Canes backup goaltender Brian Boucher is facing another long-term injury, one that will sideline him for four to six months.
General manager Jim Rutherford said Thursday that Boucher, 35, will require surgery for a shoulder injury he recently suffered.
“It’s certainly a setback for us,” Rutherford said. “We will have to deal with it as we go along.”
The Canes signed Boucher to a two-year free-agent contract last year with the hopes he could play 20 or so games a season and give goaltender Cam Ward more rest. But Boucher suffered a severe groin injury in early December that kept him out until March, and he appeared in just 10 games – eight starts – during the season.
With Boucher out, the Canes will look to goaltender Justin Peters as a possible option as the backup and will see what’s available Sunday when NHL free agency begins. Peters, 25, had a solid season for the Charlotte Checkers of the AHL and was 2-3-2 with a 2.48 goals-against average and .931 save percentage with the Canes.
“One reason we got Brian last year was to give Justin more ice time and allow him to play more games in Charlotte,” Rutherford said. “He played well when he was in Charlotte and played well when he was up with us. He’s a better goalie than he was last year, and he was in the mix when we talked about our goalie situation for next year.
“We’ll see what it looks like July 1 (in free agency). We have a lot of confidence in Justin and have him at the top of our list, but we’ll wait and see before making any decisions.”