If you were a fan of the Hartford Whalers in the mid-nineties, you may remember the team acquiring a young first-round goaltender off waivers from the Calgary Flames named Jason Muzzatti. Now nearly 25 years later Muzzatti is on his way back to the franchise, this time as the goaltending coach for the Carolina Hurricanes. Muzzatti has been hired to join Rod Brind’Amour’s staff for the upcoming season after Mike Bales resigned and went to the Buffalo Sabres earlier this offseason.
Muzzatti certainly isn’t a new face for Brind’Amour to get used to. Not only did the pair face off in the NHL, but they were teammates at Michigan State University during the 1988-89 season. Michigan State is where Muzzatti has been coaching the last several seasons, but will now get his first chance to work with an NHL franchise in this capacity. GM Don Waddell explained the hiring:
Jason brings a wealth of experience as a former NHL goaltender and a coach at multiple levels. We believe he will fit in well in our coaches’ office and form strong relationships with our netminders.
Goaltending was an unexpected bright spot for the Hurricanes last season when the tandem of Petr Mrazek and Curtis McElhinney helped them all the way to the Eastern Conference Final, but it will be tested once again with a new group. James Reimer and Anton Forsberg were both brought in to compete to be Mrazek’s backup, while young Alex Nedeljkovic is still waiting for his opportunity at the NHL level. Muzzatti will need to get the most out of each player if the Hurricanes (and Charlotte Checkers for that matter) are to experience the same kind of success in 2019-20.