Let’s get one thing straight: the Carolina Hurricanes goaltending has been putrid.
The Canes poor netminding is the number one contributor to their position as only the final wildcard spot. That’s right – the Hurricanes should be higher. So let’s take a look at how to fix that problem.
Out of 50 goalies who have played at least 500 minutes at 5v5, Scott Darling ranks 8th worst with a 91.23 save percentage. Cam Ward is 26th worst with a significantly better 92.57. There are options to replace both of these travesties for the Hurricanes, though.
At the top of the list are backups Carter Hutton (2nd) with a 94.44 in 14 games. Anton Kuhdobin (3rd) with a 93.96 in 14 games and Tristan Jarry (9th) with a 93.21 in 14 games.
The cost to acquire backup goaltenders isn’t going to break the bank – that’s especially nice when you’re a team like Carolina and won’t have to give up any top-flight prospects to fill a gaping hole on your roster.
I’m not going to speculate on what the Hurricanes would offer for any of the three, but I’ll make a case for all three options.
Hutton: The Blues are in a position to make a deal for a roster player that can contribute to scoring goals on a depth level. They’re a team with a real shot to come out of the West that could use a small boost and appear to have significant confidence in Jake Allen moving forward in goal. He's a more temporary fix given his age.
Kuhdobin: The Bruins are playing great possession hockey again, which is the top reason they are where they are in the standings. Tuuka Rask is under contract for three additional years. They also lack depth scoring and are owners of an aging blueline. Carolina can fix either problem.
Jarry: This one is tough because it’s in-division. That said, I hate the narrative that in-division trades shouldn’t happen. Get the best deal available. Pittsburgh lacks forward and defensive depth. Carolina can address either issue for a goaltender that doesn’t fit in the long-term plans with Matt Murray ahead of him.
All three of these goaltenders would give Carolina an equal or better chance to win hockey games with little impact for cost.
The bottom line is that the Hurricanes can ride out a poor shooting percentage, because that’s bound to increase to a standard middle-ground. They can’t hold out on poor goaltending getting better when there’s no worthy historical trend to support it.
Carolina simply can’t waste being the leagues best possession team because they won’t pull the trigger on a goaltender. Debate, discuss, and call me stupid.