Surely the improvement in goals allowed was at least partly due to goaltending, right? Kevin Weekes saw the lion’s share of playing time and his stats were consistent with what he’d shown in his time with the Hurricanes. Sadly, the anemic offense didn’t give him much of a cushion to work with.
His .911 save percentage tied him for 23rd in the league while his 2.33 goals-against average placed him 20th. Weekes also picked up a career-high 6 shutouts, good for 6th place tie with Montreal’s Jose Theodore. He also played in a career-high 66 games, tied for 7th most in the league.
Perhaps the saddest thing for Hurricanes fans was the continued decline in the play of Arturs Irbe. Coupled with Francis’ departure, it signaled that big changes were on the way. The Latvian netminder saw action in just 10 games and, while he did manage a 5-2-1 record, he posted a sub-900 save percentage for the second year in a row. The 2003-04 season ended up being Irbe’s last in the NHL.
Then there was Jamie Storr, Rutherford’s insurance policy. While he showed flashes of promise during 9 seasons with the Kings, Storr never came close to living up to the expectations of being a 7th overall draft pick. His only season with the Hurricanes (and last in the NHL) did nothing to help his career.
In 14 games, Storr went without a win with a goals-against near 3 and a save percentage that was well below .900.