Mar 30, 2013; Winnipeg, MB, CAN; Carolina Hurricanes goalie Justin Peters (35) during the first period against the Winnipeg Jets at the MTS Center. Mandatory Credit: Bruce Fedyck-USA TODAY Sports

Can Justin Peters Play As A Backup For The Hurricanes

Justin Peters is skilled. There’s no denying that, but at this point, it does not look like he will be a starting goaltender in the NHL. That means if he wants to have a career in the NHL, he will have to adjust his game to a backup role, something he has not been able to do throughout his career.

In the 2009-10 season, Peters played his first games for the Hurricanes winning six out of the nine he played in. The next season Peters was given the backup role to Cam Ward and things did not go well. He appeared in 12 games, only winning three.

Because of the rough season, GM Jim Rutherford decided to sign Brian Boucher, a goalie more accustomed to a backup role, to be the number two behind Ward.

Brian Boucher(left) was signed in the 2011 off-season because he had more experience in the backup role. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports

Peters played mostly in the AHL from there, except for this season when Ward was injured and was brought up to split time with Dan Ellis.

When Peters was brought up he split games with Ellis, which did not work as well as the Hurricanes w0uld have liked with the team only winning two games before going on an eight-game losing streak.

But Peters began to play better after Ellis missed a game with an injury and the 25-year-old was able to start seven in a row. It was Peter’s strongest stretch of the season making over 30 saves six games in a row. However, he only won one game during the stretch because of the Canes inability to score.

In the final four games of the season, Ellis was given three in a row and Peters was given the last game against the Pittsburgh Penguins. The game was a rough one for the Hurricanes team as a whole, but Peters allowed eight goals and sported a .771 save percentage. It was games like this that forced Rutherford to go out and sign Boucher and Ellis instead of giving Peters the backup role.

It’s possible that Peters can grow into a backup role with another season under his belt at the position, but when a few points matter between playoffs and the ninth seed, the Hurricanes will most likely want a better option to give Ward a rest.

Peters has shown he is a good goaltender, but there’s a reason why a goalie like Mathieu Garon can last in the NHL, while Andrew Raycroft, a former rookie of the year, has problems continuing his career.

Peters is signed through next season, while Ellis is a free agent this summer. The Hurricanes brass has a tough decision to make in the off-season on whether to keep Peters, re-sign Ellis or sign a different goalie in free agency.

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Tags: Dan Ellis Justin Peters

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