Ex-Isles goalie DiPietro gets tryout with Checkers

10/26/2013 6:10 PM

10/26/2013 6:11 PM

Former New York Islanders goaltender Rick DiPietro has been signed to a professional tryout contract with the Charlotte Checkers, the Carolina Hurricanes' AHL affiliate.

The signing was confirmed Saturday by Hurricanes president and general manager Jim Rutherford, who said injuries to goaltenders Cam Ward and Anton Khudobin had the Canes exploring all options.

"It could be a safety net and give us more depth," Rutherford said. "At this point it's a tryout. We'll see what kind of shape he's in, how his health is, how he plays."

Rutherford said DiPietro would join the Checkers on Saturday night, begin practicing with the team and likely would play a few games later in the week.

DiPietro, 32, was the first overall selection by the Isles in the 2000 NHL Entry Draft. He signed a 15-year contract with the Islanders in 2006 and was an NHL All-Star in 2008, but soon had his career interrupted by injuries.

DiPetro underwent hip surgery in 2008, followed by knee surgeries, and missed games because of a concussion and groin injury. The Massachusetts native played 50 games for the Islanders the past five seasons -- three in 2012-2013, when he went 0-3.

The Islanders placed DiPietro on unconditional waivers in July, then bought out the remainder of his contract.

Khudobin was injured Oct. 13 against the Phoenix Coyotes and Ward on Thursday against the Minnesota Wild. Both have lower-body injuries.

Ward will have an MRI on Sunday, Rutherford said, and is expected to miss three to four weeks. Khudobin may skate Sunday at the Canes practice.

Goalies Justin Peters and Mike Murphy both have been recalled from the Checkers. Peters relieved Ward against the Wild and started Friday as the Canes lost to the Colorado Avalanche 4-2.

Last season, the Canes were contending for a Southeast Division title before Ward injured a knee and backup goalie Dan Ellis cut himself with a skate.

"We don't want to be put in the same position we were in last year," Rutherford said. "When Cam was hurt, we started going through the names and looking at possibilities.

"With an 82-game schedule you have more leeway with injuries. But with that being said, having as much depth as you can in goal is important."

Canes beat writer Chip Alexander

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