals and 14 points in 23 games, which will likely have him headed for a career year. Burakovsky has just three goals and six points in 23 games as well.
- NHL.com’s Michael Smith writes that Carolina Hurricanes defenseman Haydn Fleury has been diagnosed with a concussion, according to Brind’Amour. The 22-year-old was forced out of the team’s game during the third period Friday against Florida after taking a hit from Troy Brouwer. He will join the NHL concussion protocol and remain sidelined until he’s medically cleared. Fleury has served as an extra defenseman for most of the year after playing in 67 games last year. However, the seventh-overall pick in 2014, has not been able to seize a regular rotation spot and has played in just eight games this year. He’s also played four games for the AHL’s Charlotte Checkers.
- Philly.com’s Sam Carchidi reports that Phildelphia Flyers general manager Ron Hextall gave an update on the team’s goaltending injury situation as Brian Elliott is expected to be at least a week away, maybe more, while Michal Neuvirth is closer to returning and is expected to skate with the team on Monday. Alex Lyon tweaked something in warmups before allowing four first-period goals on Wednesday. He is expected back soon. “That’s the way it goes, and if you look around the league, we’re not the only team it’s happening to,” Hextall said.