Sign in with your NHL account:
  • Submit
  • Or
  • Sign in with Google
Blues vs. Hurricanes
Tracking the Storm

The Goaltending Picture

Tuesday, 11.19.2013 / 6:00 PM / Tracking the Storm
By Michael Smith
X
Share with your Friends


The Goaltending Picture
The Carolina Hurricanes have three healthy goaltenders on the horizon. What to do then? There are a few options.
In the opening weeks of the 2013-14 regular season, the Carolina Hurricanes utilized their goaltending duo of Cam Ward and Anton Khudobin in rotation.

Michael Smith
Follow on Twitter

Five games into the season, Khudobin went down with an ankle injury, and Justin Peters was recalled from Charlotte. Five games after that, Ward went down with a groin injury, and Mike Murphy was recalled from Charlotte.

In three short weeks, the Canes’ goaltending picture was erased, the easel wiped clean.

Peters subsequently started 10 games in a row, going 4-1-1 in the latter part of that block of games and setting a career high for consecutive games started without a regulation loss (five).

The Canes’ goaltending picture was being redrawn. Peters, 27 and a veteran who has seen varying time with the Canes over five seasons, had proven his worth at the NHL level, turning away 166 of his last 175 shots faced (.949 save percentage).

“This is the best stretch of games that Justin has played in his pro career. He was a difference-maker. He got us some points in a bunch of those games,” Hurricanes President and General Manager Jim Rutherford said. “I can see his development improving all the time, even more so this year when you look at some of the things he does now. He’s had a very impressive run.”

Now Ward is once again healthy. Khudobin, who’s had a bit more of a prolonged rehab due to the nature of his injury, is practicing with the Canes again; it was a week before Ward returned to game action after rejoining the team at practice.

“First, Khudobin has to get healthy to be in the picture,” head coach Kirk Muller said. “So right now we’re just dealing with two healthy guys (Ward and Peters), and we’ll go with really who’s the guy that’s going to best give us the chance to win every night.”

Like Ward, who admitted he was pushing to get back into the lineup as early as last week, Khudobin will have to be 100 percent before he gets consideration to play in goal.

“We can’t use these games to get fine-tuned. It’s not exhibition anymore,” Muller said. “We’ve got to win hockey games. So if you step in, you have to step in with the mindset that you can win the hockey game.”

Assuming the Canes wind up with three healthy goaltenders in a week or so, then what?

Carolina has a few options.

The first would have been the most likely a few weeks ago -- reassigning Peters to Charlotte where he will continue to see regular starts and provide the Checkers with much-needed goaltending help.

But since he has played in 11 games, even on emergency recall, he will need to first clear waivers, as designated by the new collective bargaining agreement signed by the NHL and NHLPA earlier this year.

Considering the way Peters played in November and the number of teams currently experiencing goaltending issues due to injuries or otherwise, he might not clear, and the Canes would lose an NHL-capable goaltender who they have groomed since selecting him in the second round of the 2004 NHL Draft with no return.

Another option, then, is to explore trade options. Of course, this sacrifices depth in one position with the goal of bolstering another, but it could be a viable way to salvage a return in an otherwise difficult situation.

A third option is to keep three goaltenders on the roster, but that’s not exactly ideal considering it would limit available depth at forward and defense. Peters, however, is on a one-way contract, so he will earn the same amount of money whether he’s in the NHL or the AHL.

“Justin did a great job and showed that he can play at this level, and so can the other two,” Muller said. “We’ve got a nice, healthy problem right now.

“If we do get three guys, we will have to make a decision.”

A difficult one, at that.

“We’re going to have a tough decision to make. We don’t have to make it yet, but we’re aware of it,” Rutherford said. “We’ve got everybody weighing in on it, and we’ll make the decision at the time when we have to.”



SCHEDULE

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 TBL 50 31 15 4 163 132 66
2 MTL 47 31 13 3 127 108 65
3 NYI 48 32 15 1 157 135 65
4 DET 49 28 12 9 145 128 65
5 PIT 48 27 13 8 143 124 62
6 WSH 48 25 14 9 144 124 59
7 BOS 49 26 16 7 131 123 59
8 NYR 46 27 15 4 135 111 58
9 FLA 46 21 15 10 114 129 52
10 PHI 50 21 22 7 139 151 49
11 TOR 50 22 24 4 144 155 48
12 OTT 47 19 19 9 129 134 47
13 CBJ 47 21 23 3 119 148 45
14 NJD 48 18 22 8 109 135 44
15 CAR 47 17 25 5 102 122 39
16 BUF 49 14 32 3 92 174 31

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
E. Staal 42 16 14 -6 30
J. Faulk 47 9 19 -13 28
E. Lindholm 47 9 11 -11 20
J. Tlusty 40 12 7 -11 19
J. Skinner 42 10 9 -7 19
R. Nash 47 7 12 -4 19
N. Gerbe 43 5 13 -3 18
V. Rask 47 6 9 -10 15
A. Sekera 45 1 14 -6 15
C. Terry 34 6 3 -3 9
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
A. Khudobin 6 8 2 .918 2.30
C. Ward 11 17 3 .911 2.45