Goaltending will win you championships and the Carolina Hurricanes have three very good options in the net. Frederik Andersen, Antti Raanta, and Pyotr Kochetkov have all had solid seasons respectively.
Injuries are unpredictable but unfortunately too often for the likes of Andersen and Raanta.
The injuries gave Kochetkov the chance to shine for an extended period while scratching the surface of what he can show the NHL. Even after a stint in the AHL, Kochetkov has had the right attitude and it shows.
However, it would appear that the road to a Stanley Cup in Raleigh will be led by the veteran, Andersen, if he is healthy. Raanta is a solid NHL goalkeeper and important to have but is not a long-term answer.
Still, Raanta would be a solid option as shown in the past when Andersen has gone down to injury.
All indications show that when the three goalies are healthy, the two veterans will have control of the crease and the youngster will have to head to Chicago to get his work.
With Raanta hurt for what seems to be short-term, Kochetkov got the emergency call-up and made the most of it against the Philadelphia Flyers. The back-to-back games on the weekend meant that he would also get another chance before seemingly heading back to Chicago.
So why play the youngster that will be in the AHL shortly in the biggest match-up of the season?
Rod Brind’Amour has a great grasp of his team but it was surprising to see Andersen take the net against the Golden Knights on Saturday, with the divisional game the following evening in New Jersey.
Although all the options in goal for Carolina have been solid, it is tough to have what would appear to be your third string goalie play in the biggest match of the year.
One other thought is that maybe Kochetkov is here for good and will be the true back-up to Andersen after Raanta returns from injury. Or maybe Raanta’s injury is worse than originally diagnosed.
All these factors make it an even more intriguing move by Brind’Amour but it will be interesting to see if Kochetkov gets another string of games played.