The Carolina Hurricanes traded away Alex Nedeljkovic yesterday, meaning they had no NHL goaltenders left under contract for the upcoming season. They do however have the exclusive negotiating rights to three veteran netminders and it looks like two of them could be in Carolina next season. Pierre LeBrun of The Athletic reports that the Hurricanes are in talks with Jonathan Bernier and Petr Mrazek, hoping to sign both.
Bernier, 32, was part of the return from Detroit yesterday and could very well represent an upgrade over the inexperienced Nedeljkovic. A veteran of nearly 400 regular season games, he posted a .914 save percentage in 24 appearances with Detroit last season, keeping his goals against average below 3.00 even behind one of the worst teams in the league. While those numbers certainly don’t hold up to the performance that Nedeljkovic put up in his short stint as the Carolina starter, Bernier has been rather consistent throughout his long career, never posting a save percentage under .904 in a full season.
Mrazek, on the other hand, has been a little less consistent over his 277-game career, though was excellent when healthy this year. In 12 appearances with the Hurricanes during the regular season, he posted an outstanding .923 save percentage and three shutouts.
The team did decide to go with Nedeljkovic over Mrazek in the playoffs though, which means bringing him back will not help the questions Carolina fans have been screaming since the trade was announced. At the very least, this will be a tandem with plenty of NHL experience, even if it does seem a bit underwhelming.
James Reimer, meanwhile, the other free agent goaltender in Carolina, is expected to go to market according to LeBrun. The 33-year-old had a .906 in 22 games with the Hurricanes this year, and has been a consistent performer–albeit usually in a tandem role–throughout his career.