Someone once said that timing is everything. The Carolina Hurricanes have struggled of late and more specifically on the defensive side.
Just as former number one goaltender, Frederik Andersen is coming off the IR, goaltending becomes a question mark.
While Andersen has been gone, the goaltending situation has not missed a beat until late. Antti Raanta was the obvious choice to take the bulk of the work.
To the surprise of most people, the rookie, Pyotr Kochetkov took the reigns and ran with it while the Hurricanes simultaneously went on an impressive run of points.
Kochetkov was named rookie of the month and racked up win after win, some of the shutout fashion.
Raanta was still able to contribute to the success but was overshadowed by Kochetkov for most of the win streak.
Last season Raanta and Andersen combined to win the William M. Jennings Trophy for the goaltender(s) that have played a minimum of 25 games for the team with the fewest goals scored against it.
Andersen started the season somewhat inconsistent with a 2.72 GAA and a .891 save percentage in 8 games. Still, Andersen was able to collect 5 victories before suffering an injury.
The 33-year-old veteran’s last game action was on November 6th against the Toronto Maple Leafs where he suffered a defeat and let up 3 goals.
With the imminent return of Andersen, an awkwardness was felt while the Hurricanes and Kochetkov were excelling in December.
What spot did Andersen have with this team? Could Rod Brind’Amour really keep three goalkeepers on the roster?
Kochetkov appeared to have brought the future to the present and Raanta has always been better served as a backup due to his injury history.
Not that it is a great thing that the Hurricanes have gone on a losing streak and the goaltending has struggled, but it has allowed a path for Andersen to come back and enter the crease with a more welcoming vibe.
Kochetkov is the future and has proven that he can play at a high level, but it is never a bad thing to have him get a heavy load in the AHL. It would certainly benefit a struggling Wolves squad as well.
The crease is always open to the hot hand and now Andersen can throw his hat into the ring.