On the record: Canes’ Rod Brind’Amour
The Carolina Hurricanes won’t have goalies Curtis McElhinney and Petr Mrazek sharing the net next season.
Canes general manager Don Waddell, addressing Canes fans Saturday at the Summerfest Celebration at PNC Arena, said McElhinney is “definitely going somewhere else.”
McElhinney and Mrazek both are due to become unrestricted free agents on Monday, when NHL free agency begins. Waddell had said his goal was to re-sign both to new contracts and keep the goaltending tandem intact, but McElhinney apparently has been swayed to sign with another team.
Waddell said talks continue with Mrazek “daily, hourly” as the Canes continue to secure a No. 1 goalie for next season. The Canes and Alex Nedeljkovic, the AHL goalie of the year in 2018-19 with the Charlotte Checkers, agreed on a new two-year pact Friday and Carolina recently worked a trade with the Chicago Blackhawks for backup goalie Anton Forsberg.
Canes coach Rod Brind’Amour said Saturday that the goaltending was a concern with McElhinney leaving and Mrazek unsigned.
“I get it, I understand. Everybody wants to get paid,” he said. “They’re going to get the best contract they can get and I understand that. It’s disheartening at times but that’s the nature of the game. Especially where (McElhinney) is in his career I totally understand it.”
The Canes, in need of a goalie when Scott Darling was injured in preseason, claimed McElhinney off waivers from the Toronto Maple Leafs just before the season opener. McElhinney started the second game, at Columbus, and would join with Mrazek in helping the Canes reach the playoffs for the first time since 2009.
“Another challenge, another thing to embrace and I’ve tried to make the most of it,” McElhinney said late in the season.
McElhinney, who turned 36 in May, had 20-11-2 record with a 2.58 goals-against average and .913 save percentage and won three playoff games for the Canes. He had a $850,000 salary and should be in for a sizable increase with his new team.