One of the biggest holes that the Carolina Hurricanes was looking to fill during the offseason was to find a solid, veteran back-up goaltender to their starter Cam Ward. General Manager Jim Rutherford feels like he found that goalie when the team signed former Philadelphia Flyers starter Brian Boucher during the free agency period. Boucher, 34, will be playing for his 7th different NHL team in his 14th NHL season after signing a 2-year, $1.9 million contract. Last year with the Flyers, Boucher played in 34 games, going 18-10-4 with a 2.42 GAA and .916 save percentage. The 6’2”, 200-pound Woonsocket, RI native was drafted 22nd overall in the 1995 NHL entry draft by the Flyers.
Among playing for several different NHL teams, Boucher was named to the 2000 All-Rookie team after he lead the NHL with a 1.91 GAA after replacing Flyers legend John Vanbiesbrouck and helped his team to an Atlantic Division title and tops in the Eastern Conference during the 1999-2000 campaign. One of the most memorable games from Boucher came from that year in the playoffs, where the Flyers went 5 overtimes before eventually defeating their in-state rivals, the Pittsburgh Penguins. He also has the modern day NHL record for recording 5 consecutive shutouts while playing for the Phoenix Coyotes during the 2003-2004 season. The teams that he shut out during the streak include the LA Kings, Dallas Stars, Washington Capitals, Minnesota Wild and Carolina Hurricanes. Boucher also competed for the United States in the 1996 and 1997 World Junior Hockey Championships. His best year was in 1997, where he played 6 games, went 4-1-1 with a 1.51 GAA.
After watching the first pre-season game against Buffalo on Monday night, where Boucher went two periods without allowing a goal on fourteen shots, I think that Caniacs can start to take comfort in having a veteran like Boucher come in and back up Cam Ward when he needs to take a night off. He could be the difference between the Canes making the playoffs and ending up in 9th like they did last season.
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