When the Eastern Conference Final resumes on Tuesday, the Carolina Hurricanes may have a different starting goaltender. NHL.com’s Shawn P. Roarke relays that Hurricanes head coach Rod Brind’Amour would not commit to starting Petr Mrazek again in Game Three. The Boston Bruins have scored 11 goals in the first two games of the series, all but one of which were attributed to Mrazek. He had only allowed allowed on goal in his previous two games and only 20 total in nine playoff games this season before arriving in Boston. Clearly, the Bruins have him figured out right now and it may be time for Carolina to give Curtis McElhinney a shot. Brind’amour approached Mrazek about coming out of Game Two, but the 27-year-old keeper wanted to stick it out, a right that the coach said he had earned. However, as Mrazek’s play did not improve as the game went on, he has likely lost that right to determine when he plays. McElhinney, who turns 36 next week, may have tread on the tired but is well-rested after making only three appearances so far in the playoffs. In those game, he has been stellar as well, posting a .947 save percentage and 1.56 GAA. If the Hurricanes are to win four of their next five games to come back and beat Boston, they’ll need some magic and Mrazek appears to be all out. Perhaps McElhinney has been saving some up for the first postseason run of his 12-year NHL career.
- Chicago Blackhawks prospect Fredrik Olofsson is heading home to Sweden. Olofsson, who made his pro debut last month with the AHL’s Rockford Ice Hogs, has signed with MODO of the Swedish Hockey League, according to Swedish news source Kvalls Posten. This could be the end of Olofsson’s days in North American hockey, as he wraps up a solid NCAA career only to immediately bolt. Olofsson was a fourth-round pick by the Blackhawks in 2014 and played four seasons at the University of Nebraska – Omaha, leading the team in scoring in his senior season. The 22-year-old forward played in a pair of games with the Blackhawks’ affiliate, but has not been offered an NHL contract. He will thus become a free agent in August when his NHL rights expire, but doesn’t seem optimistic about his market. Interestingly, while Olofsson has represented Sweden on the international stage, he has never played competitively in his home country. Olofsson played his midget, junior, and college hockey in the U.S., but is now finally ready to return home.
- The Florida Panthers are expected to be major players on the free agent market this summer, with much of the speculated centered on their interest in top free agents Artemi Panarin and Sergei Bobrovsky. While goaltending was certainly an issue this season and Bobrovksy would help immensely, defense was also a major concern and wouldn’t be addressed by grabbing only those two. Unsurprisingly, GM Dale Tallon tells The Athletic’s George Richards that a top-four right-handed defenseman is also on his wish list this summer. However, cap space is going to be tight for the Panthers and top righties like Erik Karlsson and Tyler Myers are likely out of their price range. Richards lists Anton Stralman and Adam McQuaid as right-side free agent options, while Ben Lovejoy, Dan Girardi, and Roman Polak would be other possibilities. If those aren’t impressive enough to be considered a top-four solution, Florida could be an intriguing trade partner for the Winnipeg Jets or Ottawa Senators for Jacob Trouba and Cody Ceci respectively.