Carolina Hurricanes History: Top 5 Free Agent Busts

SUNRISE, FL - APRIL 2: Alexander Semin #28 of the Carolina Hurricanes skates with the puck against the Florida Panthers at the BB&T Center on April 2, 2015 in Sunrise, Florida. (Photo by Eliot J. Schechter/NHLI via Getty Images)
SUNRISE, FL - APRIL 2: Alexander Semin #28 of the Carolina Hurricanes skates with the puck against the Florida Panthers at the BB&T Center on April 2, 2015 in Sunrise, Florida. (Photo by Eliot J. Schechter/NHLI via Getty Images) /
facebooktwitterreddit
Prev
5 of 6
Next

#2 Scott Darling

While not technically an unrestricted free agent, the Hurricanes acquired Scott Darling without a contract, so I’ll make an exception for him to be on this list, because, boy, does he ever deserve to be.

Hand-picked by now ex-GM Ron Francis as the savior of Hurricanes goaltending, I was personally shocked at the collective praise from fans and media the Hurricanes got for signing a 28-year goaltender with 75 games of NHL experience to a 4 year, 16.6 million dollar deal. I tried to warn everyone.

The Chicago Blackhawks’ Artem Anisimov (15) chases after the puck while Carolina Hurricanes goaltender Scott Darling (33) minds the net during the first period at the United Center in Chicago on Thursday, Nov. 8, 2018. The Canes won, 4-3. (Armando L. Sanchez/Chicago Tribune/TNS via Getty Images)
The Chicago Blackhawks’ Artem Anisimov (15) chases after the puck while Carolina Hurricanes goaltender Scott Darling (33) minds the net during the first period at the United Center in Chicago on Thursday, Nov. 8, 2018. The Canes won, 4-3. (Armando L. Sanchez/Chicago Tribune/TNS via Getty Images) /

The contract, obviously, wound up being a total disaster. In his first year, Darling won just 13 of 43 games and had a .888 save%, being thoroughly outplayed and losing his starting role to Cam Ward. However, the Hurricanes hoped it was just a rough year, and endorsed a bounce-back from Scott.

Ward moved on to Chicago, and Petr Mrazek came on board to compete with Darling, who was magnificent in the 2018 preseason. Unfortunately, he suffered an injury, and Curtis McElhinney came to Carolina via waivers. The duo of C-Mac and Mrazek effectively put an end to the Scott Darling experiment.

On November 29th, 2018, Darling was waived. He would only play one more game for Carolina, on December 14th, starting in a 5-4 loss to Washington. He was also ineffective in 14 games for the Charlotte Checkers.

RALEIGH, NC – MARCH 20: Scott Darling #33 of the Carolina Hurricanes deflects the puck away from the crease during an NHL game against the Edmonton Oilers on March 20, 2018 at PNC Arena in Raleigh, North Carolina. (Photo by Gregg Forwerck/NHLI via Getty Images)
RALEIGH, NC – MARCH 20: Scott Darling #33 of the Carolina Hurricanes deflects the puck away from the crease during an NHL game against the Edmonton Oilers on March 20, 2018 at PNC Arena in Raleigh, North Carolina. (Photo by Gregg Forwerck/NHLI via Getty Images) /

So with his last chance faded away, last month the Hurricanes shipped Darling off to Florida for goaltender James Reimer, who figures to compete for a backup role with the Canes this fall. Darling was immediately bought out by the Panthers.

So with his swift fall from grace, Darling remains a free agent, and is focusing on his personal well-being first and foremost. However, at 30 years old, his NHL future looks grim, and all parties involved wish things would have went differently during |Darling’s Hurricanes tenure.

Darling finished his Hurricanes career with a 15-25-9 record and a .887save%, which amounts to over 1 million dollars per win when considering the 16.6 million deal the team signed him for.