It is pretty safe to say that the Carolina Hurricanes now have the worst goaltending tandem in hockey.
After they lost former franchise goaltender Cam Ward to the Chicago Blackhawks, they went out and signed netminder Petr Mrazek. While Mrazek may have been a decent masked man with the Detroit Red Wings once upon a time, he is now nowhere near close to being that goaltender again.
Yes, he’s only 26 and yes, he could even get back to being a starter at some point. With that said, however, two out of his last three seasons have been awful. Last season with the Wings and Philadelphia Flyers, he was 6-6-3 with a 3.22 GAA and a .891 save percentage, certainly not the numbers you want from any kind of netminder.
What’s even more worrisome is that the Hurricanes aren’t great defensively. They give up a lot of shots, they miss assignments in their own zone, they cough up a lot of pucks, and they don’t really seem to protect their goaltenders.
Now, Mrazek isn’t the only questionable goaltender on this hockey club. Scott Darling, who came over from the Chicago Blackhawks last season in hopes of showing everyone he can be the number one guy, fell flat on his face in his attempt. In fact, he was flat out awful as his GAA was 3.18 and his save percentage was .881.
My question is why in the world are you putting these two guys together? Are you hoping that one catches forces the other one to ride the bench? Do you think that by doing this, you will force Darling to actually play well?
One answer to this question is that Hurricanes’ general manager Don Waddell sucks at his job. Waddell was awful with the Thrashers and now, he is going to be awful with the Canes by making stupid moves.
What’s even more amazing is that Waddell told Luke Decock of the News & Observer there was no one better on the market.
“The free-agent market was what it was,” said Waddell, the Hurricanes’ general manager. “There was nobody that had been a starter in the league, except for Petr.”
This is a huge gamble for this franchise. While the team has definitely improved up front and the rest of the roster is rounding into serviceable shape, the team’s goaltending is huge concern.
We are talking about a team that has not made the playoffs since the 2008-09 season when they got all the way to the Cup Final before losing to the Pittsburgh Penguins. Let’s also not forget that hardly anyone goes to their games and with these two guys now in sharing the crease, it shouldn’t take too long for fans to go home when these guys start allowing a ton of goals.
I know that no one can predict how the season and ago and that some teams and players will surprise everyone and have terrific years. While it would be nice to think of the Hurricanes having a capable tandem in net, I would not count on that happening this upcoming year.