With Alex Nedeljkovic thriving in recent weeks and Petr Mrazek set to return soon from his thumb injury, Carolina is nearing a goalie logjam on their hands with James Reimer also in the mix. Speaking with Sara Civian of The Athletic (subscription link), GM Don Waddell indicated that they’re comfortable carrying three goalies on the active roster for the rest of the season but also suggested that he’d be open to moving one by April 12th as well:
If we’re gonna do something at the trade deadline, maybe one of the chips is one of our goalies. I can’t say which one. It depends.
Nedeljkovic has been on quite the run in March, posting a .939 SV% in seven starts and has once again become waiver-eligible in the process. While he cleared back in January, it’s safe to say that he won’t pass through unclaimed if they were to try it again, especially with the frequency that goaltenders have been getting claimed since the start of the regular season.
As for Reimer, he is having a decent season with a 2.68 GAA and a .909 SV% in 17 appearances, numbers that are right around his career averages. He isn’t a starting goalie at this stage of his career but he’d represent an upgrade for several teams at the backup position.
It would be difficult to envision Mrazek being moved at this point. He has been limited to just four games this season due to the thumb injury and went into the year as their presumptive starter (or 1A to Reimer’s 1B, at least). While Nedeljkovic is on a nice run right now, it probably hasn’t been enough to make their most proven goaltender expendable at this point.
It’s worth noting that Carolina has a bit of cap flexibility with the ability to add more than $6MM in full-season salary, per CapFriendly. While none of their goalies makes much (Reimer leads the way at $3.4MM, Mrazek is at $3.15MM, and Nedeljkovic is at just under $738K), the Hurricanes certainly aren’t in a situation where the cap is going to dictate what happens; they can easily afford to carry all three the rest of the way. Both Reimer and Mrazek are pending unrestricted free agents as well.
As for what Waddell would like to add, be it with one of his goalies or something else? He told Civian that a right-shot defender would be ideal as they only have two on the roster in Dougie Hamilton and Brett Pesce so adding another one to balance out their third pairing would make some sense. Depth defenders are pieces that often move around this time but it shouldn’t take one of their goaltenders to move one unless they’re setting their sights a bit higher. We’ll see what direction Waddell ultimately goes in the coming weeks.