The Carolina Hurricanes currently have Cam Ward and Justin Peters on their goaltending depth chart, but the feeling is that GM Jim Rutherford will not keep Peters in that backup spot and replace him this summer.
One obvious option is Dan Ellis, who played for the Hurricanes this season. However, Rutherford has not made any movement in an effort to re-signing the former-Ducks goaltender and will allow him and the rest of the Canes’ UFAs to enter the free agency market.
Ellis would be the best option for the Hurricanes if they add another goalie – he knows the team, his salary should be under a million and played well for the Canes last year.
If the Hurricanes decide to look at other goalies, here are some options:
Mathieu Garon: The journeyman backup goalie used to be considered one of the best backups in the league because he could also be used in a starting role in case of emergency. However in his last two seasons with the Tampa Bay Lightning, Garon has begun to slip a little in his playing ability. He is now 35-years-old and may only have a year or two left in the tank.
The 30-year-old made just over a million last season and will most likely want more this offseason. Emery would be a good choice as a backup, but will cost more than a million, which should drive the Canes away, who have about $7 million in cap space.
Jason LaBarbera: The former-King has flown under the radar with the Phoenix Coyotes, but has played well as Mike Smith‘s backup in the last few years. Similar to Emery, he is also making over a million and will look for a similar amount in free agency.
Anton Khudobin: It took five years in the minors for Khudobin to get his chance with an NHL team. This year he made it as Tuukka Rask‘s backup in Boston and won nine games and sparked some goaltending controversy. With the Bruins’ tight cap space, Khudobin may not be re-signed. However, he will be looking for more money and possibly even a chance at a starting job in the NHL.
Dan Ellis may not be the most skilled goaltender on the market this summer, but he’s right in Carolina’s price range and showed he can play in a backup role this past season.